Praveena Somasundaram


DTH Photo Illustration. President Trump signed Executive Order 13856 on Thursday, March 21, 2019 allowing the government to withhold research funding from colleges and universities that fail to protect free speech. Trump emphasized this measure as being for those "challenging rigid, far-left ideology."

Free expression survey found UNC students are self-censoring their beliefs in class

A recent report conducted by political science professor Timothy Ryan, English and comparative literature professor Jennifer Larson and business professor Mark McNeilly, studied free expression and constructive dialogue at UNC. The report had many findings — one being that a significant undergraduate students across the political spectrum self-censor in class.  The study also looked at social media, with a question about whether students were concerned someone would post critical comments about them on social media if they stated their sincere political views. Junior Ali Montavon, co-president of UNC Young Independents, said social media is something "changes the game" for politics on campus. 

Students behind the efforts to establish an Asian American Center on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of Liezel Alipio.  

UNC students and alumni are working to create an Asian American Center

The Asian American community is currently the only minority group at UNC that does not have a space dedicated to its culture on campus. Soon, thanks to work from Eugene Lao and students, there will be an Asian American Center on campus.  Lao, who graduated in 1991 and co-founded UNC’s original Asian Students Association, originally intended to give a $100,000 gift to AASA until students approached him with the idea for an Asian American Center. Now he is supporting the goal to complete the center.  The center currently has written endorsements from over 15 Asian American student organizations. It will be a space where students can find resources — including lectures — to better understand the Asian American identity.  Sean Nguyen, director of the Asian American Center campaign, said this center is a dream goal that will provide students with valuable resources such as mentorship.  

An emergency call station sits outside of Hanes Art Center on Aug. 25, 2019.

Have campus blue light call boxes outlived their usefulness?

Other universities in the country have taken out call boxes because mobile phones have made them obsolete. What about UNC? Despite the fact that the investment, which totals over $1 million dollars and 300 boxes at this point, has been deemed both practically and cost-ineffective by many law enforcement professionals, students on campus feel they give peace of mind.  While apps and mobile devices, which are almost always equipped with sophisticated tracking devices, seem to be the more accessible and convenient option for emergency situations, UNC Public Safety spokespersons have said there are no plans to remove the boxes. The project, which has spanned over 30 years on UNC's campus, has been used more successfully than some other schools, which removed boxes after years of nonuse.