UNC-Chapel Hill To Remove Names of Racist Figures From Four Campus Buildings

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) will remove the names of White supremacists — Charles Aycock, Julian Carr, Josephus Daniels and Thomas Ruffin Sr. — from four campus buildings following an 11-to-2 vote by its Board of Trustees, who came to the decision after “dissent and discussion” on Wednesday, reports North Carolina Public Radio.

Dr. Kevin GuskiewiczDr. Kevin Guskiewicz

The decision comes after the school voted in June to end a 16-year moratorium on the renaming of campus landmarks. Students and faculty alike had demanded the moratorium be lifted and that the school reconsider renaming buildings honoring racist figures. Then, following the advice of the university’s History, Race & a Way Forward Commission, Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, UNC’s chancellor,  recommended the removal of four names, citing their abhorrent beliefs.

“The actions of these individuals were egregious even for their time and their conduct was central to their careers and lives as a whole,” Guskiewicz said in his recommendation.

The Board voted for the removal of each name separately, and each of the four passed 11-to-2, with trustees John Preyer and Allie Ray McCullen casting votes against all four name removals. Preyer had instead motioned for the school to “forgive these men and observe an annual day of forgiveness.” That proposal was promptly voted down.

“This is what great universities do every day,” Guskiewicz said in closing the meeting. “We teach people and our society how to adapt and be the change agents for addressing the grand challenges of our time.”