When I took over the University Desk last August, I wondered what “my thing” was going to be — what big event would hit headlines and define my time in the newsroom.
Nine months later, as I write my last story as University editor, I've been reflecting on news cycle, how we covered each story and what “my things” turned out to be.
Here’s a recap of the 2022-2023 UNC news:
The year began with the first full maskless semester on campus since spring 2020, as the University released new COVID-19 policies just weeks before the fall semester began.
University leadership shifted throughout the beginning of the year as new deans and administrators filled their roles. After months of holding the interim position, María Estorino officially became the University librarian and vice provost for University Libraries in January.
Christopher Everett was elected as the 2023-2024 student body president, taking over after Taliajah “Teddy” Vann's term. Everett’s platform focuses on a “Carolina for Everyone” and making UNC an inclusive space for all students.
In September, it was reported that the University had been using an AI-based service called Social Sentinel since 2016. The service used "geofencing" to filter keywords and phrases on social media in the Chapel Hill area, alerting the administration about protests like the 2018 toppling of the Silent Sam statue. UNC’s contract ended with the company last October.
In October, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the oral arguments for Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. The University of North Carolina, a case that will affect the future of affirmative action at universities across the nation.
While the decision is not expected to arrive until June, students and the campus community continue to hold conversations about what the future of diversity will look like at UNC and beyond.
The fight to make UNC a more accessible campus continued.
Student activists sat outside of South Building for 32 hours to signify the time that two students who use wheelchairs were stuck in Koury Residence Hall last year due to the lack of working elevators. Community members joined in support of a more accessible campus.
Elevators were just one fixture discussed throughout the school year regarding University maintenance. The maintenance backlog reached over one billion dollars this semester and detectable levels of lead have now been found in over 125 buildings over the course of the year.
Housekeepers and activists also rallied throughout the year for increased wages and free parking. The Workers Union at UNC also became involved in the movement and demanded higher wages for both housekeepers and graduate students. A list of demands have been presented to University and UNC System leadership, including the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors.
Tension arose between some faculty members and the BOT after the School of Civic Life and Leadership was proposed in January without direct faculty input. In the months since the initial proposal, questions formed regarding the chancellor and provost’s roles, the University's accreditation and even millions of dollars of funding from the state legislature.
The Faculty Executive Committee and Mimi Chapman, chairperson of the faculty, held multiple community conversations regarding the BOT’s decision, the proposed school and its impact on the University. Chapman’s last day as chairperson will be June 30, and Beth Moracco will take over the position.
As the school year comes to a close, so does a classic UNC tradition. During the annual Bell Tower climb, seniors were no longer able to sign their name inside the tower due to “structural integrity" concerns, though the informal tradition has existed for years.
Throughout the year, dozens of student groups and organizations shared their talents and passions through showcases, on-campus events, concerts and gatherings.
And while it’s been a busy year for University news, I don’t think I ever found my one "thing" — the news cycle was marked by dozens of key stories.
There’s always more to come.
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