The campuswide meeting on race last November at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was disrupted when demonstrators chanted and issued a list of their demands, including free tuition. And anger and argument over the “Silent Sam” statue memorializing the Confederate dead in the middle of a main quad on campus have been long-standing.
Chancellor Carol Folt now has unveiled plans for a long-running dialogue on race and the atmosphere on campus.
The campus may be overdue for this kind of dialogue, but it should be well-conceived, and it should be open to all viewpoints.
Duke, Yale, the University of Missouri and other campuses around the country have reacted to the charges of racism with regard to incidents regarding law enforcement and have seen demonstrations. And such demonstrations have not been limited to college campuses, of course. They’ve gone on in communities large and small.
UNC-Chapel Hill will, one hopes, get in front of the issue instead of catching up to it, and that seems to be what Folt is trying to do. But it is going to be a long, difficult struggle, and for now it appears Silent Sam, which some have advocated is a very difficult symbol to overcome, will be staying put.