Task Force Will Carry Out Racial History Directive

Chancellor Carol L. Folt has appointed a task force to carry out the UNC trustees’ directive that the University open a dialogue on its racial history.

When the trustees voted in May to remove the name of 19th century Ku Klux Klan leader William Saunders from a classroom building, they ordered a more comprehensive and more visible approach to the telling of how the campus and the University developed — including the influence of slavery and the impact of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period.

They decided to rename Saunders Hall as Carolina Hall, and ordered a 16-year moratorium on renaming other campus buildings. The decision was an effort to address long-standing concerns of students, faculty and staff members who wanted a place where they learn and work to not carry the name of the reputed former Ku Klux Klan leader, a member of UNC’s class of 1854.

The task force will:

  • Plan historical markers and/or exhibits for Carolina Hall and McCorkle Place;
  • Evaluate published information about Carolina’s buildings, monuments and memorials and make specific recommendations for improvement;
  • Study the feasibility of a public space to house a permanent collection of UNC’s history; and
  • Explore options for an online orientation program or course to communicate a complete history for all new community members.

The task force will be co-chaired by Winston Crisp ’92 (JD), vice chancellor for student affairs; Amy Locklear Hertel ’97, director of the American Indian Center and clinical assistant professor of social work; and James Leloudis ’77 (’89 PhD), professor of history, associate dean for Honors Carolina and director of the Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence.

The task force will appoint working groups for each of these topics and seek broad participation from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. The first projects will focus on historical interpretations of Carolina Hall and of McCorkle Place, which will be reported on at the November trustees meeting. An audit of existing information about Carolina’s history, along with a study of a public space and online orientation programs, will take place throughout the year and be reported on at the May trustees meeting.

“An honest and thoughtful account of Carolina’s history will encourage people to reflect on how race, class and privilege have shaped the university and the nation,” Folt wrote in a letter to the campus community. “In telling our full history, we have the chance to educate our students and community, and to respectfully engage in difficult dialogues that encompass varying perspectives.”


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