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Campus Y announces indefinite closure Wednesday night

A student exits the Campus Y building on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023.

UPDATE: Student Affairs informed students via email on Friday afternoon that UNC will reopen the Campus Y building on Monday, May 6, with revised hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Campus Y at UNC has been closed indefinitely by the UNC administration, according to an Instagram post made by the organization late Wednesday night.

The closure comes amid days of campus protests surrounding the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, with arrests made from the pro-Palestine encampment on Polk Place Tuesday morning and heightened police presence and action taken against protestors later that afternoon.

The post said that various resources and facilities have been affected by the administration’s decision, such as the Mutual Aid Pantry, Meantime Coffee Co, University-sponsored gap-year and study abroad programs, a scholarship program, financial autonomy for committees and wheelchair-accessible and gender neutral restrooms.

Anant Malpani and Sari Ghirmay-Morgan, the co-presidents of Campus Y for the 2024-25 academic year, said they are fearful of retaliation from the University for their advocacy of Campus Y.

“The Campus Y has been an obvious target of that in many ways throughout the years, but it's gotten even more blatant this year in terms of the degradation of our abilities to function, and that's kind of culminated in this closing of the [Campus] Y,” Malpani said.

He noted that in the past, Campus Y co-presidents have met with chancellors in a regular routine which has since stopped almost completely. 

Malpani said that on Tuesday, April 30, the Campus Y building was locked by UNC administration and was told they were being placed on an emergency lockdown because of ongoing security concerns. He also said that the Campus Y stands in solidarity with Gaza, and that he supports the right for UNC students to engage in peaceful protest.

“We believe that the University's lockdown of our building was politically motivated and punitive,” Malpani said.

In an email to The Daily Tar Heel, Beth Keith, associate vice chancellor of communications at UNC, stated that the Campus Y building was closed on April 30 due to safety concerns, but the building hours were not observed and the door was left propped open through the night despite repeated requests for them to be closed. 

"We recognize that the closure impacts student workers and events, and we are working directly with the affected individuals and groups," Keith said. "There is no timetable to reopen the building." 

On the UNC Student Affairs website, it states that the organization’s foundations date back 160 years, but the current model's structure developed in the early 1960s, serving as a hub for student leadership and social activism surrounding current social issues.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday before the announcement of its closure, the organization posted a statement from the 2024-25 executive board entitled "Regarding the Police Brutality on Campus," calling for interim Chancellor Lee Roberts to be held accountable for his "abhorrent actions." 

The caption encouraged people to sign the petition linked in their bio that a coalition of student organizations created, calling for a vote of no confidence in interim Chancellor Roberts. As of Friday afternoon, the petition had over 4,700 signatures. 

The Campus Y also has a link posted in its Instagram bio to a Google form for students to send in personal accounts and grievances due to its closure, saying, “Please let us know what the Campus Y means to you.”

Keith said that the building's closure does not prohibit the groups that were housed in the Campus Y from participating or holding activities on campus and these groups should contact Student Affairs for more information. 

Malpani described the Campus Y as a unique space for marginalized students with the potential for community learning and growth.

“We've definitely noticed such an outpouring of emotion from the UNC community,” Malpani said.

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