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UNC-Chapel Hill lifts its self-imposed ban on renaming campus buildings

UNC-Chapel Hill lifts its self-imposed ban on renaming campus buildings

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CHAPEL HILL — A five-year-old moratorium on renaming buildings and other campus sites at UNC-Chapel Hill has been lifted.

University trustees voted Wednesday to repeal the ban, the News & Observer of Raleigh and other media outlets reported.

The Raleigh newspaper said trustees didn't talk about specific buildings, monuments, memorials or landscapes they might consider renaming.

The News & Observer reported that UNC-CH students, employees and others have continued to put pressure on the university to repeal the renaming ban and remove names associated with slavery and racism. A project completed by UNC-CH public history classes in 2017 documented nearly 30 campus buildings named for slaveholders or for people associated with white supremacy efforts in the decades after the Civil War.

The UNC-CH governing board in 2015 imposed a 16-year moratorium on renaming campus spaces at the end of a long debate over Saunders Hall, an academic building that had been named for a university graduate who was a newspaper editor, N.C. secretary of state and reported Ku Klux Klan leader. Trustees imposed the renaming ban at the same meeting it changed the name of Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall.

Wednesday's vote came after two weeks of protests nationwide and on the UNC-CH campus against racism and police brutality. Confederate monuments, like the Silent Sam statue removed from the UNC-CH campus in 2018, were targeted at some national protests.

In a statement, UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and board chairman Richard Stevens said lifting the moratorium will "help our campus heal and move forward with a mission to learn from our past and make Carolina a welcoming place for all Tar Heels. ...

"We are living in a world where change should be fueled by a desire to create and embrace a more inclusive world, not resisted by fear. Today, we are sending a clear message to the Carolina Community that we will reconcile our past and create a future that reflects the inclusivity and equality that our nation and the world deserve and demand."

Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​


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