Resolution 3.2 Addressing Carolina Community
PASSED UNANIMOUSLY ON 7/30/20
"Dear Carolina Community:
The Commission on Campus Equality & Student Equity’s charge is to expand and enhance the civic, social, educational, cultural, and economic status of marginalized communities on campus. The Commission also works to regulate, produce, and execute actionable policy, recommendations, and ongoing dialogue centered around equal rights, antiracism, and racial justice on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Recently, we published several recommendations to University leadership as a result of our rigorous review of the “Roadmap for Fall 2020.” These recommendations addressed a wide array of pressing student concerns in a comprehensive and direct manner. However, as we continue to engage our peers in dialogue, we become more disappointed in the way our senior leadership has chosen to communicate with its most valuable stakeholders: students.
Prior to COVID-19’s arrival to our community, our institution presented major organizational failures regarding how Carolina addressed student-centered dialogue and equity-related campus issues. However, these institutional failures have only worsened since the beginning of the pandemic. We have had to, on several occasions, request in writing that our student body be more effectively informed on decisions made by University leadership – never mind our original request asking for more student involvement in the university’s decision-making process itself.
We write first to express our deepest disappointment in the University leadership; during a time that called for our leaders to express more creative and strategic leadership, you have failed your students – especially those of color. Secondly, we would like to address the pressing issues surrounding Fall 2020. As we dialogue with undergraduate students throughout our most marginalized Carolina communities, there is a consistent consensus from both our peers and residents of the town of Chapel Hill-they are scared, fearful, and distrustful. We write to further urge you to proactively dialogue with the UNC system and the UNC Board of Governors for more longitude in making the right decision for our community: All courses must be offered virtually and our campus must significantly reduce the amount of students living on-campus this upcoming semester.
And, while we advocate boldly for the least amount of in-person interaction on-campus as possible, we do not discount that there will be some students who require housing for various reasons, including international students, student-athletes, and students in home environments inconducive to academic success. We request that these students be given the opportunity to live in on-campus housing, but that the greater student population be required to interact with UNC in a remote capacity.
Through our dialogue with undergraduates, graduate and professional students, and community residents, we have found that major concerns currently exist regarding internet accessibility, effective adherence to community guidelines, and the lack of asynchronous course offerings. Presently, there are too many health and socioeconomic hurdles in place for both our students and the residents of Chapel Hill to confidently state that it is appropriate to bring students back to our campus.
We realize that such a decision will place our facilities workers at risk, but we have requested that these workers be reassessed for other ways they can contribute to the Carolina community and that the University take all necessary precautions to prevent the job loss of these workers while aiming to keep our students and families safe. We condemn the University’s lack of acknowledgement and actionable response to the thousands of students, facilities workers, and faculty members that have expressed grave life-threatening concerns regarding an in-person return.
For too long, the minority voice has been disregarded by this institution. This can no longer continue to be the status of today’s interaction between University leadership and students. We urge our administration to take bold, forceful, and effective action and initiate transparent dialogue with the UNC-System leadership regarding how an in-person return will negatively affect the University and the greater Chapel Hill community. Our communities of color and those of low socioeconomic status will bear the brunt of an in-person return that other more privileged communities can evade.
The minority communities of Carolina have been fighting the battle against social corruption and racial injustice for over 200 years. It is time that University leadership join us in leading this fight and better enhance the sense of partnership, community, and belonging amongst our community. University leadership must work to utilize Carolina’s profound gifts of creativity and scholarship to end this war on racial injustice and inequitable education, for the sake of its students.
The Commission on Campus Equality & Student Equity"