In May, when the Board of Trustees voted to rename Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall, they also directed that we undertake a comprehensive approach to curating and teaching a full and accurate history of UNC-Chapel Hill. Their objective is to ensure that everyone – students, prospective students, faculty, staff and community – has the opportunity to “learn about Carolina’s history, values, and contributions to society.”
To carry out the Board’s directive, I have appointed co-chairs for a Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History. They are: Winston Crisp, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Amy Locklear Hertel, Director of the American Indian Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work; and James Leloudis, Professor of History, Associate Dean for Honors Carolina and Director of the Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence. Project manager for the Task Force will be Cecelia Moore, historian and content specialist on University history.
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-Chapel Hill’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 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 Board of 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 Board of Trustees meeting. The Task Force will provide regular campus updates.
The Task Force has a big job ahead and the outcome of their efforts will only be effective if it is a collaborative and engaged process. I strongly encourage you to participate when asked for your involvement. In the interim if you have comments or questions, please reach out to Cecelia Moore at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. 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. In this way, we can truly honor our tradition of excellence and make Carolina ever stronger for the future.
Carol L. Folt