In the wake of George Floyd's murder, UNC has released multiple official statements condemning systemic racism and expressing a commitment to support "campus-wide dialogue, healing and structural change." Some in the UNC community say statements aren't enough.
Some Orange County and Chapel Hill leaders are worried about how students' return to campus will affect the area — from transportation to sanitation practices. Leaders said communication and coordination between the University and local government agencies will be essential to protect students and residents' health.
With the non-traditional shortened semester for fall 2020 and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, some UNC students are left scrambling for off-campus housing and are attempting to negotiate current leases. According to UNC Media Relations, the Office of Off-Campus Student Life said students should work with their housing providers to “determine what works best for them” and contact Student Legal Services if they need assistance negotiating their lease.
Having lost many parts of their final year of high school to COVID-19, including prom, awards nights and other senior activities, many Orange County seniors are relying on their graduation to be one final hurrah.
Kipos Greek Taverna's owners have closed their Franklin Street location, but plan to reopen in a new Chapel Hill location. The decision was a “direct result” of having to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said owner Giorgios Bakatsias. Other Chapel Hill restaurants are facing more uncertainty — making it unclear how many will be able to reopen after the pandemic.
On Feb. 16, UNC’s Interfraternity Council hosted an event addressing personal development and mental health that has since been criticized by student leaders as offensive, misogynistic and otherwise problematic. Keynote speaker David Hagan described his speech as "intentionally blunt, graphic and filled with profanity," designed that way to resonate with young men. But Memorial Hall staff complained the speech made them uncomfortable, and some student leaders are still pressing for more public accountability from the IFC, asking the council to apologize for the event and commit to violence prevention training.
Following UNC's official transition to fully remote classes last month amid the increasing danger of COVID-19's spread, Zoom Video Communications Inc. is now the home of most academic lectures and discussions. There are Zoom office hours, Zoom study groups and, at the end of a long day, some have even hosted Zoom cocktail parties. However, Zoom collects a wide array of user data on its video conferencing service, and concerns are being raised by some about potential pitfalls of the San Jose, California-based company's rapidly increasing popularity. So how secure is the online, face-to-face meeting platform that University students and faculty suddenly find themselves using for hours on end every day?
“With all the intense emotional reaction over the fall of an abstract monument to slave-owning soldiers, you might think people might be up in arms about actual bodies in the ground that have gone unremembered.” About three miles from UNC’s campus, nearly 100 enslaved people are buried in unmarked graves at a historic family cemetery. Located only a short walk from the Rizzo Center, the exact details of the cemetery’s ownership and maintenance were unclear to the University when The Daily Tar Heel began investigating the property. Currently, an on-site marker states that the cemetery contains approximately 120 graves but makes no mention of the 100 enslaved people buried there.
Student participation in the computer science department at UNC has skyrocketed over the last decade, but issues have emerged from the department's inability to accommodate its newfound demand. While the number of declared or intended computer science majors has increased by more than tenfold since fall 2009, the department's faculty total has risen only 8.2 percent over the same time period. While the University recently extended a hint of incoming relief, the expectation remains that class cuts, reduced enrollment availability and other restrictive measures will make life increasingly difficult for computer science majors.