Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center directs her latest column toward addressing disturbing developments at the University of North Carolina’s flagship campus.
When the University of North Carolina leadership and the state’s legislators capitulated to the frenzied mob that toppled a statue of a Confederate Army soldier at the entrance to the UNC-Chapel Campus in 2018, they likely thought they were putting an unpleasant issue to rest.
After all, the continual protests, riots, and confrontations over Silent Sam were disruptive and bad publicity; maybe if we give the angry people what they want, they’ll calm down, the leadership seemed to be saying.
Of course, every schoolboy who has ever been bullied understood their folly: giving in means the beginning of problems, not the end. Today, the dismantling of the university as a place of truth and reason continues at a fast pace. Only now, it is being done not by an unruly mob, but by the school’s administration.
Indeed, recent moves by the UNC-Chapel Hill administration of chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz threaten the spirit of free inquiry that is the foundation of the modern Western university. The intent appears to be to make the school’s policies and procedures accord with the beliefs of the radical elements that have been rampaging across American universities and cities in recent times.
In a June 11 email signed by Guskiewicz, provost Robert Blouin, and interim chief “diversity officer” Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, the UNC leaders decried “structural racism” and commented that “painful issues surrounding race and racism continue to plague our country and our University.” They added that “we have much work to do.”
Although they fail to point to any concrete examples of how racism continues to “plague” the university, they nevertheless are eager to signal that they and UNC have the “correct” views on the present controversies.