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Saturday June 25th

Chancellor's committee discusses removal of Vance and Hamilton Hall building names

<p>The Chancellor's Committee to Review Resolution from Commission on History and Race met over Zoom to discuss the removal of Vance and Hamilton Hall building names on May 25, 2022.</p>
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The Chancellor's Committee to Review Resolution from Commission on History and Race met over Zoom to discuss the removal of Vance and Hamilton Hall building names on May 25, 2022.

The Chancellor’s Committee to Review Resolution from Commission on History and Race met Wednesday to discuss the progress of its draft proposal, which will recommend the removal of 10 campus building names.

The committee will send its proposal to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz by July 1, so that he can review it prior to the Board of Trustees meeting in July.

In Wednesday's meeting, the committee focused on Vance Hall and Hamilton Hall.

What’s new? 

  • The committee discussed where in the proposal it wanted to include family members' opinions of the removal of names.
    • The committee considered whether the support or opposition of name removal from family members made the case for removal stronger or weaker.
    • The committee said this was not a deciding factor for its recommendations, but that it wanted to include this in its proposal so people understand there is support from family members.
    • The Vance Family has supported removing honors for Zebulon Baird Vance on a monument in Asheville in the past. His name was also removed recently from public schools in Charlotte and in Asheville.
    • Mike Smith, the committee chairperson and dean of the School of Government, said that although they have not directly addressed the removal of Vance's name at the University, there is a general sense that the family supports removing honors for him.
  • The committee then discussed the section of its proposal about the removal of the name Hamilton Hall, named after Joseph Grégoire de Roulhac Hamilton. 
    • Hamilton was a white supremacist, professor at the University and founding director of the Southern Historical Collection. 
    • The University Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward, which provided a dossier for the committee on each person whose name they wanted removed, took a holistic view of each person's life, looking at the good and the bad. However, its blanket position was that the good of individuals cannot outweigh the bad things they did in these cases. 
    • Committee member Maria Estorino said even though Hamilton softened his stance as he got older to become more in line with the times, she questioned whether it removed the impact his negative actions had.
    • The committee unanimously voted to recommend the removal of the Hamilton name in its proposal. 
  • The committee then discussed a line that was added to the proposal by Smith, which said “it will make it harder to recruit and retain some faculty, staff and students, especially after other highly publicized incidents involving race at Carolina.” 
    • “When I think about how people will react if the Trustees don’t remove some of these names, especially if we recommend them, there is a sort of cumulative effect almost,” Smith said. 
    • Ralph W. Meekins Sr., a UNC Trustee, said that addition has the potential to detract from the committee's purpose.
  • The committee then discussed the section of its proposal that calls for the removal of the name Vance Hall.
    • Vance was a Confederate soldier, governor of North Carolina, congressman and U.S. senator. 
    • Elliana Alexander, a committee member, said the Silent Sam confederate statue was placed in front of the building a few months after it was named.
    • “The dossier talks about how the structures created a confederate memorial space kind of at the front of the campus as an entrance,” Alexander said. “And I think that it’s just important that when we are talking about all three of these buildings, we talk about them in the context of being named at the same time for a similar purpose, which was white supremacy and black intimidation.” 
    • The committee discussed where they wanted to include this in its proposal.
    • The committee unanimously voted to recommend the removal of the Vance name in its proposal.

What’s next?

  • Smith said he will write his recommendation for Pettigrew Hall prior to the next meeting.
  • The committee will meet on Tuesday, May 31 to discuss the removal of the name Morrison Residence Hall and Pettigrew Hall in the next meeting.


@nataliemcc212

university@dailytarheel.com

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