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Elections to the red carpet: What the Editorial Board will cover in 2024

Former UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz speaks during a press conference outside of the Supreme Court of the United States after the conclusion of oral arguments in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. vs. the University of North Carolina on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022.

As we head into the spring semester, the Editorial Board has taken the time to look back at 2023 and predict what the new year might have in store. Whether it be on campus, in the community or on the red carpet, we hope to continue to cover important issues with complexity and care. Here's what we foresee in 2024:

The 2024 election

Though months away, the 2024 election is arguably slated to be one of the top stories of the year. It’s a presidential election year, so swing states like North Carolina will play a critical role, especially in the coming months. Apart from the presidency, North Carolina will vote to elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and certain commissioner and state Supreme Court positions. Additionally, each of North Carolina’s 14 congressional districts will elect their U.S. House representative. 

We’ll be paying close attention to a few important moving parts. For one, we’ll be waiting on the outcomes of certain court cases such as the NAACP’s challenge against the newly drawn North Carolina congressional district maps on the basis of racial gerrymandering, and an appeal which attempts to remove former President Donald Trump’s name from the ballot across the state. Secondly, we’ll be looking at the work of the New North Carolina project — a mirror of the New Georgia project that helped Georgia, a swing state like North Carolina, turn blue in 2020 — to see if it might carry the same impact and push the state into a Democratic majority. Primary elections begin in March. 

Affirmative action

As the first round of high school seniors to apply to colleges in a post-affirmative action country receive their admissions decisions, we’ll be looking to see how racial demographics within admitted classes shift. The Common Application still includes a question about race and ethnicity, though it is optional and hidden from admissions teams. 

Stories relating to affirmative action in college admissions are especially relevant to UNC, as the University was named as one of the defendants in last year’s U.S. Supreme Court case. We hope to see UNC increase transparency about the admissions process moving forward and prioritize efforts to facilitate racial diversity on campus.

Foreign wars and tensions close to home

As of Jan. 8, at least 22,835 people have been killed by the Israeli military in Gaza since the beginning of the war, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah. Additionally, 58,416 people have been injured.

The Israel Defense Forces began its operation in Gaza following Hamas' attack into southern Israel on Oct. 7. The militant group killed more than 1,200 people and kidnapped others, according to the IDF. Some hostages have since been released by Hamas in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

These lost lives are written off as consequences of war.

On Oct. 12, UNC’s Students for Justice in Palestine held a protest outside of Wilson library. This prompted a clash among pro-Palestine and pro-Israeli groups on the campus, and UNC Police had to escort a professor away. 

A month later, pro-Palestine protesters held another demonstration on campus. Protesters gathered to share their sentiments against the war and Israeli occupation in Palestine, as well as to call for UNC to divest in contracts and products that support Israel. With a national spotlight on how college campuses are responding to protests, we will continue to monitor how UNC interacts with discussions about the war in Gaza. 

The way the world continues to react to the injustices will no doubt make their way onto campus and continue to seed tension between every individual regardless of their connections to the overall context. 

This is not a topic we intend to shy away from, but we must ensure we give it the time and depth that it deserves before moving forward with our discussion of it.

The red carpet

This year is gearing up to be a big one for red carpet watchers. Put on hold by Writer's Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strikes, the red carpet rolls right back out with a bang.

The Met Gala, arguably the year’s biggest night in fashion, will be held on Monday, May 6. The dress code will likely tie in closely with the Costume Institute’s exhibit entitled “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

The Met Gala has historically served as a point for social and political commentary. This has ranged from congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s controversial “tax the rich” dress in 2021 to climate activists blocking celebrity cars outside the event. We expect to see this pattern of advocacy continue in 2024.

Campus leadership

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz is set to finish his 10 year tenure as University Chancellor on Jan. 12 — his departure comes amidst growing political strife between University administration and the Board of Trustees.

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From overseeing the fall of Silent Sam, the COVID-19 pandemic and successfully raising billions for the University through the Campaign for Carolina, Guskiewicz deftly guided the University through ever-changing times. 

Lee Roberts, former state budget director, has been named interim chancellor. Concern has circulated about Roberts’ appointment due to his lack of experience in higher education administration. The Board of Governors, whose power derives from the state legislature, will be responsible for hiring a permanent replacement. 

As state Republicans have gained immense influence over the Board of Governors, Guskeiwicz’s replacement might not bring a change our overwhelmingly liberal student body needs. We will be watching him, and the hiring process, closely.

@dthopinion |