From the University cafeteria workers’ 1969 strike to the student-sparked Franklin Street march against Apartheid, University members have consistently used their voices and campus to address injustices.
2023 was no different.
UNC's chapter of March for our Lives rallied against gun violence following the campus shooting on Aug. 28, students demonstrated for improved accessibility and UNC's Students for Justice in Palestine held protests and sit-ins advocating for Palestinian freedom amid the war in Gaza.
The first controversy of the year was the acceleration of the School of Civic Life and Leadership, announced at a January UNC Board of Trustees meeting. The school's introduction sparked debate concerning what the Wall Street Journal called a “self-reinforcing culture of conformity” plaguing higher education. Many faculty members were outraged by the decision, and the school has continued to be a hot topic amid community concerns of legislative and conservative power grabs toward the University.
Following the initial discovery of lead contamination in some campus buildings in 2022, the campus continued to have detectable levels of lead in 125 drinking fixtures as of January.
The UNC Student Government campaign season was a tumultuous one and was interrupted when candidate Sam Robinson suspended his campaign and stepped down as undergraduate vice president. Then-Graduate and Professional Student Government President Theodore Nollert ran as a write-in for the race, but students ultimately voted for Christopher Everett to be the student body president in February.
This year, Everett has prioritized improving campus accessibility, an issue students advocated for with a 32-hour sit-in on the steps of South Building in March.
Outside the University, North Carolina politics shifted in April after then-Democrat N.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham (R-Mecklenburg) switched her party affiliation to Republican, giving the party a supermajority in both houses of the N.C. General Assembly and the power to override any of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes.