University News

Trustees hear from Chancellor’s Science Scholars, give update on Confederate Monument

The November Board of Trustees meeting provided an update on the future of the Confederate Monument and featured a presentation from the Chancellor's Science Scholars.

Students present at the Board of Trustees meeting.
UNC Board of Trustees full board meeting held November 15, 2018 at The Carolina Inn. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Keyaira Crudup, a Chancellor’s Science Scholar from McLeansville, said she faced her moment of truth in her first year at Carolina, preparing for a physics final. To get accepted into the biomedical engineering program, she said she needed at least an 89 on the exam to maintain the required C in physics. And she had to major in biomedical engineering so she could learn about prosthetics technology to help those with physical limitations — a dream inspired by her work with disabled children.

“I felt that it was suddenly out of my reach, and it was so emotional,” recalled Crudup, one of three Chancellor’s Science Scholars to tell their stories to the Board of Trustees at its Nov. 15 meeting. “I already had my life planned out, and I would have to change my major. I would have to change my path. So, yes, there’s tears.”

But since she was a Chancellor’s Science Scholar, a program started in 2011 to encourage diversity in STEM fields, she also had access to a strong mentorship network. After talking through the situation with her faculty mentor, who helped her devise a study strategy for the exam, Crudup regained her confidence and went on to improve her final course grade to a B-.

Thomas Freeman, the program’s executive director, told the trustees that of the 45 scholars who have graduated, more than half are pursuing an advanced degree in a STEM-related field. Many of the others are taking a gap year to work in a STEM-related job before continuing their education, he said.

Update on Confederate Monument

Earlier in the meeting, Chair Haywood D. Cochrane Jr. and Chancellor Carol L. Folt thanked the UNC System Board of Governors for giving the University more time to submit a plan for the Confederate Monument. The deadline had been Nov. 15, but has been moved to Dec. 3. Folt and Cochrane also thanked the more than 1,000 people who participated in surveys and focus groups and sent in emails about what should be done with Silent Sam.

“One of the takeaways for me was how personal this is for people. There’s a lot of emotion in the things people say. I think you have to really think about that when you ask people to give their opinions. They really decided they would, and I’m talking about very heartfelt thoughts,” Folt said. “I noticed sometimes they were coming in the middle of the night. So people were really thinking about it and bringing forth things they thought were important. I was very moved by the extent to which people took this really seriously.”

One of the most difficult issues related to the placement of the monument is “how you’re going to be safe and still open and welcoming,” Folt said. Meanwhile, plans for the contextualization of McCorkle place are proceeding. New campus tours are being developed, digital resources loaded, markers and repairs priced. “There’s a lot of work there. Some things are done, but much more will continue,” she said.

In other action, the trustees approved:

  • A facilities fee for students to help fund deferred renovations and repairs;
  • The provost’s request for exceptions to the UNC System’s 120 credit hour degree policy for 10 bachelor’s degree programs; and
  • The demolition of Phillips Annex, a small building adjacent to Phillips and Carroll Halls.