In April, the joint Residence Hall Association/Carolina Housing Renaming Committee released a statement on Residence Hall One, formerly known as Aycock Residence Hall, calling for the hall to be renamed for a female-identifying individual.
“For years now, Residence Hall One has been an all-female hall, and many have slept with a name over their heads that did not represent the University’s values," the statement read. "We dream of a campus where every resident feels comfortable in the residence halls in which they reside and are proud to call them their home.”
But since then, the name has remained Residence Hall One. While the name removal and renaming process is still underway for buildings across campus, this committee aims to create safe and inclusive spaces around campus by recommending names, hosting educational programming and sparking campus discussion.
What has happened so far?
The joint RHA/Carolina Housing Renaming Committee is dedicated to addressing residence hall names, along with creating more safe and inclusive spaces around campus. The committee has suggested renaming Residence Hall One after Karen Parker, the first Black woman to attend UNC.
The University renaming process includes two steps: name removal and renaming. The Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward is tasked with submitting potential building names to be considered for removal to the chancellor, and the names are then put before a vote by the Board of Trustees.
After a building's name has been removed, community members can submit names to be considered as a replacement. The chancellor and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Naming University Facilities and Units review potential names to submit to the Board of Trustees for approval. The Board has the final vote on which names go into effect.
In June 2020, the Board voted to lift a 2015 moratorium placed on changing building names. A month later, it also removed three names from buildings on campus — the Carr Building, Aycock Residence Hall and the Josephus Daniels Student Stores.
Anusha Dubey, administrative coordinator for the Residence Hall Association, said that the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the fallout from the BOT's initial failure to offer tenure to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, have delayed progress in the committee's renaming efforts.
“I think we’ve been dealing with a lot as a University and so a lot of things have been delayed, but because things have been delayed doesn't mean that they have been stopped,” Dubey said.
RHA President Elliana Alexander said it has been a timely process, but she is glad to see things are moving along.
“From an RHA perspective, we firmly believe that the names being pro-white supremacist do not represent the inclusive values of on-campus living,” Alexander said.
The Commission on Race, History and a Way Forward compiled a comprehensive list of campus building names, separated into four different categories: slaveholders, reconstruction and 1898-1900 white supremacy campaigns, scholar-advocates of white supremacy and African American names.
Dozens of University buildings — including Craige Residence Hall, Lenoir Dining Hall and Hinton James Residence Hall — were on the list of names from the commission’s statement under the slaveholders category.
“I think the very first step that we can take to help uplift marginalized voices is to make sure we don’t idolize voices that have put them down in the first place,” Dubey said.
The joint RHA/Carolina Housing Renaming Committee meets biweekly to discuss plans for renaming.
UNC Media Relations said in an email that an ad hoc committee of trustees, alumni, faculty, staff and students is being formed to review the resolution on recommending the name removal of 10 buildings across campus from the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward.
The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for Naming University Facilities and Units has made a recommendation to the Chancellor regarding building naming, Media Relations said, and the Chancellor has forwarded a recommendation to the Board of Trustees leadership.
Dubey said the committee plans to implement diverse and unique programming aimed to discuss the history and culture of different residence halls on campus. The committee also discussed hosting history experts and virtual residence hall tours.
“The Residence Hall Renaming Committee has a strong relationship with the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward," Alexander said. "We hosted a town hall with them, and we’re planning to host additional events and conversations to allow for students to give feedback about how they’re feeling in terms of the renaming process.”
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