In early 2015, UNC-Chapel Hill released an extensive report about the business startups and spinoffs that faculty, students, and alumni have created. This report quantifies the impact of these businesses: 150+ businesses, 8,000 jobs created, and $7 billion in annual revenue for the state of North Carolina.
But what this report doesn’t detail is the direct impact of these startups and spinoffs on our local economy here in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County. There’s a pretty simple reason for that: Few startups coming out of UNC stay in our community. So why can’t Chapel Hill foster a local startup scene when other college towns, like Boulder and Cambridge, have gotten national attention for the startup economies they’ve developed in their own communities?
Until Yusor Abu-Salha, her husband Deah Barakat and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, three young people who practice the Muslim faith, were shot to death on February 10, 2015 in Chapel Hill, many of us likely had not thought much about Islamophobia or that our community, one of the most liberal in the state, might harbor such sentiments. But we are not immune, as a search for the hashtag #NotsafeUNC will bare out. For example, at the time of these murders, I was teaching a course at UNC that happened to have two Muslim students enrolled. They were both close friends of the young people who were murdered. As my TAs and I worked to accommodate our students’ need to grieve and deal with the fear brought on by these hate killings, we heard that not all Muslim students at UNC were met with compassion.
This past Friday, April 24th, marked the last day of classes at UNC-Chapel Hill for 2014-2015, and while many students fulfilled the campus tradition of relaxing on the quad, others chose to reclaim and “occupy” the space as a hub for an open dialogue about the university’s racial tensions over the past year.
The event was organized by The Real Silent Sam, which is a coalition of student, faculty, and community activists working to contextualize the university’s physical landscape and institutional history.
Most notably, the coalition’s efforts to rename Saunders Hall in favor of Hurston Hall have caused a buzz of controversy throughout the community, making local, state, and national headlines.
Saunders Hall is named after William Saunders, a UNC trustee, confederate colonel in the Civil War and a chief organizer for the Ku Klux Klan.
The Jackson Center’s Executive Director, Della Pollock said it better than I could in a recent letter to Northside neighbors and friends:
Kirk Ross posted some of his thoughts about the recent UNC system center closings. Here are some of his observations:
Although passed by consensus vote, during discussions Tuesday there was a split over the at least some recommendations including one tense exchange over the decision not to close Chapel Hill’s Center for Civil Rights, which is based at the law school.
BOG member Steven Long and Center for Civil Rights director Ted Shaw
BOG member Steven Long said the center was engaging in political activities and said the center’s engagement in school segregation cases in several North Carolina counties was wrong and damaging to the county budgets. Long said he did not think it was right for a part of the university to be engaged in legal actions against the state or local governments.
Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal