Under the Dome

UNC student paper advocates name change for Aycock Residence Hall

Days after UNC Greensboro trustees voted unanimously to remove the name Aycock from the university’s auditorium, some students at UNC-Chapel Hill want to see similar action from their trustees.

An editorial published Monday in the Daily Tar Heel called for trustees to rename the Aycock residence hall on UNC’s campus. The dormitory, built in 1924, was named for UNC alumnus and former North Carolina Gov. Charles Aycock.

Universities around North Carolina have taken action to remove the name of Aycock, who was governor from 1901 to 1905. Known as a proponent of public education, Aycock, a Democrat, built hundreds of schools but also pushed a white supremacy campaign that disenfranchised black voters in the early 1900s.

Last year, after a series of student protests, UNC trustees voted to change the name of a classroom building named for William Saunders, a purported Ku Klux Klan leader. As part of that action, the board instituted a 16-year moratorium on renaming other buildings. The board also launched an effort to curate UNC’s history and put it in context with a display or permanent collection. A campus task force is working on that now.

In its editorial, entitled, “We cannot wait 16 years,” the Daily Tar Heel said: “We have a solemn duty to constantly re-examine our history and the people in it we choose to honor.”

Besides UNCG, several campuses, including Duke and East Carolina, have jettisoned the Aycock name. ECU announced last week that its former Aycock Residence Hall will now be called Legacy Hall. ECU has raised $300,000 toward a $500,000 goal to create another space on campus called Heritage Hall. It will recognize people of historical significance to ECU, including Aycock.