Dear Carolina Community,
By now, I am sure you have seen that the UNC System Board of Governors turned back the plan presented by the Board of Trustees and me for the disposition of the Confederate Monument.
They have tasked five members of the BOG to work with our Trustees and University leaders to provide a revised plan. We are grateful for the opportunity and believe it was the correct decision. Even though the plan did meet the charge, there is more work to be done, and as BOG Chair Harry Smith said, “We need to get this right.” We will take direction from the BOG about the best ways to collaborate with them on the process to prepare a revised plan by the March 15 deadline.
We also want to involve members of the campus community in a broader set of conversations. In the new year, we will:
- Work closely with the Faculty Council (per Resolution 2018-10) and the committee it is forming to include the diverse expertise of the faculty on matters related to the history and impacts of the statue as additional options for the disposition of the monument and related actions are developed.
- Meet with students and student groups to hear directly about their top issues and work together to identify strategies for moving forward in the coming year.
- Determine how to enhance and support the efforts of thousands across campus, in all schools and units, who work actively to improve campus climate and culture. This process will help the University reckon with our history, reconcile with our present and move forward to be the University we all aspire to be.
I know how difficult these past few months have been and am sorry that this semester has been so trying and painful for many as we struggle to deal properly with Silent Sam. But as I looked out at our graduates at Winter Commencement yesterday, it reminded me how important our mission is and how many lives are changed by the work that takes place here. I told them that even through difficult times, I see a community that never stops trying to understand and learn from each other, a community determined to create lasting and positive change, and a community doing its utmost to support one another.
With warm regards and in gratitude and respect,
Carol L. Folt