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“Enough is Enough” – A Message from the Executive Board Officers In Response to University COVID-19 Policies – September 2, 2021

September 2, 2021

“Enough is Enough”

A Message from the Executive Board Officers In Response to University COVID-19 Policies

Thursday, September 2, 2021

NOTE: To undersign this statement, please add your name to the linked document.

To the Carolina Community,

The sanctity of our University’s foremost priority continues to be desecrated, discounted, and disregarded: that of ensuring the safety, security, and wellbeing of all Tar Heels — students, faculty, and staff alike.

The safety of our students — looking for an enriching, empowering, and emboldening academic experience at one of the most densely populated Universities in the state — is at risk.

The security of our faculty — charged with providing world-class thought, perspective, and knowledge on a campus that threatens the livelihood of their families, loved ones, and colleagues — is at risk.

The wellbeing of our employees and staff — those that propel this University forward — marred by understaffing and inequitable pay — is at risk.

In response to the continued onslaught of COVID-19 cases and community spread on and off-campus, the value of the safety of the Carolina community — our Carolina — has been used as a prop — as a negotiable — for the self-serving purpose of heightening public-facing institutional “reputation” and “integrity.”

What becomes clear, however, is that our community is not safe. It is not secure. And it is not well.

What will it take, we ask? What will it take for our University — the flagship institution of the UNC System — to finally place people over profits? Courage over controversy?

What will it take for our University to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all community members?

What will it take for our University to mandate that every student, faculty, and staff member, regardless of vaccination status, get tested at minimum one time per week? To mandate testing at greater frequencies for those unvaccinated or failing to share vaccination status?

What will it take for our University to recognize the alarming impact of its premature scaledown of COVID-19 testing infrastructure, closing the Carolina Square ArtSpace and Rams Head Recreation Building testing centers?

What will it take for our University to institute an outdoor mask mandate, ensuring that large outdoor gatherings, athletic events, Old Well sips, and University-sponsored events are not breeding grounds for illness and infection?

What will it take for our University to ensure an academic experience that works for all, not some? What will it take to ensure every class has a virtual and/or hybrid option, ensuring students who do not or cannot attend class are not penalized, can receive all course material, and can experience an equally rigorous and inclusive virtual education?

What will it take, we ask, for our University to act?

Will it take leaving Carolina parents childless? The spouses of our faculty widowed? The families of our staff members shattered?

The value of the safety of our community is not open for negotiation. It requires a commitment — unconditionally and unrelentingly — to the pursuit of intentional safety measures that effectively, accurately, and transparently support the health and wellbeing of our community — of our students, of our faculty, and of our staff — not that of our institution’s public image.

The audacity of the incapacity of our University’s COVID-19 response and management is shameful and a disgrace to what Carolina ought to stand for. 

We are tired of wishing and hoping. Decisions await — enough is enough.

Yours for Carolina—today, tomorrow, and always, 

The Executive Board Officers of the 2021-2022 Undergraduate Student Government Executive Branch

Lamar G. Richards

Student Body President

Undergraduate Student Government President

Collyn Smith

Undergraduate Vice President

Keisha Solanki

Undergraduate Chief of Staff

Kartik Tyagi

Undergraduate Secretary

Chief Communications Officer

Aashna Shukla

Undergraduate Treasurer

Nina Dakoriya

Director of State and External Affairs

Chaz Crosby, Isha Padhye, Ananya Tadikonda, and Greear Webb

Senior Advisors

NOTE: To undersign this statement, please add your name to the linked document

On Friday, September 3, 2021, the above statement was endorsed and undersigned unanimously by the Campus Presidents’ Council. The Campus Presidents’ Council is a collective group of student leaders from across the Carolina community, representing a diverse collective of student groups.

 

UNDERSIGNED:

The Campus Presidents’ Council

The Campus Y Executive Board

Ethan Phillips Director of Student Wellness and Safety, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Molly Dorgan Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Anu Joy Director of the Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Kenza Slaoui Assistant Director of International Students and Immigrant Support – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Elizabeth Morton President of UNC Chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Phoebe Pak Director of Academic Affairs and Professional Development, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Katelynn Gilbert Chair of North Carolina Public Interest Research Group
Erin Schlachter Deputy Communications Officer, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Hanna Azizi Messaging & Communications Specialist, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch 
Ryan Crowell Messaging & Communications Specialist, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Lauryn Lovett Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch 
Jessica Walker Lead Content Creation Specialist, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Sooyeon Oh Executive Assistant to the Treasurer, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch 
Abigail Adams Assistant Director of Interfaith and Religion – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Sneha Pasupula Oversight and Advocacy Chair, UNC Undergraduate Senate
Zoe Helms Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Salena Braye-Bulls Assistant Director of Basic Needs and Affordability – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Victoria Bryant  Assistant Director of Research & Innovation- Department of Academic Affairs & Professional Development, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Esther Eikins Assistant Director of Out-of-State and Transfer Life- Department of Campus Life and Student Experiences, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Ritushree Dutta  Senator, District 1: School of Biological and Health Sciences, Undergraduate Senate, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Esha Parikh Assistant Director of State and External Affairs, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Shamar Wilson Deputy Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Elliana Alexander President, Residence Hall Association
Nikalus Ward Assistant Director of Sexuality and Gender Inclusion – Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Britney Burns President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council
Alexis Jamison Vice President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council
Derrick Davis Treasurer of the National Pan-Hellenic Council; Junior Vice Polemarch of the Middle Eastern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 
Mykel Yancey Polemarch (President) of the Theta Omicron Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 
Jarrah Faye President of the  Collegiate Chapter of the NAACP at UNC Chapel Hill.
Tanja Butler President of the Lambda Psi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. 
Sharon P. Holland Chair and Townsend Ludington Distinguished Professor of American Studies.
John Pickles Phillips Distinguished Professor of International Studies in the Department of Geography
Christian C. Lentz Associate Professor of Geography
Leena A. Nylander-French Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health and Director of the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center
Chloe Benjamin Assistant Director for University Career Services
Katie Musgrove Chair, UNC Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Business Officer, School of Law Clinical Programs

David Baker Dept. of English and Comparative Lit.
Valerie Lambert Dept. of Anthropology
Christina Burch Professor, Department of Biology, Expert in Viral Evolution
Samantha Thies Vice President of Finance, Communication Studies Graduate Student Association, Dept. of Communication 
Michael Lambert African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
Eugenia Eng Professor of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Laurie Selz Campbell Clinical Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Claire Bunschoten Graduate Teaching Assistant, American Studies
Jocelyn Chua Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology
Kita Douglas Teaching Assistant Professor, American Studies
Gabrielle Loppe President of the Caribbean Student Association
Richard Wolfenden Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry
Jillian Kern Graduate Teaching Fellow, Dept. of English and Comparative Literature
Danielle Purifoy Assistant Professor, Dept of Geography
Patricia Rosenmeyer Professor, Dept. of Classics
Andrea Hussong Professor, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Elena Vidrascu PhD Candidate, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Allison Volmer Research Specialist, Marsico Lung Institute
Janae Shaheed PhD Student and Instructional Assistant, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Jennifer Potter Senior Program Coordinator for Clinical Outreach, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sherryl Kleinman Emerita Professor of Sociology
Jim Herrington Professor (retired), Gillings School of Global Public Health 
Michael Palm Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication, CAS
Alice Marwick Associate Professor, Department of Communication; Principal Researcher, Center for Information, Technology, & Public Life
Megan Foster PhD Student & Teaching Assistant, Dept. of Communication 
Taliajah Vann 54th President, Black Student Movement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
Aaron Shapiro Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, CAS
Jay Smith Professor of History
Megan Winget Teaching Assistant Professor, School of Information and Library Science
Matthew Gibson PhD student, History Department
Antonia Randolph  Assistant Professor,  American Studies 
Jaylen Harrell Outreach Coordinator, Black Student Movement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Barbara Fedders Assistant Professor, UNC School of Law
Renée Alexander Craft Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Curriculum in Global Studies
Mya Parks Secretary, Black Student Movement at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Gabrielle Berlinger Assistant Professor, American Studies and Folklore
Suad Jabr PhD student, Geography
Daniel Russo Graduate teaching assistant, Department of Communication
Tony Perucci Associate Professor, Department of Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill
Shannon McGregor Assistant professor, Hussman School of Journalism  & Media
Erin Siegal McIntyre Assistant professor, Hussman School of Journalism  & Media
Melody Kramer Director of Comms, Carolina Population Center and Carolina Demography
Hassan Melehy Professor, Dept. of Romance Studies
Abigail Haydon Training Manager, Carolina Population Center;

Alumna Gillings School of Global Public Health (Maternal and Child Health), PhD & MPH

Joseph Richards Graduate Teaching Fellow/Doctoral Student, Department of Communication
Kumarini Silva Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Jordynn Jack Chi Omega Term Distinguished Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Elyse Crystall Teaching Associate Professor, English & Comparative Literature 
Sarah Dempsey Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Michele Meyer PhD Candidate, Media & Communication
Phil Edwards Instructional Consultant (EHRA Non-Faculty), Center for Faculty Excellence
Alexnadra Domrongchai American Studies Student Association President
Anna Brady Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Paul Wynkoop Project Coordinator at the Peer Relations Lab at UNC-CH
Kena Lemu Executive Social Justice Advocate, Residence Hall Association 
Yulianna Aparicio Student Services Specialist, Department of Art and Art History
Don Nonini Emeritus Professor of Anthropology
Steve May Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Linda Beeber Emeritus Professor of Nursing
Megan Wood PhD Candidate, Department of Communication
Julia Haslett Assistant Professor, Dept of Communication
Mayra Perez Secretary, The Phi Chapter of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad / Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. 
Kevin Pabst Doctoral Student, Department of Communication
Rachel Ciampoli Doctoral Student & Teaching Assistant, Department of Art and Art History
Annika Hugosson Doctoral Student & Teaching Assistant, Department of Anthropology
Margaret Wiener Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Anthropology
Molly Dashney Videography Lead, UNC Student Government Executive Branch
Julia Clark Vice President of Black Student Movement, Chair of the James Cates Memorial Committee of the Carolina Union Board of Directors
Alice Whiteside Head, Sloane Art Library, University Libraries
Rachel Briggs Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Julio Gutierrez PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology
Chase Debnam Department Manager, Psychology & Neuroscience, College of Arts & Sciences
Florence Babb Professor, Department of Anthropology
Sophie Bendrath Graduate student, Psychology and Neuroscience
Angela Stuesse Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies
Emily Spangenberg Bilingual Program Assistant, UNC School of Law
Katherine Tumlinson Assistant Professor, UNC Gillings
Stephanie Willen Brown Librarian, Hussman School of Journalism & Media
Ariana Avila PhD student, Department of Anthropology
Dan Hockstein MSIS Student, UNC SILS; A/V Digitization Research Assistant, University Libraries; Teaching Assistant, American Studies
Catherine Zimmer Adjunct Professor of Sociology
Bryan Stiles Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Arthi Annadurai District 1 Undergraduate Senator and Oversight and Advocacy Vice Chair, UNC Undergraduate Government
Lucía Stavig Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology 
Michele Hayslett Data Services Librarian, University Libraries
Rhema Bland Director, Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting
Andrea Lorenz PhD Student, School of Journalism and Media
Kirill Tolpygo Slavic & East European Studies Librarian, Davis Library
Aunchalee Palmquist Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health
Philip Vandermeer Head of the Music Library; Adj. Assoc. Prof. of Music
Tyra Rubin Mental Health Awareness and Stigma Reduction Coordinator, Student Wellness and Safety, UNC Undergraduate Student Government 
Lucía I. Mock Muñoz de Luna PhD student, School of Education
KA Medlin Ph.D. student, Department of Mathematics
John E. French Ph.D., Professor, Nutrition, Gilling School of Global Public Health,  UNC-CH
Brittany Price Alumna, Gillings School of Global Public Health (MPH 2021, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights)
Anne Wells Audiovisual Archivist, University Libraries
Anna S. Agbe-Davies Associate Professor of Anthropology
Kristan Shawgo Social Sciences Librarian, University Libraries
Annie Rose O’Brien Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Religious Studies
Patricia Parker Professor, Department of Communication
Dhara Patel MPH Student and TA, Health Behavior Department, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights Concentration 
Miles Perry MPH Global Health student
Aaron Pattillo-Lunt Graduate History Society President, PhD Student  and Teaching Assistant, History Department
Eric Hastie Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Austin Geer Director of Programs and Policy, Undergraduate Student Government 
Lindsay Savelli MPH student in Health  Equity,, Social Justice & Human Rights, TA for MPH core course
Deborah M. Weissman Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law
Daniela Sostaita MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights; Research Assistant, UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Karis Price Co-President of the Carolina Association of Black Journalists
Gabriel Rosner MBA Graduate, Kenan-Flagler Business School 
Nico Gleason Member, UNC Board of Elections
Ariana Davis Project Coordinator, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Rosemary Gay Teaching Assistant & PhD Student, Department of Anthropology
Sam Ehrenstein Ph.D. Student and Teaching Assistant, Department of Computer Science
Taya Westfield Master of Public Health Candidate, Department of Health Behavior
Emily Baragwanath Associate Professor, Department of Classics
Zofia Knorek PhD Candidate & Royster Fellow, Environment, Ecology, and Energy Program; Workers Union UNC (UE150) Chapter President
Pamela Lothspeich Associate Professor, DAMES
Khalil Dalton Teaching Assistant and PhD student, American Studieshmm 
Kaitlin Hiciano MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights
Jade Squires Research & Instruction Associate, University Libraries
Victoria Petermann PhD Candidate, School of Nursing
Lee McGuigan Assistant Professor, Hussman School of Journalism and Media
Jessica Neupane MPH Candidate, Health Behavior 
Gabriela Valdivia Professor, Geography
Micah Wilkins MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights
Sharon L. James Professor, Classics
Preeyanka Rao MPH Candidate in Health Policy, and 2020-2021 Undergraduate Student Body Vice President & Co-Chair of the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor
Melanie Meents Audiovisual Archives Assistant, University Libraries
Stefani N Baca-Atlas Doctoral student, School of Social Work
Daniel Bowen Alumnus and 2020-2021 Undergraduate Chief of Staff, Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government
Purva Trivedi MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights
Samantha Luu Associate Director, UNC Peer Support Core

Alumna – BA ‘14, MPH ‘19

Juliane Hammer Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Frantasia Hill MPH Candidate, Health Behavior
Hannah Preston MPH Candidate, Health Policy
Torin Monahan Professor, Department of Communication, CAS
Brianna Ramgeet Co-Vice President of the Caribbean Students Association
Hannah Skjellum PhD candidate, English and Comparative Literature
Angel Boyd PhD student, Dept. of Romance Studies
Vanessa Amankwaa Minority Student Caucus Co-President & MPH Candidate, Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights 
Miranda Elston PhD Candidate, Art History 
Hồng-Ân Trương Prof, Dept of Art & Art History
Everett Lang PhD student, English and Comparative Literature 
Kelly Dalton UNC Alum BA ‘07, Former UNC staff of 13 years
Mackenzie Mitchell Doctoral  student, Dept. Psychology & Neuroscience
Katelyn M. Campbell PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow, Department of American Studies
Lien Truong Associate Professor, Dept. of Art and Art History
Julianne Key Doctoral student, Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience
Rachel Sweeney MA Student, Dept. of Art and Art History
Sophie Tô Minority Student Caucus Co-President, PhD Student in Health Behavior, & Teaching Fellow
Phuong Duyen Nguyen MFA Candidate, Morrison Studio Fellow, Dept. of Art and Art History
Kayla Rodrigues Undergraduate student, Environmental Science
Jeanne Moskal Professor, Dept of English & Comparative Literature
Lindsay Ayling PhD Candidate, History
Cotie San MPH candidate, EQUITY
Hugo Ljungbäck MFA Candidate and Teaching Fellow, Department of Art and Art History
Andy Liu Vice President, Asian American Students Association
Carrie Monette Music  Library, retired
Sophie Kelmenson PhD Candidate, City + Regional Planning
Austin Tyner USG DEI Assistant Director of Campus Accessibility and Disability Services, Co-Chair Disability Advocates Committee
A. Danielle Dulken  Teaching Fellow/ Doctoral Candidate , Dept. of American Studies 
Courtney Coley President, Queen In You; Co-President, Carolina Closet
Marc Rudolph PhD Candidate; Psychology & Neuroscience
Alexandra Wojda Teaching Fellow & Doctoral Student, Dept of Psychology & Neuroscience 
Lizzie Wilson Research Assistant in Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience; former undergraduate at UNC
Aitza Burgess Alumna, BA’17
Joungwon Kwon PhD student, Dept. of City and Regional Planning
Thomas Costello Public Communications Specialist, UNC School of Nursing
Husein Syed Undergraduate Senator, District 1
Charlotte Boettiger Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience
Trevy A. McDonald Director of ABIDE and Julian W. Scheer Term Associate Professor, Hussman School of Journalism and Media
Zelal Kilic Project Coordinator at the Peer Relations and DSN Labs at UNC-CH
Maria Sobrino Project Coordinator at the DSN and CASL Labs at UNC-CH
Eesha Desai Undergraduate Senator, Joint Governance Council Member at Large, District 3
Barbara Sostaita Alumna; PhD ‘21
Courtney Medina Project Coordinator at the DSN and CASL Labs at UNC-CH
Altha Cravey Associate professor of geography, retired. 
Anna Bauer Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Alumna – PhD ‘17, MPH ‘11

Samah Choudhury Alumna; PhD ‘20
Alyssa Brown Graduate Assistant, School of Information and Library Science
Lou Pérez History
Tim Poe Director of Telehealth with the UNC Lineberger Cancer Network at  the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center 
Emil’ Keme  Romance Studies 
Paul Bonnici Carolina Public Humanities
Gisella Lie MPH Candidate ’23
Jon Powell, PhD Continuing Education Specialist with Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Tikiyah Davis Staff for Department of Campus Life and Student Experience, Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government 
Mary Pardo Emerita, History of Art, Chapel Hill resident
Mason Simmons MPH Candidate, Department of Health Behavior, ℅ 2023
Abigail Armstrong Circulation Supervisor, R.B. House Undergraduate Library
Benjamin Levy PhD Candidate, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Ryan Smith Assistant Director of Academic Advising and Registration, UNC Undergraduate Student Government
Alicia Carter Adjunct Professor, School of Journalism and Media 
Varad Gurude Undergraduate Student, Biomedical Engineering
Drew Benzaia Solicitor General, Undergraduate Judicial Branch of Student Government
Joy Drury Cox Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History
Crystal Casparis Cataloging/Reserves Supervisor, Media & Design Center
Elias Horowitz Co-Director of Communications of the Campus Y, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow
Sandy Smith-Nonini Adjunct asst. Professor of Anthropology
Sydney Corn Research Associate, Center for Urban and Regional Studies
Imani Rankins  Co-Director of Outreach of the Campus Y, Management and Society, Philosophy Student
Veronica Correa Alumna – BS. 2020
Jasmine Kaur  Co-Director of Development of the Campus Y, Business and Information Systems Student
Jing Murray MPH Candidate, Global Health
Van Rynald Liceralde PhD Candidate, Psychology and Neuroscience
Hannah Morgan Graduate Student, Psychology and Neuroscience
Micah Hughes  Alumnus,  PhD ‘21
Candace Mixon Alumna, PhD ‘19
Aurora Charlow Undergraduate Student, Journalism & Political Science
Melissa Plooster PhD Candidate, Cell Biology & Physiology
Valerie Tu Uyen Nguyen President: Order of the Golden Fleece, President: CPALS, Class of 2022
Camilla Dohlman MPH candidate,  Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights; Research Assistant, Carolina Population Center 
Margaret Maurer PhD Candidate, English and Comparative Literature
Zach Metzger PhD Student , English and Comparative Literature
Isabella Salazar President of the UNC Chapter of PorColombia 
Jessica Blanks M.D. Student, UNC School of Medicine
Allison Ruvidich MSIS Student, School of Information and Library Science
Annabel Gereau Graduate student, Psychology and Neuroscience
De’Ivyion Drew Former Campus Safety Commission Member
Savannah Foreman PhD Student , English and Comparative Literature
Manav Shah Undergraduate Class of 2022
Banu Gokariksel Professor, Department of Geography, Curriculum in Global Studies
Hanna Dingel MPH student, Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights 
Lisa Servia Villamil Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Media
Raj Bunnag Graduate Student, Art and Art History
Rachel O’Reilly MSIS Student, School of Information and Library Science
Jameela F. Dallis Alumna, PhD, 2016, English and Comparative Literature
Austin Paschall President of Minority Business Alliance, President of Psi Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
Aiqi Sun Undergraduate Student ‘23
Katie Regittko Co-Director of Cabinet of the Campus Y, Undergraduate Sociology Student
Taft Stevens Campus Life and Student Experience Staff; Men-tality Founder 
S. Elizabeth Needham PhD Student, Classics
Anusha Dubey Executive Administrative Coordinator, Residence Hall Association
Laura Van Leuven Circulation Supervisor, R.B. House Undergraduate Library
Katie Crisp poli sci and environmental justice undergrad
Britney Hong Undergraduate Student Class of 2024, American Studies and HDFS Department 
Stone Watson Deputy Chief of Staff, UNC Undergraduate Executive Branch
Harley Kranock MPH Candidate, Health Equity, ‘22
John D. Martin III PhD Candidate, SILS; Instructor, Computer Science
Julie R Green Computing Support Specialist, Davis library
Tia Francis Digital Research Support Specialist, University Libraries
Parker Bach PhD Student, School of Media and Journalism
Joanna Burke Project Coordinator – CITAP,  School of Information and Library Science
Rachel Corr PhD Candidate, Neuroscience; Instructional Assistant, Psychology & Neuroscience
Karen Booth Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Glenn Hinson Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology
Carole Crumley Professor Emerita, Dept. of Anthropology
Anthony Brent Eason Research Technician, M.S. Microbiology & Immunology,  Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; Alumnus ‘13, ‘19
Sydney Newbegin Undergrad Student, Psychology
Arrianna Marie Planey Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Jack Wilson Undergraduate Student Class of 2025, Undecided
Ronik Grewal Undergraduate Class of 2024, Information Science
Jiarui Cui Undergraduate Student Class of 2024, Sociology
Zachary R. Boyce 2021 Candidate for Mayor of Chapel Hill, Senator of the Law Constituency, GPSG, J.D./M.S.I.S. Candidate 
Enzo Codella Student, UNC Law Class of 2023
Caroline Hitesman J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Rachel Holtzman J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023. BSPH alumni at Gillings School of Public Health, Class of 2014.
Chyanne Flores J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023.
Katie DeAngelis J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Allysan Scatterday J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Kate Shurtleff J.D. Candidate at UNC School of Law, Class of 2023
Hannah Marion J.D./M.S.W. Candidate at UNC, Class of 2023
Hannah Neukrug MSW Student at UNC, Class of 2023

 

Press Release: UNC Student Body President Lamar G. Richards Selected as Presidential Fellow – August 30, 2021

August 30, 2021

Office of the Secretary and Department of Communications

Suite 3109 Frank Porter Graham Student Union

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


For Immediate Release

Monday, August 30, 2021

UNC Student Body President Lamar G. Richards Selected as Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC)

CHAPEL HILL, NC, August 30, 2021 – The Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government is proud to announce that Lamar Gregory Richards Jr., Student Body President, Undergraduate Student Government President, and Trustee of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been selected as a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC).

Established in 1970, the Presidential Fellows Program provides the opportunity to “study the U.S. Presidency, the public policymaking process, and our President’s relationships with Congress, allies, the media, and the American public.” Further information can be found at thepresidency.org/cspc-fellows-program.

Since the commencement of the Richards Administration in April 2021, the Undergraduate Executive Branch has solidified its presence in and outside of the Carolina Community, aiming to secure a more equitable Carolina — for all Carolina students — in a manner that is student-centered, student-focused, and student-driven.

The magnitude of this impact continues to be exemplified by the Undergraduate Executive Branch through the intentional work of Senior Staff and Cabinet Departments in developing and executing initiatives such as the Campus Presidents’ Council, the Inaugural Distinguished Lectureship on Racial Equity and Belonging, the Richard Epps Emerging Leaders Program, and more.

It is in promoting and amplifying the voices of students here at Carolina that the Undergraduate Executive Branch remains committed to building an inclusive community that empowers Carolina’s diverse student body—unconditionally. Student Body President Lamar Richards’s recent selection as a Presidential Fellow is a testament to this commitment.

About the Undergraduate Executive Branch of Student Government at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The UNC Student Government Executive Branch is one of the three branches of UNC Undergraduate Student Government. The Branch seeks to advocate for the Carolina student body, serving as the voice of the student body in connecting with administrators, community partners, and any other relevant stakeholders at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and across the state.

The Richards Administration is committed to ensuring effective governance that is student-centered, student-focused, and student-driven. We understand the critical importance of accountability and stewardship, be it for our very own student leaders, our administration, or our external stakeholders. We are dedicated to expanding resources and basic needs for all of our students, especially those of marginalized communities in our wider Carolina fabric. It is in centering on these efforts that we are able to ensure institutional advancement, in hopes of moving towards a more perfect Carolina – for all Carolina students.

###

For Further Information Contact:

Kartik Tyagi

usgcommunications@unc.edu

executivebranch.unc.edu

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks at SOLR – August 21, 2021

August 30, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

Student Organizations Leadership Retreat (SOLR), The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

August 21, 2021


Transcript

Good Morning Everyone!

I recognize that I am likely not the first voice many of you would like to hear on a Saturday morning, but hopefully my message will enlighten us all as we engage in a meaningful and impactful retreat for student leaders across our campus. When I spoke to incoming first-year students at New Student Convocation earlier this week, I said to them words that you will hear me say throughout the year. I said “get here, go anywhere; make it here, make it anywhere.” So, being the inquisitive leaders that I’m sure all of you are, you probably wonder what I mean when I say “get here, go anywhere. Make it here, make it anywhere?” It references the inherently complex and challenging nature of the roles we have and are about to step into, to charge this University with becoming and being better each and every day. It further means that as a student here at Carolina we each underwent the grilling admissions process to prove our academic aptitude and to demonstrate our ability to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers. Yet, this phrase also attests to the fact that while at Carolina we will encounter instances where we do not always have the ‘answer’ or the ‘solution.’ My first tidbit of advice this morning is to not characterize these moments as points of ‘failure’ but rather call them what they are – integral parts of your story, parts of who you are and who you aim to be. 

So, I encourage you to think: where is your anywhere? I know we’re often asked as college students “where do you see yourself in X amount of years” or “what’s your plans after graduation?” — but my question to you is different, today I’m asking you to explore your ‘anywhere’, to find the place where the bounds of creativity and service collides with your life-long experiences, the place you aspire for your leadership to take you. 

Now, think about how you can reach this destination and what pathways you might take? Is it a straight path? Curved? Finally, think about what roadblocks you might encounter on this path? What issues might arise? Maybe you don’t get a high enough score on the LSAT the first go-round, maybe you take an unexpected gap year? Who knows, maybe there will be a global pandemic in the middle of your college career? I ask you to think about these things today because more than likely many of your responses included someone along the way helping you, assisting you, mentoring you, or even just listening to you and your ideas. This is important because my next tidbit of advice is something that took me a while to learn (and Bobby, our advisor, would argue I am still learning) and that is: leadership is not about you, it is about the community. The communities we foster through our service, our academic scholarship, and our selflessness. So, I ask you again where is YOUR anywhere? The answer to this question is that your anywhere is everywhere and everywhere is your anywhere, because effective leadership opens doors that cannot otherwise be opened. So as leaders this year of various organizations across campus, I encourage you to ask your core teams, your members, and whoever else will listen: “where is your anywhere? And most importantly, how can I help you reach this place?”

Taking this into account, so far I have given you two pieces of advice:

  1. Points of failure are just as important to your story as those of success, they should be chronicled as such.
  2. Leadership is not about you, it is about community

These are important because one of the most common questions I get as student body president is: “how did you do it?” As if I woke up one morning and just became student body president. My journey, very similar to others before me, includes just as many failures as they do successes, just as many nights crying feeling alone as they do celebrations and galas. But some of my most embarrassing moments of leadership failure could have been avoided if someone would have said “Lamar, you can’t seek larger fish with the same size pan.” You’re probably asking yourself again, what does that mean? See, 

About some odd hundred years ago, an old fisherman was out at sea. He had been fishing for years and regularly went fishing to provide for his wife and children. That being said, this day was not unlike any other, except for one small exception: there was a child sitting on the docks watching the fisherman at work. 

The fisherman was good at fishing, he could catch as many fish as the sea could hold. But the young boy quickly realized something odd about the fisherman’s tactics: every time the fisherman would catch a larger fish, he would throw it back to sea and every time he would catch a smaller fish, he would throw it in his cooler. 

“What was it about the larger fish that makes this fisherman want to throw them back?” – the young boy wondered. Once the fisherman came back to the docks, the young boy politely approached him and asked, “excuse me, mister! Can I impose a question upon you? I sat for a while and watched you fish, what a fantastic fisherman you are! But, do you mind telling me what made you throw the bigger fish back to sea?” 

The old fisherman laughed and said, “Young man, I wish I could keep those big fish more than anything else in the world. They have more protein, feed more mouths, cook better, and last longer; but, I have only a small cooking pan at home that will only allow me to cook the smaller fish.” In awe, the young man nodded and headed off to think about what he had just heard…

I often think about this old adage that I heard as a child because it holds so much wisdom and it relates so much to the model of leadership that I aspire to keep close to my heart. There will be so many wonderful opportunities for you, your organizations, and your core teams as you continue to program, plan, and advocate. Some of these opportunities will come in the form of professional opportunities, grants and funding, or opening your organization to an even broader base — and this is all wonderful, trust me. But, in order to succeed at this you must have the tools or, in this case, you must have the right size pan. You have to be committed to being a life-long learner, finding the best ways to communicate with your organization, as each person on your team evolves into someone new, so will the need for your leadership approach. You must be willing to go to the drawing board, work out a plan, make over a dozen revisions to that plan, and then be willing to throw that whole plan out the window because things rarely ever go as planned. Your goal isn’t to search for bigger fish, its to always have a big enough pan for the fish that are sure to come. 

Life can be hard, and as I am sure many of you have already found out: college is no exception. Every day brings with it a new challenge to be addressed, without fail. And, as leaders, we must meet the challenge every single time. Not because it sounds good or looks good on your resume, even though it does, but because if not us, then who? There are hundreds of theories to what is required for effective leadership, by hundreds of different scholars and PhDs (some even right here at Carolina), but I have found that the most impressive research in this have all concluded one thing: leadership is a circle, not a pyramid, not a square or anything else. Its a circle, where everyone, from the person in charge down to the smallest titles, play an equitable role in decisions being made and every person’s thoughts and perspectives are included in the ongoing dialogue of the organization. Its hard to implement this and maintain it because its rarely ever done, but the first step you can take as a leader is listening to understand instead of listening to respond. Always be that open ear for anyone in your organization (or even external) to come to you and share their feelings.

As I leave you, I ask you the very question that I started with: where is your anywhere? How will this dynamic community, of over 800 organizations, 30,000 students, and billion-dollar-enterprise, factor into your leadership? Go forward, today and everyday, and be bold. Be courageous. Be you. Nothing or no one can hinder who you are or who you aspire to be as a leader. And when times get rough or you’re burning the midnight oil, remember you made it here. And, you make it here, you make it anywhere. 

Thank you!

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks at New Student Convocation – August 16, 2021

August 17, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

New Student Convocation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

August 16, 2021


Transcript

Good evening, everyone. Today, as each of you sits in your seat and begins to position yourself within the Carolina Community, your mind may be filled with thoughts, questions, and most of all, expectations. Each day, as individuals, we grapple with expectations- those others set for us, those we set for ourselves, and those we set for the people and spaces around us. Standing before everyone this morning, I know that you hold different expectations of who I am as a person, student, and leader- and of what I am here to share with you all today. 

For some, you may be gripping the arms of your seat in anticipation of inspirational words- words that will uplift you, igniting a fire in your bellies as eager first-year and second-year students as you embark on a new chapter- exploring the physical spaces of Carolina for the first time. Others may expect me to set a different kind of blaze to the University today, one sustained by examining an exhaustive list of our University’s critical issues and necessity for a future facing, student-centered and student-driven Carolina.  

While I cannot guarantee I will share what each of you expects today, I will tell you this — Carolina is a complicated place. This complication comes naturally at a University the size of Carolina with its immense, global footprint- issues arising are simply unavoidable. Nevertheless, here, as the country’s oldest public University, we inherit an obligation to face the most pressing global issues head-on. We are charged with this responsibility, and each day we strive to create, innovate, and problem-solve to uncomplicate the things that make Carolina complicated. 

Similarly, as students exploring various fields at Carolina, we are charged with unique challenges. Each day you will strive for excellence- in the classroom, in your extracurriculars, in public service- gaining valuable experience, which will set you on the course for working or pursuing additional education upon the end of your undergraduate experience. However, your experience as a Carolina student is much more than just your academic commitments or extracurriculars or your public service — Carolina is you. Part of your responsibility, immersing yourself in this robust and diverse campus, is to challenge us- your peers, your TAs, your professors, to do and be better each day.  Never be afraid to use your voice and share your perspective- your voice matters. 

As you visualize and craft your expectations for the year ahead and your time at Carolina, remember: there is no perfect picture of success. There is only you and your best. So every day that you wake up, a Carolina student does not challenge yourself to out-do and outmaneuver your peers or strive to meet someone else’s expectations of you – give your best every day. Remember, there will be days when your best looks different or less than it did the day before, and no matter how significant the difference, be proud of your efforts. 

As you acclimate to Carolina, I offer you the words of French Philosopher Michael D. Montaigne, who said, ​​”He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.” It is easy to categorize individual events as “success” and “failure,” but I challenge each of you to look beyond those labels- your job as a student is not to prevent failure, to look at rejection as an endpoint, but rather your task each day is to give your best at each thing you do. Moments will come when you will not achieve the outcome you desire. In these moments, holding faith in yourself to trust in your process is crucial to achieving the success you envision for yourself in the future.

We have established that Carolina is a complicated community, but most importantly, Carolina is your home– and you should never change who you are in an attempt to fit in here. Today and all around you on campus is a vibrant community of students, as excited as exuberant as each of you, and among these people, like a home, you will find places and spaces you feel most comfortable. Lean into these people and allow them to support you and celebrate you as your authentic self. On a campus with 900 student groups amid the buzz of 30,000 students – it is easy to get swept away in the enormity of it all, but the more connections you attempt to build, the more faces become familiar, the easier it will be to find your place, and you will thrive.  

In the months ahead, you will face a significant adjustment. Some of you will have a go at using a laundry machine for the first time, learn how to use the bus system, and many of you will expand and modify the ways that you learn and study. Nevertheless, no matter the difficulty you face in the coming weeks, remember, you have already completed the most challenging part — you made it here. You soared through the grilling and extensive admissions process and proved your academic aptitude, commitment to lifelong service, and showed off your large aspirations to change the world. You made it here; you can make it anywhere. 

As your student body president, I want each of you to remember that you will always have a friend in me. No matter the issue, I will be a relentless, fearless advocate for you every day. Never be afraid to reach out to me if there is anything you need at any point along the coming year. I hope they start your academic year is everything you need and deserve it to be. Welcome to Carolina and Go Heels! 

Joint DTH Op-Ed from Student Body President Richards: Returning to Campus Safely Requires Mandatory Vaccination – August 13, 2021

August 13, 2021

Office of the Student Body President and Undergraduate President

Suite 3109 Frank Porter Graham Student Union

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Joint DTH Op-Ed from Student Body President Richards to the Carolina Community

Returning to Campus Safely Requires Mandatory Vaccination

August 13, 2021

Dear members of the Carolina community:

Last Wednesday, Aug. 4, the Faculty Executive Committee met and supported a resolution asking the UNC System to delegate authority to our Chancellor and Provost to make decisions for the well-being of our campus, including mandating vaccinations for all. Public health experts on our campus and well beyond are in favor of mandating vaccinations on university campuses. Immediately after the FEC meeting, the UNC System required that everyone on any UNC System campus get vaccinated or begin weekly testing for COVID-19. This includes faculty and staff, who have a deadline of Sept. 15 to submit their vaccine attestation to be exempt from weekly testing at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Perhaps they thought this announcement would put to rest concerns on our campus or make them appear responsive to our resolution. It does not.

Although the new “test or vaccinate” mandate is better than nothing, given the extraordinarily contagious nature of the delta variant, it is wholly insufficient. Vaccination mandates for everyone, implemented at public universities such as the Universities of Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota among others, would provide the fastest route to a safe and “normal” fall semester. Yet, because the UNC System has prevented us from acting earlier, either policy now needs time to work.

Accordingly, our campus needs authority for mitigation measures such as remote learning for three or four weeks to get the campus to a 95% vaccination rate. Yet I am told there is “no appetite for remote learning at the system level.” Why? A few weeks of remote instruction would allow our campus to get more people vaccinated and get that information into the attestation system so that we know exactly what the vaccination rate is on our campus.

We realize that the virus is not going to go away. We are moving from a pandemic to an endemic state. But the delta variant is not benign. Hospitals, including our local hospitals, are filling with unvaccinated 20-, 30- and 40-year-old people, and the rise in pediatric cases requiring hospitalization is alarming. In contrast with the seasonal flu, something we consider endemic, children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated for COVID-19. Infants can get a flu vaccine starting at six months of age. If children are not eligible for vaccination, we cannot think of COVID-19 as something we simply live with.

Vaccination, masking, gathering limits and periods of remote learning are the tools we need to keep our campus and our families safe. The UNC System should be doing everything in its power to allow us to do that. For President Hans and the Board of Governors to put us in this position again, after what we went through as a campus last fall, is unconscionable. What interest could it possibly serve?

Everyone on this campus is working hard to handle what will come our way. But we are operating with hands tied behind our back if we cannot freely use all the tools at our disposal. If the UNC System really wants a successful fall semester, then provide this campus with delegated authority to make our own public health decisions. The clock is ticking, and we are waiting.

Mimi Chapman, MSW, PhD

Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor for Human Service Policy Information

Associate Dean for Doctoral Education

School of Social Work

Chair of the Faculty

Katie Musgrove

Business Officer

Clinical Programs

School of Law

Chair of the Employee Forum

Lamar Gregory Richards

Public Policy and Human Leadership Development, Class of 2023

Vice Chair, UNC System Council of Student Body Presidents

President of the Student Body, UNC Chapel Hill

Neel Swamy

PharmD/MPH Candidate, Class of 2023

President, Graduate and Professional Student Government

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks at First-Year and Transfer Orientations – Summer 2021

August 13, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

First-Year and Transfer Orientations, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Summer 2021


Transcript

Good afternoon everyone.  My name is Lamar Richards, and it is an honor to serve Carolina as its Student Body President for the coming year. 

Today, I would like to formally welcome you all to Carolina.  You may know Carolina as the nation’s oldest public universitythe flagship institution of the UNC systembut today, I would like you to think of it as one other place: Home.  By taking part in Orientation, you are beginning to familiarize yourself with your new home. Today, you are taking your first steps in an adjustment process, understanding what it means to be a Carolina student—what it means to be a Tar Heel—learning about the opportunities: both academic and beyond that are available to you. 

In the process of making Carolina home, you will become a part of a larger community—the Carolina community. As students, we all are a part of this community, but it is important to recognize that although we have a shared experience at this University, we do not, should not, and will not have the same experience. To illustrate this, I am motivated by the words of former President Jimmy Carter, who stated, “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.  Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, and different dreams.”  When I think about our Carolina community, I am inspired because I know the student experience is not universal; we are not a melting pot assimilating to one point.  

Instead, we are a Mosaic, a campus community with different experiences, desires, and skills, and from that we can work to build something greater, not only for ourselves but beyond the individual.

No matter the path you took to get here, you have achieved, endured, and overcome obstacles. Now you have the opportunity to dive into your intellectual interests and passions, but also, to look inward at yourself and use your experiences and identity to engage, making an impact both within and beyond this University.          

When thinking about my own identity and who I am, I can clearly see how it helped to shape my experience as a Carolina student.  When I first stepped foot onto campus as an out-of-state, gay, Black student,I felt overwhelmed; it was so very easy to get lost in everything that was occurring around me, at times not feeling welcomed, immersed, or embraced.  These moments were challenging, but led me to reflect on my own identity and values that have propelled me forward and have helped me find my place within the Carolina community.  

You see, I grew up in Winnsboro, South Carolina, a small southern town, raised to value community, connection, togetherness, and respect—something larger than any one of us.

And so in those moments, first experiencing campus as an incoming student, I knew it would not be enough for me to advocate for myselfthere was, in fact, a pursuit for something greater. My values and desire led me to divulge in service and engage with others.  One of these avenues of engagement became Student Governance, first as a part of the Undergraduate Senate, later on the Campus and Community Advisory Council, chairing the Commission on Campus Equality and Student Equity, to now, serving as Carolina’s Student Body President and as the sole student member of the University’s Board of Trustees. 

It is my hope that through empowering, uplifting, and serving ALL Carolina students, we are ensuring a Carolina that works for all—not some. Through the Executive Branch’s work we are committed to ensuring effective governance that is student-centered, student-focused, and student-driven. I have said many times that “students should not have to change who they are to fit into Carolina’s fabric. Carolina ought to be worthy of fitting into your story—it ought to be who you need it to be.” And so if you are passionate about joining us in this journeyto move towards a more perfect Carolina—for all Carolina students, I hope you will make your way to the Executive Branch, learn more about the work we do, and become involved.     

But as you continue with Orientation and immersing yourself in the fabric that is Carolina, I challenge you all to honor your aspirations andno matter how hard it might beconnect with others. The heart of our community is each other—having one another to turn to. Your peers will be an asset to youyou will all face challenges, but with the support of one another you will succeed and come out of this experience stronger.  

Let connection empower you and bolster you on your journey in this next chapter.  

Outside of the classroom, explore, learn, challenge yourself. There will be ample organizations, clubs, and teams to joinevents, opportunities, and athletic events to attend. As you seek out these spaces, I encourage you to think about your own identityyour own valuesand ask, what is important to you and what can you do to make an impact and move towards your aspirations?  For all of you the answer to these questions will look different, but let your answers serve as your roadmap in finding new spaces on campus and leaving your Heelprint here in Chapel Hill. 

No matter where your Carolina journey takes you, know that your Student Body President has your back. Your Student Body President is always free to connect with you—to hear you—to chat with you—and to get to know you. I hope you will feel encouraged and supported as you learn about the community here and what it means to be a student here.  Like you all, Carolina can and should evolve. I am so very proud to be a student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Not because of what we are or what we have been, but because of what and who we aspire to be. It is that aspiration—towards a new tomorrow—that will come from each and everyone of you.

It was great to be with you all today for these few minutes.  I look forward to meeting many of you in August.  Welcome to Carolina!

Joint Message from Student Body President Richards & Chancellor Guskiewicz to the Carolina Community: Get Vaccinated – July 28, 2021

August 1, 2021

Office of the Student Body President and Undergraduate President

Suite 3109 Frank Porter Graham Student Union

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Joint Message from Student Body President Richards & Chancellor Guskiewicz to the Carolina Community

Get Vaccinated

July 28, 2021

Dear Carolina Community,

As we approach the fall semester, Student Body President Lamar Richards and I wanted to encourage all of you to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you have not done so already. Please watch our video message.

Getting vaccinated will help protect you and those around you, and it will contribute to stopping the virus from spreading in our community. It will enable us to have the safe on-campus experience we love here at Carolina. We have more information on the vaccines on Carolina Together.

Students, once you’ve been vaccinated, complete the Vaccination Certification form in ConnectCarolina to be released from the asymptomatic COVID-19 testing requirement. Faculty and staff can complete this form to help us plan the appropriate safety measures.

Sincerely,

Kevin Guskiewicz
Chancellor

Lamar Richards
Student Body President

Student Body President Richards’s Remarks to the UNC Board of Trustees – July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

Executive Remarks, Student Body President Lamar Richards

Board of Trustees Meeting, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thursday, July 15, 2021


Transcript

Thank you, Chair Boliek. You know — recently, I’ve found myself reflecting quite a bit. And when I think about all that has happened in the short time since the beginning of my tenure as Student Body President — I think of those I was charged to represent — I think of our underrepresented and marginalized communities — I think of our Black, Asian-American, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ communities — but I also think of the future of the University we all know and love.

I think further about the example that we set for those that come after us. I think about the example that this Board sets. The example that we must set — not only for the UNC System — not only for the State of North Carolina — but for the spirit of higher education — for the spirit of an authentic public education — of, by, and for the people.

In reflecting on all that has happened in the past few weeks, we saw students, faculty, and staff come together — stand together — rally together in securing academic freedom — in securing the freeflow of academic perspective and scholarly thought. We must continue to stand with an even stronger resolve when it comes to the intentional work that remains ahead. The work of ensuring the academic integrity of our community moving forward — understanding that the example we set is defined by our willingness to secure a Carolina that ensures equity.

I often think about the fact that this institution — our institution — the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — was not built for people that look like me — rather, it was built by people that look like me, my family, and peers.

It is clear — now more than ever before — that as a community, we must continuously hold leadership across our state accountable. We can not and must not accept political partisanship, maneuvering, or interference at our home — in our house. External influence must have no place and no say in our sacred framework of shared governance, nor in our mission of securing scholarship, excellence, and innovation at Carolina — our nation’s oldest public university. 

As I learned from my late grandmother: perspective matters. Words matter. But our actions matter more. Doing what is right, however, matters most. We cannot operate nor govern with the guise of “compromise” serving as the solution to the inequities at the core of our institution — or as an excuse for inefficient, meaningless reform. Doing what is right often is not easy — it does not always come with reward — it may actually come with a burden attached — a burden, however, that we must commit to carrying forward.

A central component of our University’s mission is to “foster the success and prosperity of each rising generation.” I say to this Board today that there can be no promise of prosperity — there can be no unrelenting support for my generation or those that follow — without the acknowledgement of the foundation of this university and its past, and a commitment — firm and unyielding — to ensuring a space where all Tar Heels — present and future alike — students, faculty, and staff alike — feel safe and welcome.

It is this commitment that is necessary and required. We must strive not to create a University that students change who they are to fit within, but a Carolina that is worthy of the opportunity in itself to empower its students to be who they aspire to be.

With the start of the new academic year quickly approaching — with thousands of my peers preparing to return to Chapel Hill in a few short weeks — my team and I have been rigorously designing, executing, and implementing initiatives bolstered by our foundational pillars — those of collective belonging, effective governance, public good, expanding resources, and institutional advancement. 

Each and every day, we commit to grappling with our University’s colorful past — centering racial equity and belonging efforts — to uplifting and empowering marginalized campus communities — to developing and supporting the next generation of student leaders. 

We commit to continuously advocating for graduate and professional students here at Carolina. I will say again — as I have said in the past — that it is beyond time for our graduate and professional students to receive their deserved representation within our University community. It is time for our University to invest in raising graduate and professional stipends to livable wages and offering equitable academic and financial support. 

As we look towards the future — our future — we must reflect, however, on the past year. Students have had to change the way we learn — the way we live, adapt, and overcome. In a year where so many community members learned to put the collective good — the safety and wellbeing of others — above our individual needs — this year, I ask our University and this Board to strive to cultivate a Carolina with this in mind — a Carolina that is student-centered. Student-focused. Student-driven.

As Student Body President, I am truly proud of my team’s work and dedication thus far. I’m proud of the vision we have begun to construct of a more equitable Carolina — a more accountable Carolina — one that is truly capable of and is worthy of serving our students, faculty, staff, and community. Upon reflecting on the past few weeks and months, however, I recognize that both my amazing team and I have only just begun the work we aim to do—we have only just begun. I ask that you all — as I approach you all with student initiatives moving forward — support me in reaching out and connecting with students on campus in addressing our campus climate — together — united.

Thank you.

Message from Student Body President Lamar Richards in Response to the June 30, 2021 Board of Trustees Meeting – July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

Office of the Student Body President and Undergraduate President

Suite 3109 Frank Porter Graham Student Union

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Message from Student Body President Lamar Richards in Response to the June 30, 2021 Board of Trustees Meeting

July 1, 2021

 

Dear Carolina Community, 

While raising me — a Black boy in the deep South — my grandmother would often tell me that “no power, no amount of money, fame, or recognition can serve as a substitute for doing what is right.” She would say this resolutely — as boldly and as powerfully as her 5’ 6” self would allow her to. I never realized that the reason she emphasized this so much was because she recognized the burden that is placed upon someone who relentlessly aspired to do and pursue the right thing — every chance they got — no matter the outcome. She was, in fact, well aware of the burden of good leadership and lifelong service.  

Today, I pen this message with a mixture of feelings; however, one is louder than the rest – burdened. Yesterday, on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, as a result of a petitioning process that began last week, the Board of Trustees met at a Special Meeting, in accordance with board policy. In that meeting, a deep miscarriage of justice was corrected and Professor Nikole Hannah-Jones was granted the designation of tenured professor, a distinction that her hard work, life experiences, and scholarship has earned her. While I celebrate this honor alongside her closest friends, family, and colleagues, I am discouraged by the arduous process it took to get to this point.

The idea — the fact, rather — that students, faculty, staff, and alumni would have to come forward on behalf of a Black woman for simply pursuing recognition (via tenure) of her lifelong work makes clear to me one thing — racism is alive and kicking. The idea or notion that this was simply about freedom of speech or academic freedom is false; this, my friends, is about the freedom to be Black in America.  

As I joined the Board of Trustees meeting virtually yesterday, while transitioning to closed session, those joining via Zoom could not hear nor see what was happening in the meeting space; the stream was muted and turned off while the space was cleared. I was informed that Black organizers, who are also students and my peers, were physically assaulted by officers of the UNC Police Department. As I went to social media, I saw footage, photographs, and first-hand accounts that made my heart sink, reinforcing my belief that our University is not prepared to “walk the walk” on behalf of students – especially not Black students and students from underrepresented communities.  

This incident cannot go unaddressed, as others have in the past. These demonstrators joined the meeting yesterday not only in protest of the handling of Professor Hannah-Jones’ tenure case, but in protest of years of mistreatment, disrespect, and exploitation of Black students at UNC. Their outrage was justified and the way that they were treated in response was vile. What the demonstrators perceived to be a lack of transparency highlights a larger issue of how submissions of tenure are handled at Carolina — a problematic and oppressive structure allowing for very little, if any, public discussion and input — often resulting in few academics of color being promoted to tenured professors. 

In the days ahead, I am meeting with faculty, student, and staff leaders of color from across campus to strategize and gather comprehensive insights on ways to support the entire Black community here at Carolina. Both the Chancellor and University administration are aware of this ongoing work and will have the chance for their words to match their actions by doing what is right and supporting the requests coming from these collective meetings.  

And while I cannot speak to whether Professor Hannah-Jones will decide to join our Carolina community, I certainly hope that all of the academic units, university centers, alumni, donors, and allies that joined in this fight for her tenure will continue to support the ongoing efforts coming out of our work — because unless we change the system and rid it of oppression, this will happen again.  

The days of me being able to call upon my grandmother for wisdom and insight have sadly passed, but her courage and strength remains in my heart. The courage that propelled her to walk to work for over 20 years — to hold multiple jobs at a time — is the kind of courage and strength, on behalf of justice, that is virtually absent in the ranks of leadership at this University: our University.  

I can only hope that in the days ahead, our University administration’s “internal compass” will centralize the realization that it is only this form of courage that will make things better for students, faculty, and staff that have struggled so very much for only an ounce, if that, of respect and dignity.  

Sending my best,

Lamar Richards

Student Body President

Trustee, UNC-CH Board of Trustees

Student Body President Lamar Richards’s NC Policy Watch Op-Ed: “Brace for Reckoning” – June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

Student Body President Lamar Richards’s NC Policy Watch Op-Ed: “Brace for Reckoning”

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Dear Carolina Community,

When I arrived at the meeting venue on the morning of my swearing-in as a member of the UNC Board of Trustees, I pulled up to the valet and proceeded to exit my car – at which point, the valet stopped me and said, “Sir, this valet is for members and patrons only. Protestors are standing over there.”

Yes, I was in a full suit and tie. Yes, I had been elected Student Body President of our university earlier this year. And, yes, I was just moments away from being sworn in as a university trustee. The valet, however, still asked for my ID before walking inside to confirm that I was, in fact, who I said I was. I got out of my car, grabbed my briefcase, and headed inside.

But before I walked off, I stood and watched through the glass doors as other cars pulled in. One by one, as the valet opened car doors, individuals got out, nodded their heads, and headed into the building without a single word spoken. As I walked into the boardroom, it hit me: I was entering this space as one of the only people of color to serve as a trustee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ever since Black students were first allowed admission to our university, UNC has continually found itself entrenched in one scandalous situation after another. The Nikole Hannah-Jones controversy is just the most recent and glaring example of our university choosing to prioritize the demands of money and power, rather than its students, faculty, and staff.

Whether Nikole Hannah-Jones should be awarded tenure is a matter that the Board of Trustees should and must discuss, but I write to you today knowing that the longer this matter remains unresolved, the more difficult it becomes for this university to move forward.

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe this event will spur the reckoning our university has needed for far too long. Why should we move forward under the guise of  mere “reform?”

You cannot reform a system rooted in oppression, racism, and hatred. Tragically, the term “reform” at this university continues to be used as a subtle tactic to oppress students, faculty, and staff—past, present, and future alike.

UNC has continually fallen short of meeting the challenge of serving each and every one of its students. Students of color must speak twice as loud just to be heard at the same volume; graduate students, especially those of color, are treated as modern-day servants, barely paid minimum wage; our staff and faculty of color are overworked and underpaid, treated like property.

The university often tries to paint a pretty picture of “evolution”— a dynamic, forward-facing strategic plan one day, a new Chief Diversity Officer the next, and maybe the changing of a few building names the day after.

Let me be very clear: these actions do not and will not ultimately make a difference if racial oppression continues to flow through our university. To pursue or hope for “reform” from this university is akin to requesting a bandage for a racial wound that is far too deep.

The sincerest thing I can share with each of you is that Carolina is not prepared. Carolina is not prepared for the “reckoning” of which it continues to speak and it is certainly not prepared to face the reality of having to undo the entire system upon which it was built—and rebuild.

Until this rebirth occurs, Carolina is not deserving of your talents, aspirations, or successes. If you are a student, staff member, or academic from a historically marginalized identity exploring UNC, I invite you to look elsewhere. If you are considering graduate school, law school, medical school, or other professional programs at UNC, I challenge you to seek other options. While Carolina desperately needs your representation and cultural contributions, it will only bring you here to tokenize and exploit you. And to those that will attempt to misconstrue these words—my words—understand this: I love Carolina, yes, but I love my people and my community more.

And so in the days ahead, I invite and encourage you to pay close attention not only to who speaks—but who fails to speak. Pay close attention to how many times our university responds with an acknowledgment of uncertain and unparalleled times, asking how students “feel” and what it can “do” for students, before making decision and taking stances that are in direct opposition to student views, suggestions, and interests.

Most importantly, examine how Carolina shifts blame to other entities; then, analyze closely what decisions are made or are not made by our university and question why. The soul of our university is at stake—and Carolina is not prepared.

I urge you all: protect yourself. Protect your peace. Protect your wellness—and brace for reckoning.

Yours for Carolina—today, tomorrow, and always,

Lamar Gregory Richards
Student Body President
Trustee, UNC-CH Board of Trustees