Weekly Wrap-Up

It’s Friday morning and I’ve already seen two pumpkins, three life-sized babies and a gremlin.

Happy Halloween.

Before you head up Franklin Street tonight, check out what went down this week:

Burkino Faso’s military chief is now in charge as President Blaise Compaore resigned today, after protests demanding an end to his 27-year end rule. Yesterday, 3 protesters were shot dead in the protests. Burkino Faso is a former French colony, and the US considers the country a key ally in the fight against Al Qaeda. Law student Lucien Trinnou said in an interview with Al Jazeera that, “This is a sub-Saharan Spring, and it must continue against all the presidents who are trying to hang on to power in Africa”.

President Obama made a speech in Rhode Island today, just four days before the midterm elections (don’t forget to vote!), on women and the economy. “When women succeed, America succeeds, and we need leaders who understand that,”the president said at Rhode Island College. Rhode Island has one of the highest jobless rates in the nation at 7.7%, compared to the national rate of 5.9%.

Here in North Carolina, the Senate Race has set records for out-of-state funding at $75 million as of yesterday. Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan have raised half as much as outsiders have contributed, with total race spending topping more than $107 million. Most of the money spent in attack ads on Hagan have not been reported to the Federal Election Commission. Our favorite brothers, Charles and David Koch, and Americans for Prosperity have spent more than $50 million on the campaign.

The Real Silent Sam Coalition rallied on the steps of South Building Wednesday in a protest against unfair portrayal of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies in the recently released Wainstein report. One of the protest organizers, UNC Student Omololu Babatunde said although the facts in the report are true, the targeting of people in the Department of African, African-American and Diaspora studies is racist. In an interview with the Daily Tar Heel, Babatunde said, “Why was it so easy for the University and the media to just define the AFAM department as this sight of this despicable injustice?” Yesterday, Student Government held a panel titled ‘Wainstein and the Student Experience’ where athletes and non-athletes responded to questions about the Wainstein report.

After a video went viral on Tuesday showing a young woman walking the streets of New York City for 10 hours, secretly videotaping the harassment she received from men, funnyordie.com released a video of a white man walking the streets of NYC for 10 hours. And what did he receive you may ask for his long trek through the city streets? Job offers, networking opportunities, and yes, even Starbucks giftcards.

And finally,  a Dallas Zoo just welcomed a baby giraffe. No name has been chosen yet for the calf, but he has been following his mother around their enclosure since he arrived.

Powell, Student Government to Tackle Core Educational System


The evolution of student government since the University of North Carolina’s establishment in 1789 has been one that exudes progressivity and involvement. The first century of the university’s existence was characterized by strictly enforced rules that demanded conformity, such as when the trustees handed down regulations and students listened due to fear of expulsion. However, the dialogue between the administration and students has opened up dramatically in recent years. With the creation of more clubs and student organizations, student government has had to develop from a “middle man” role into a policymaking body that can make a tangible difference on students’ behalf.

Enter Andrew Powell, 2014-15 Student Body President and advocate for flipped classrooms, educational affordability, and a greater sense of identity among students. In a society where the importance of a college degree is debated due to increases in cost, Powell’s main goal is to illustrate Carolina’s value by altering learning techniques and adapting them to a 21st century framework.

“Carolina is a place that has had a tradition of excellence for over 200 years and we’ve been a national leader in so many different ways. Right now, however, we face some of the biggest challenges that we’ve ever faced in American higher education,” Powell stated. “This is a great opportunity for Carolina to step up and lead the way to be the birthplace of reinvented public education.”

The challenges that Powell describes mostly involve teaching marketable skills to students, one fundamental aspect of the college experience. Employers now differentiate job candidates based on one’s ability to analyze complex problems, adapt to diverse situations, and communicate persuasively. During this academic year, Powell will look to address these themes through the introduction of flipped classrooms— a style of learning where students watch lessons online before going over problems and questions in class. The idea behind this switch is to keep students more engaged in their own learning process, which ultimately makes actual class time more effective.

Flipped classrooms have already seen a spike in implementation at Carolina, with most of the increase coming in problem-based classes such as Econ 101 and other math-based courses. Powell’s goal would be to apply flipped classes across a variety of subjects, including some discussion based ones Nonetheless, while flipped classrooms may facilitate more problems solved, this style of teaching has skeptics.

Public Policy professor and chair Daniel Gitterman is one member of the faculty that has not yet committed to using flipped classrooms, but remains in favor of progressive teaching styles.

“I think that the old ‘stand and deliver’ lecture style courses have run their course but there are a variety of different ways to change the traditional format to make classes more engaging and to encourage small group discussion,” Gitterman said. “What I like about teaching a large undergraduate course—is teaching—so the video aspect of flipped classrooms takes away the part that I enjoy the most.”

Flipped classrooms create the necessity for students to look over material in advance in order to fully grasp what the lesson is about. While this clearly isn’t going to be successful with every student, for many it serves as an added incentive to prepare rather than just going to class knowing that the professor would go over the material in a more efficient manner.

“I feel like I learned a lot better when I studied the material once through on my own and then had an opportunity to discuss it and hear other people’s interpretations,” senior Chelsea Krivanek said.

Another main theme of Powell’s Student Body President campaign was his willingness to fight for college affordability both within the school administration and the state legislature.  Regarding affordability, the university system will either continue to be subsidized at the state level, lose some funding and raise tuition, or have to increase the tuition out of state students pay by 18 percent, as those students pay more.

Powell spent the vast majority of the summer meeting with the majority of state legislators involved with education appropriations.During these meetings, he emphasized the importance of limited tuition hikes pushing for the board of governors at UNC to have discretion over tuition increases rather than the state legislature. While these meetings may not have provided many noticeable end results, they gave Powell experience in dealing with state politicians for when the long session of congress begins in January.

When it comes to need-based aid, Carolina has kept many promises through the Carolina Covenant program, which meets 100 percent demonstrated need and enables students to graduate debt-free. This will also be a main focus of the Powell administration, as they seek ways to ensure that it remains funded and maintained. Much of the administration is fully committed to keeping the program alive, including the chancellor and the board of trustees, which only leaves the question of where the funding will come from.

Ultimately, Powell was mainly elected based on his promises regarding affordability and changes in the educational system, which he has effectively addressed during his first few months in office. The real question is whether he will be able to fulfill the promises that got him into office. While the idea of flipped classrooms and affordability sound like positive changes, there is still a lot of ground to cover by the administration before anything comes to fruition.

“I think student government can be a big vehicle for change and improvement on campus,” Powell added. “And Carolina has the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of something that reinvents what our whole educational system is about.”

Ultimately, Powell’s administration will have to be evaluated by its effectiveness because even though promises sound ideal, action is the only thing that will have a true impact on the lives of students.


A Drink For Tomorrow: Q&A

A Drink For Tomorrow (ADFT) is campus organization here at Carolina working to combat the global water crisis through awareness and direct action. To do this they engage in community-driven, public health projects internationally while simultaneously approaching water through various disciplines here at UNC. Campus BluePrint is pleased to announce a new partnership with ADFT, and we sat down with two of the Co-Presidents, Joe Strasser & Nikki Behnke, and the two On Campus Co-Directors, Kailyn Burkholder & Harry Edwards, to hear more about their organization.

What draws you to water and the global water crisis and what drew you to ADFT?

Nikki: I have been involved with ADFT since my freshman year, and I had been involved with water related issues for about two or three years before that when I had started fundraising for the organization Charity Water when I was in high school. Immediately the issue grabbed me, and now I am especially interested in how to prevent water related conflicts and how it plays into human rights in marginalized populations and especially women.

Harry: My first semester of my freshman year I took a first year seminar called “Water in the Middle East” and it opened my eyes to how big a role water can play particularly in economic development in different countries. Obviously it has a huge effect on health and education even, and when I found out about ADFT it seemed like a great organization to get involved with.

How have you seen ADFT develop, and what has allowed it to be successful?

Joe: One way we have definitely developed is in our international development projects. My freshman year, we fundraised for a handwashing station in Guatemala through a Peace Corp volunteer, but we weren’t on the ground. My sophomore year we started funding for a project in Peru and where we implemented a water system down there. We worked with the community while we were down there, but we wanted us to make sure our future projects are especially community driven. We want to have a partner organization that is on the ground and that we can support year round, and I think we have found that in our newest project in Bolivia, its definitely more sustainable.

This summer you started a project in Bolivia, how did that go?

Kailyn: Over this past year we partnered with Rio Beni Health Foundation, and we are trying to send $20,000 down there each year for the next five years to fund a biosand water filter project that they initiated. The project is sustainable is because the people are often purchasing their own filters the cost is scalable for all family can afford them.

Joe: The filter is the highest ranked point of use treatment for water in both cost effectiveness and health effectiveness. One filter can provide clean water to a family for 25-30 years.

Kailyn: This summer, I was in Bolivia for four weeks, and it was a great opportunity to see how the project was going, and to work with the community. There are some aspects that need improvement, but one of our main focuses is having a strong relationship with the community, and that has been successful.

How do you balance local and international initiatives?

Joe: We have definitely looked into more local initiatives in recent years. We are doing a water bottle ration with student government very soon and we have worked on campus by putting up stickers for water-use awareness.

How have you found being a student group at UNC? What would say about the environment for student groups and organizations?

Joe: I can only speak to ADFT’s experiences, but I think that one of the major advantages of being a student organization that does not have a national organization over top of them that is autonomous is that we can pursue plenty of project that we want to do and set our own schedule for the year. It gives us a lot of flexibility and freedom to do what we want to.

Nikki: Being a student group at UNC provides a very useful framework for when you are getting established and when you are starting to grow. There are a lot of good resources and structures, and I think that now as we are maturing as an organization we might be facing more challenges and restrictions of that framework. There are a lot of changes and we are trying to adapt to those.

Where do you see ADFT going this year?

Harry & Kailyn: As far as on-campus our one idea for this year is a campus wide water saving competition where different dorms could compete against each to use the least amount of water. We would also like to do a few different documentary viewings.

Nikki: Our major goal is to continue to support our project in Bolivia, but also a really big goal is to expand our role on campus, specifically with other student organizations.We are really trying to be the connecting body on campus for water. We are trying to make the Water-Awareness Games an even bigger success and expand it to other sports.

Where do you seen it going long term?

Nikki: Right now we are still establishing ourselves as an organization, we are still figuring out who we are and what we do, but in the future I could see us expanding to high school chapters and university chapters, going beyond UNC. Hopefully we can be our own 501 (c) non-profit independent from the university but we are not at that point yet.

Joe: As we have more stable fund year to year from grants or corporate sponsors, we could fund more than one project at a time. Maybe some domestic project in the future as well.


To find out more about ADFT, check out their website here.

Rise of Islamist State: A History of IS and American Perception of Intervention


It has been 13 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and after costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, covert missions into Pakistan, and billions of dollars spent on airstrikes and counterterrorism efforts, the United States’ problems in the Middle East are far from resolution. The Islamic State, or IS, has come seemingly out of nowhere and into direct focus as a major threat to Middle Eastern security. Now, the United States must deal with an even murkier scene in the Middle East, balancing the need to stabilize the region with a general unwillingness to commit itself to another protracted ground war.

First, some history on IS. The organization has had a long and complex past, and understanding its roots is key in creating a reasonable foreign policy strategy to address them. Before 2014, the media had barely covered them, the public never knew they existed, and American politicians considered them just one of the many radical Islamic groups that sprang up in the region post-9/11.  They were simply lumped under the general term, “terrorists”.

In the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, several paramilitary groups in Iraq and neighboring countries gained strength as they reacted violently against U.S. presence in the region. The first IS-precursor group, known as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, achieved special notoriety as one of the most brutal and zealous of these militias. Its founder, a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, dreamed of establishing a Sunni-dominated Iraq, and focused his attacks on both U.S.-coalition forces and Shiite Iraqi civilians.

Despite initial fame for their effective suicide tactics and ties to the al-Qaeda network, they suffered a series of setbacks that seriously diminished their influence: Zarqawi’s targeting of Shiite Muslim civilians lost them much popular support, U.S. troop surges drove them from strongholds, and Zarqawi himself was killed in an airstrike in 2006. In 2010, leadership was handed over to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Under his control, the ISI recruited new military leaders, many of whom were experienced generals that had served under Saddam Hussein’s national army.

In 2011, the Syrian Civil War provided al-Baghdadi with an opportunity to establish a real military presence. Rebel forces, fighting against al-Assad’s Shiite regime, were largely disorganized and poorly-trained. The ISI used the ensuing chaos to establish themselves as the preeminent rebel force in Syria, renaming itself ISIS- the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. By the end of 2013, ISIS had captured large swaths of Northern Syria, establishing a base from which to stage further incursions into both Syria and Iraq.  In June of this year, they became known simply as the Islamic State (IS), declaring the establishment of a new Sunni caliphate, led by al-Baghdadi. The last two months are all too familiar to most- the beheadings of American and British civilians, systematic killings of Shiite Muslims and Christians in Iraq, and the emergence of IS as a major threat to stability in the region.

Now that IS has achieved public attention and international condemnation, it falls on the Obama administration to make the next move. Should the U.S. embark on another full-scale military intervention in Syria and Iraq, or take a hands-off approach? One of the most important considerations for the administration is responding to the American public’s perception of the region and its willingness to intervene, which has remained anything but consistent over the last decade. In 2003, the Pew Research Center (a non-partisan polling and think-tank organization) reported that 72 percent of Americans favored the decision for war in Iraq. Popular support for intervention was fueled primarily by fear of terrorism and the alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction. Opinion of the war decreased steadily as casualties increased and no WMDs were found; by 2008, the number supporting the war had fallen to just 38 percent. The military and economic costs weighed down heavily on the public eye, and many didn’t see an end in sight for security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The memory of those extended conflicts was not lost on Americans when the question of intervention in Syria arose in 2013.  72 percent of Americans opposed military intervention in the country, fearing a lack of clear objectives and the possibility of another 10 year occupation. Back when Syria was being covered extensively by Western media, Obama decided to play the poll numbers and provided limited aid to Syrian rebel groups. But as the conflict wore on, Western interest in supporting the rebels diminished as well, and the IS was allowed to establish a base in Syria in the subsequent power vacuum.

Today, Americans are more split than ever on renewed presence in the Middle East. The Pew Research Center reports that in November of 2013, 51 percent of people believed that the United States was doing too much to solve the world’s problems, and only 17 percent said it was doing too little. In August of 2014, 39 percent said it was doing too much, and 31 percent said it was doing too little. In 2014, 67 percent of people believed that IS is a “major threat” to the United States, making the IS the second biggest threat in the public eye behind al-Qaeda.

Americans should be aware of the key difference between IS and true terrorist groups like al- Qaeda. The IS is a standing army, with organized leadership, territory under its control, and its goal has always been to establish a Sunni caliphate in the Middle East with sharia law. It has demonstrated little interest in directly attacking civilians in the West. Most terrorist groups, on the other hand, operate on a less concentrated scale, don’t control armies, and focus primarily on attacking civilian targets (mostly against the West).

Extensive media coverage of IS over the last few months has undoubtedly contributed to fear of IS as a threat to U.S. national security.  So part of the fear of IS stems from the fact that Americans associate them as terrorists, when there is a fairly clear distinction. Again, Obama is trying to strike a balance by authorizing air strikes in Iraq and Syria, without committing to stronger military intervention. Air strikes are a fine means of effective “hands-off” warfare, but they run the risk of provoking the IS into attacking the United States directly. In fact, the IS’s only aggressive action towards the West- the beheading of U.S. and British civilians- was provoked by U.S. bombing of IS targets.

As of now, the IS seems to be interested primarily in establishing its dominance in the Middle East, not attacking the West, but hasty foreign policy may make them more hostile. Obama is in a difficult situation, but the threat of IS is recognized by many actors in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syrian rebel groups supported by the United States, Lebanon, Turkey, and many other countries. The United States needs to play a firm guiding role in supporting the Middle East’s regional action against IS- specifically, making stronger relations with the actors involved, and building the Middle East’s capacity to isolate and handle threats on their own. In coming months, Obama’s handling of the new crisis in Iraq and Syria will determine whether the Middle East finally achieves some degree of stability, or breeds another round of chaos and uncertainty.


Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Speaks at UNC


On Monday, October 20th, progressive minded students filled Gerrard Hall looking to see Democratic National Committee Chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speak about the importance of the upcoming midterm election between incumbent North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan and her opposition Thom Tillis.

The event began with introductions from Louis Duke , president of the College Democrats of North Carolina, and Natasha McKenzie, president of the College Democrats of America – commenting on the regressive policies implemented by the North Carolina state legislature in  past years. Duke noted that North Carolina had become the “laughing stock of the nation,” emphasizing the importance of reelecting Kay Hagan.

Following the College Democrats and tailoring her speech to the youthful crowd, Congresswoman Schultz focused on her own political experiences in college noting her desire to help make peoples’ lives better through public service. Describing how she knocked on over 25,000 doors at the age of 25 for her own campaign, Schultz aimed to spur the grassroots sentiment and get-out-the-vote work needed to be done by the student audience. Finally, she noted Hagan’s track record of fighting for North Carolinians and Tillis’s record of cutting education, preventing access to healthcare, and restricting voting amongst different demographics including women and college aged students.

To end, North Carolina Congressmen David Price discussed the importance of this election not only in terms of deciding the fate of the United State Senate, but also in defining the legacy of North Carolina as a state and leader of the New South. He expressed how during his time at UNC in the 1960s, he fought for greater racial integration as Franklin Street had only one restaurant which accepted people of all races. In that legacy, he characterized North Carolina as a leader in the New South characterized by inclusivity and racial and economic diversity.

Fellow students, early voting begins on October 23rd at the Hillel on 210 West Cameron Street ending on November 1st. We urge you to get out the vote and make sure your friends do so as well. Your participation in this election is crucial. Never forget that this is your state, your country, and that you have a say in determining its future.


A Brief History of the Racist Landmarks at UNC


Often, the narratives we form about our history connect more to our beliefs about the current world than they do about what actually happened in the past.  With that in mind, the story of the University of North Carolina exists somewhat romantically in the minds of most students and alumni.  After all, as one of the first public universities in the United States, our school opened the door for a more universal education system.  For many it exists as the pinnacle of North Carolina’s achievements.  This particular narrative of school history is plagued by a blatant disregard for the history of minorities, particularly African Americans, at Chapel Hill.  Yet, generally, the more troubling aspects of our school’s history have receded away from public consciousness.

In no way is this a new conversation, but it is an important one.  It’s also one that the late historian, social activist, and UNC graduate, John K. Chapman, devoted a lot of his time exploring.  In his 2006 Phd dissertation, called “Black Freedom and the University of Chapel Hill,” Chapman began revising the idea that we are, as he called it, a “University of the People.”  Writing that “previous scholarship has contributed to a culture of denial and racial historical amnesia” he made the case that the university still has not come to terms with its past.  Everyday students walk past monuments of racism, often with little knowledge of their white supremacist connections.


Let’s take a tour of the some of the most familiar landmarks at UNC with questionable or overtly racist histories:

1. Dean Smith Center and Kenan Stadium



Stopping first at both the Dean Dome and Kenan Stadium, we must begin with the beloved Tar Heel nickname.  Yes, we students shout it in a reverberating echo at most sporting events, “TAR… HEEL… TAR… HEEL!”  Have you ever wondered why we picked a dirty appendage rather than a more sensible nickname like the Wildcats or the Demon Deacons? (Just kidding about Demon Deacons. That’s dumb. What were you thinking, Wake Forest?)  Well the etymology of the nickname “Tar Heel” is a bit convoluted.  It began as a pejorative commentary on North Carolina’s early colonial shipping industry, where tar and pitch were used to coat the bottom of ships.  It was obviously an indication of poverty and low class if you were constantly walking around with tar on the bottom of your heels.  However, “Tar Heel” quickly became a common term for North Carolina’s soldiers in both the Revolutionary and Civil War.  Especially during the Civil War, “Tar Heel” became a proud name for men fighting for their state.  Most famously, it was used by the Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, who once remarked, “God bless the Tar Heel boys!”  The nickname made perfect sense to UNC students and they cemented its collegiate use with the founding of a newspaper in 1893, called The Tar Heel (later renamed The Daily Tar Heel).  So, in summary, this is a bit like naming your sports team the Rebels (Shout out to the University of Mississippi!).

If right now you’re tempted to tell me, “heritage not hate,” understand that the history of the Confederacy carries with it a complex baggage that means different things to people of different backgrounds.  Keep in mind that, according to the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, it was an institution openly founded “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”  I won’t waste much time trying to convince you that we need to change our name simply because it references Confederate soldiers.  That question is certainly still a matter of debate.  It’s more important that we as a school understand where our name and identity comes from.  With that thought in mind, let’s keep going…

2. Silent Sam, completed in 1913


Here we have Silent Sam, probably one of the most controversial features of our campus.  To some, he is merely a monument to the 321 UNC alumni that lost their lives fighting for the Confederacy.  Taken merely as a memorial to the great human costs of the Civil War, Sam reminds us that many who went off to fight and die were compelled by their government to do so.  However, this sentiment is muddied by the intentions of those who funded his construction.  Erected in 1913 with support from the Daughters of the Confederacy, the dedication of Silent Sam lacked the sorrowful tone and dignity of, say, a Ken Burn’s documentary.  It was more like your most racist elderly relatives getting together at Thanksgiving to discuss “the good old days,” i.e. when free forced labor was government sanctioned.

One of the speakers at the dedication was a wealthy industrialist, named Julian Shakespeare Carr.  Thirteen years earlier, Carr had run unsuccessfully for the US Senate on the platform of white supremacy.  His beliefs were evident throughout his speech, stating, “The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South.”  If it wasn’t clear to his audience at that point that he was a racist, the anecdote he told later in the same speech probably cleared that up.  Bragging about how he “horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” because “she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady,” Carr obviously took great pride in having beaten a Black woman half to death.  (His entire speech can be found here, from UNC’s archives.)

3. The Carr Building, completed in 1900


So guess what? That guy from the story above… he got his own building at UNC.  Carr Building opened as a dormitory in 1900 and now functions as a faculty office building.  To be honest, getting this building was probably lower on his list of achievements than getting the whole town of Carrboro named in honor of him.  Ever eaten at Elmo’s diner at the Carr Mill Mall in Carrboro?  Carr Mill was the old cotton factory Carr owned, reopened as a shopping mall in 1974.  Julian Carr was also instrumental in turning Trinity College into Duke University.  While this one was probably a lesser lapse in moral judgement than many other things he’d done, it doesn’t make me like him anymore.  As it turns out, Duke also has a building dedicated to him.

4. Saunders Hall, completed in 1922


Next on our list of buildings dedicated to awful white dudes is Saunders Hall.  William L. Saunders graduated from UNC in 1854 and went on to serve as a colonel during the Civil War.  After the war, from his home in Chapel Hill, he became a chief organizer of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.

Although many of you are probably familiar with the organization, allow me to offer a brief history of the KKK.  After the Civil War, many whites became very concerned with the shifts in power that allowed Black Republicans to hold political office (an idea I’ll return to in the next section).  The KKK was created under the guise of protection for white Southerners against yankee “carpetbaggers” and Blacks.  In reality, they committed acts of violence and murder against Black citizens, doing everything they could to intimidate Blacks from voting.  Though many defenders of Confederate heritage hold the KKK separate from Confederate soldiers, it is true that many Southerners joined the Klan after returning home from war.  The original organization was created by six veterans of the Confederate Army, and quickly joined by one of the most famous Confederate generals, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

William Saunders orchestrated the beatings and assassinations of Blacks in many of the Piedmont counties, including Orange County.  After Democrats brutally forced their way back into power, Saunders served as North Carolina’s Secretary of State and Secretary of the Executive Committee of the UNC Board of Trustees.

5. Spencer Dormitory, completed in 1924


Here’s a change of pace from all the hating on white dudes: Spencer dormitory, completed in 1924 as the first residence hall for women, was named after a lady, Cornelia Phillips Spencer.  Her story, like many stories constructed from the Reconstruction era, portrays the bravery of white Southern men and women following the devastation of the Civil War.  If you’ve seen Gone With the Wind then this type of romanticism towards the South should be familiar.  As the old story goes: yankees come and ruin everything (i.e. free forced labor is no longer a government sanctioned activity), yankees take everything but the grace and dignity of the Southern people, and now the beautiful and brave white Southerners must make the best of their new circumstances (i.e. turn previously free forced labor into very cheap labor).  Cornelia Spencer, the daughter of a UNC professor, was one of those beautiful and brave Southern women responsible for pulling the university back together under these new circumstances.  Credited with reopening UNC after its devastation during the Civil War, Spencer begged the legislature for the funds necessary.  In 1875, after finally receiving $125,000 from the state government, she climbed to the top of South Building and rang its bell, announcing to the entire town that the university would soon be reopened.  Known heroically as “the woman who rang the bell,” Spencer’s story remains untarnished by pertinent truths concerning her cause or beliefs.

The real story of Reconstruction is far more complicated than the one we see depicted in Gone With the Wind or Spencer’s story.  To put things briefly, Reconstruction was initially a very radical change in the political power structure of the South.  With the Republican party in charge, from 1870 to 1876, North Carolina had 30 Black state legislators and one Black U.S. Congressman, named John A. Hyman.  Men like Hyman, formerly enslaved, were now representing a constituency in North Carolina that had never before been heard.  Of course, this made most Southerners very angry.  So angry that they could not bear to see their university open under such a government.  A fact that often gets left out of the original story, Cornelia Spencer was instrumental in closing the university in 1870 to protect it from Reconstruction politics.  She fought alongside men like Col. William Saunders to defend white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan while dismantling North Carolina’s Reconstruction government and voting rights for Blacks.  While she is still hailed by some as a crusader for women’s equality, it is clear that she only wanted power in the hands of white men and women (side note: unfortunately, many of history’s greatest crusaders for women’s equality were also white supremacists).

6. Daniels Building/Student Stores, completed in 1968


Okay, back to the awful white dudes. There are just two more awful white dudes to suffer through (well on this list, anyway).  Daniels Student Stores is one of those buildings that all of us, regardless of our major, have been through too many times to count.  Completed in 1868, it was named after Josephus Daniels, a former editor of the Raleigh News and Observer and Secretary of the Navy during the Wilson administration.  As editor of the News and Observer, Daniels is credited with forming a new white supremacy campaign in North Carolina, leading to Democratic victories in 1898 and 1900.

Prior to these dates, during the 1890s, North Carolina had once again achieved a coalition of Black and white representatives within the state legislature. In an era of Fusion politics, Black Republicans and white populists formed a powerful alliance dedicated to things like education and voting reform.  It wasn’t until 1898, when the Democrats of the state essentially took their power back by force that Blacks would finally be kicked out of office.  The Wilmington Race Riot is one of the most famous and violent example of whites overturning the democratic process in favor of outright thuggery.  During the election of 1898, the Democrats of Wilmington stuffed the ballot boxes with candidates of the white supremacy campaign.  Despite their efforts, voters elected a biracial fusionist government to serve in the city government.  Two days after the election, 500 white men went on a rampage, killing an unknown number of Black citizens and forcing the fusionist politicians to resign.  Josephus Daniels was instrumental in creating this tension that erupted into mass violence, writing in the Raleigh News and Observer that Wilmington suffered from “Negro domination.”  His newspaper frequently published racist propaganda, meant to frighten white citizens away from electing Blacks to political office or even allowing them to vote.  After the riot, the white supremacists of Wilmington pointed to Daniels as their catalyst for violence.

7. Hamilton Hall, completed in 1972


Last awful white dude on this list is J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton, a professor of history at the university from 1906 to 1948.  Hamilton Hall was built in 1972 as housing for the departments of History, Political Science, and Sociology.  The school chose the name in recognition of Hamilton’s historical contributions to the university, including the creation of the Southern Historical Collection.  However, it was his writings on Reconstruction that won him a job at UNC’s History Department.  Like the white supremacist historians who constructed the heroic narrative about Cornelia Spencer, Hamilton’s history sought to romanticize the efforts of white Southerners after Reconstruction.  In his 1914 book, Reconstruction in North Carolina, he praised the Ku Klux Klan for restoring “political power to the white race.”

8. Unsung Founders Memorial, completed in 2005


The Unsung Founders Memorial is located in MCcorkle Place, not far from the Silent Sam monument.  It contains the inscription, “The Class of 2002 honors the University’s unsung founders – the people of color bond and free – who helped build the Carolina that we cherish today.”  Yet, for many, this “memorial” exists as a rather sad representation of the university’s failure to come to terms with its racist past.  In 2009, a forum was conducted to discuss the race relations in Chapel Hill.  A local poet, C.J. Suitt addressed the issues with the memorial, saying that the university “has erected a 20-foot-tall monument to the Civil War, ‘Silent Sam,’ and less than a hundred yards away is a slave monument that’s … a table – a table that has these two-foot slaves holding it up,” He added, “The last time I walked past there was a lovely white family enjoying lunch.”
This is in no way meant to be an exhaustive list of all of UNC’s racial problems.  The visible landmarks at our school are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the discussion of racial inequality.  However, they are a good place to start.  Often history is a good place to start when it comes to evaluating our present circumstances.  The University of North Carolina has been a historic defender of slavery, segregation, and white supremacy, and countless activists have worked to expose this truth on our campus.  In 1999, Students Seeking Historical Truth was founded by current and former members of UNC’s Black Student Movement.  They worked to encourage historical honesty from the university concerning the many buildings you read about above.  Today, The Real Silent Sam is a group that exists on campus, founded in 2011 to “create honest public dialogue and provoke critical thought surrounding the monuments and buildings in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.”  The conversation they have sparked demands that the university challenge both its past and present, and confront the fact that institutional racism persists as a problem at our university.  For example, last year, it was discovered that our newest class, the class of 2017, has just 98 African American males out of 4,000 students.  Black students continue to be a minority at a school that has historically championed their disenfranchisement.  It is hard to imagine that we could ever have been considered a “University of the People.”

Governor Pat McCrory gives keynote address on University Day


In 1974, Governor Pat McCrory was a senior at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, NC. His brother, Phil was an incoming first year here at Carolina. A buddy of McCrory’s dropped him off on Franklin street and he got into his brother’s 1972 128 Fiat, where he told his brother to turn on the air condition. It was hot. But his brother refused, because they were at Carolina, and here, we roll down the windows.

During his keynote address at University Day this week, Governor Pat McCrory began with this story. He was in awe of Carolina when he visited his brother here, stating “ “This campus was the most beautiful university I had ever visited.” It was a place he said he respected, a place he wanted to return to, a place he still held in high regard.

McCrory called on all members of the Carolina community to strengthen the “UNC brand”, and stressed the obstacles that he and the chancellor had to fix coming in to Carolina. As North Carolina governor, McCrory said he inherited the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country, a debt of more than 2.5 billion dollars owed to the federal government, and he “also had to deal with teachers” who had not had a pay raise for over 5 years. McCrory claimed to have begun to resolve these problems, and that it was time to focus on long term problems in health care, transportation, and yes, even education.

McCrory stressed the poor oversight on grade policies and grade inflation at the University. He said we should allow our universities to be universities, so that limited public resources should not be used for “remedial coursework”. He said the state could truly only afford to invest in only students ready for the collegiate level, the “best of the best”, and that universities should generate some kind of return to justify public investment. McCrory warned,

“Universities and students must quickly adapt to the ever-changing market movements and demands.”

Although he did not bring up his idea again that North Carolina has “enough psychologists and sociologists and political science majors and journalists”, he did say this week that colleges across the state should be  “honing in on skills and subjects that employers need while stimulating our students’ interests.” He said he talked to employers who said they would move elsewhere if universities do not begin preparing students for the job market, and that this could be a loss for the entire state.

McCrory later shifted his speech to alcohol policy, stating “We also cannot afford for our universities to become illicit drug and alcohol playgrounds, that leads to student abuse, danger and harm to the next generation.” Although he himself admitted to going to a “few bars” with his brother as a teen back in the 1970s, he warned that substance abuse was a dangerous issue that needed attention on college campuses.

Chancellor Folt gave closing remarks, stating that although we have and always will continue to face challenges, these will be our greatest opportunities. On the 10th anniversary of the Carolina Covenant Scholars program, she stressed the economic diversity of the University and the public’s contribution to UNC. Before McCrory gave the keynote address, Krista Perreira was honored with the faculty service Graham Award as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research, and several alumni, including former North Carolina governor Jim Hunt, were honored for their contributions to the University and the state.

10 Things To Know About NC Attorney General Roy Cooper


NC Attorney General, Roy Cooper, will be speaking at UNC on Tuesday, October 14th at 7:00 p.m. in Bingham 103.  The event is hosted by the Young Democrats.  Before you hear him speak, here’s 10 things you should know about him.


  1. He’s a UNC alum and Morehead scholar.  He also received his law degree from UNC.
  2. He has won every election he has ever entered, and in 2008 he received more votes for any candidate in any office in the history of the state.
  3. Cooper is credited for handling the Duke Lacrosse scandal in 2006, and is responsible for the lacrosse players’ innocent verdict.
  4. He’s had an impressive political career. As a Democrat, he has been elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives and later the North Carolina Senate.  In 1997 he was elected Senate Majority Leader.  In his tenure in N.C. congress, Cooper “wrote North Carolina’s first children’s health insurance initiative, passed laws that set a national standard against predatory lenders, pushed tougher safety standards for child care centers, gave victims new rights through the Crime Victims Bill of Rights, banned guns from schools, and helped create a graduated license program to give young drivers more training,” according to his website.
  5. Cooper has served as North Carolina’s Attorney General since 2000.  He is currently in his 4th term.  In 2012, he was unopposed in both the Democratic primary and general election.
  6. As Attorney General, Cooper has increased DNA testing at crime scene investigations, increased penalties on meth labs, and increased Do Not Call restrictions for telemarketers. He has also created emergency plans and trainings for school shootings. You can see a more extensive record of his accomplishments at the NC Department of Justice’s website.
  7. In 2010, state and national Democrats tried to recruit Cooper to run against Republican Richard Burr for U.S. Senate.  Cooper declined.
  8. It was speculated that he would run for North Carolina governor in 2012 after Governor Bev Perdue’s term ended, but he opted to run for Attorney General again.
  9. Cooper is a potential candidate to run for governor 2016 against Governor Pat McCrory.  He has told reporters, “It’s too early to make a formal announcement, but I’m concerned about our state and I’m clearly making plans.”
  10. 10. Cooper has already started to criticize the Republican take over of North Carolina’s executive and legislative branches.  He has called the current elected officials, “not just conservative but extremists.” He’s condemned tax cuts for the rich and denounced vouchers for private schools with major cuts to education spending.  He’s also identified the rejection of Medicaid expansion as the state’s “most economically reckless decision.”

That’s ten basic things to know about Roy Cooper, so make sure to mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m!