A plaque to honor William Alexander Graham, Confederate States Senator among many other titles, is pictured on display in Memorial Hall on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. After the UNC System's decision to give funding and perpetual rights to Silent Sam to the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, Carolina Performing Arts released a statement on how surprised they were about the decision. Though CPA's statement recognized the plaques as a reminder of Southern history, their future is unknown.

Former Chancellor James Moeser speaks out against the UNC System's decision to fund a multi-million dollar trust for a Confederate organization

On Dec. 20, Carolina Performing Arts released a statement in response to the Sons of Confederate Veterans settlement. Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser said CPA is "appalled at the agreement entered into on our behalf by the UNC System Board of Governors." 

However, CPA is also dealing with its own place in history. Its primary venue, Memorial Hall, prominently displays plaques in remembrance of founders of the University and memorializing Confederate alumni. Now, CPA recognizes its role in addressing these difficult issues through art.

The Unsung Fouders Memorial stands in McCorkle Place as a reminder of UNC's racial history. On Jan. 8, 2020, UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz announced the launch of a new commission dedicated to adressing the university's history with slavery and race relations.

'Time will only tell': How Guskiewicz's new history commission stacks up to Folt's

The new Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward is seen by some as a continuation of former UNC Chancellor Carol Folt's Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History. Some campus members share their expectations for the new commission, highlighting how they hope it will differ from Folt's task force.  Folt's task force was instituted after the Board of Trustees changed the name of Saunders Hall in 2016 and then enacted a 16-year freeze on naming buildings. Board of Trustees Chairperson Richard Stevens said Guskiewicz's commission will build on work done by Folt's, and that it will have as much time as it needs to explore UNC's history. 

Gray Ellis, of Durham, N.C. on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019. Ellis is one of two candidates running for the North Carolins State Senate who openly identify as transgender. Ellis is a local business owner and lawyer practicing family law in Durham, N.C.  who is running on a platform of health care reform, education reform, and social welfare reform.

Post HB2, North Carolina may have its first transgender legislators

North Carolina has never had an openly transgender individual serve in the state legislature. In 2020, that could change.  Two openly transgender candidates are seeking seats in the N.C. Senate four years after the state passed House Bill 2, which could bring new perspectives and progressive change to the state.  “There’s a lot of voices not being heard in North Carolina,” Angela Bridgman of Wendell said. “Democracy is broken in North Carolina.” 

Ava Erfani (left), a political science major, addresses a crowd from the steps of Wilson Library during a "No War with Iran" protest on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. “Our entire culture is based around this idea of taarof, a valuing of friendship and showing your appreciation for other people," said Erfani, whose family came from Iran. "It’s a big reason why it upsets me so much to see politicians talking about a place like that as expendable or evil."

'War is never the answer': Students protest Iran conflict on the steps of Wilson

UNC students and members of surrounding communities gathered outside Wilson Library on Monday afternoon to protest the potential war with Iran. Some attendees shared their reasons for opposing conflict in Iran, including personal ties to the country and a hope that the United States will not divert money toward this conflict.  Many similar protests have happened across the country following a strike ordered by President Donald Trump. Some critics of this decision have compared a potential war with Iran that could come from this action to a third world war, especially on social media. 

Protesters hold a sign during a demonstration in downtown Raleigh on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. About 250 people participated in the protest in support of DACA after President Donald Trump announced that he would phase out the program.

Universities are preparing for the future of dreamers amid DACA's potential rollback

Students who have benefitted from DACA are now facing uncertainty as a decision on the program's future rests in the hands of the Supreme Court. At the same time, colleges and universities across North Carolina are teetering the line between protecting students and complying with the law in a state that allows local law enforcement to collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and prohibits sanctuary cities. While several schools have declared themselves sanctuary campuses, others are relying on student activism. No matter what the method is, they say they're trying to help DACA recipients carry the weight.

Gov. Roy Cooper visited Chapel Hill on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019  to announce that Well Dot Inc., a health technology company, will base its new operations center in the town and create 400 jobs.

Report details risks to N.C. coastline from planned offshore drilling

North Carolina is one of ten East Coast states that are fighting the Trump Administration's proposal to expand offshore drilling. Although some people say that offshore drilling may provide economic benefits, there is bipartisan support against the measure, with lawmakers arguing that it will hurt the environment and impact tourism in coastal communities. 

Silent Sam blindfolded by a Confederate flag in 2015. The statue was recently given to Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Confederate group in Silent Sam deal accused of violating tax and campaign finance laws

The North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. has for years been violating federal tax laws, operating a political action committee in violation of its tax-exempt status and facilitating political donations through illegal means, according to numerous individual first-hand accounts, a slew of internal communications provided to The Daily Tar Heel and multiple expert legal opinions. The Confederate group, classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in North Carolina, brought in $2.6 million of UNC System money last November through controversial dealings with Board of Governors members.