It’s a question that alumni, parents, and students across the state and country are asking today. The answer is as clear as mud: Some great things. And some not-so-great things.
First the good stuff: The University of North Carolina is one of the greatest universities in the world. We have the best faculty that we have ever had. We have an outstanding leader as our chancellor. We boast top programs and schools including: Nursing, Pharmacy, Business, History, Journalism, Sociology, Social Work, Public Health, Political Science, and English, among many others. UNC is near the top of Princeton Review’s list of best value colleges and topped the Kiplinger’s Magazine ranking for value for the past 18 years. Enrollment is up. Our student body is increasingly diverse and, in Chapel Hill, we are serious about equity and inclusion. Our sports teams continue to be champions.
So, what’s the problem?
Things are not right in Blue Heaven.
There. We said it. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, how can we be honest with anyone?
Sure, we’re still the envy of the nation—one of the very best public universities. We are still proudly the University of the People. We’re a world-class research university. We’re the key economic driver for the state. But this shining Light on the Hill is no longer leading itself. It’s being led, or should we say controlled, by a group of partisan politicians who have overtaken our institutions’ governing bodies. A group that claims to have Carolina’s best interests at heart. But do they? Their recent actions scream, “No!” while shunning the principles of transparency and shared governance that this university was built on.
How can we continue to be a beacon of academic excellence, when we are not even in charge of the decisions that take place on our own campus? Recently, there have been a series of embarrassing episodes—the bungling of Silent Sam, the forced Fall 2020 Covid debacle of opening then closing the campus, still no vaccine mandate as the Delta variant surges, and the utter disregard for faculty tenure determinations. Decisions that shape the future of Carolina should be made in Chapel Hill. Instead, they are being made covertly and controlled 28 miles away. In a place called Raleigh.
Is there anything we can do about it? We certainly think so. That’s why we’re interrupting your leisurely read of the Carolina Alumni Review today. Because we need you to help us right the ship at UNC.
Who are we?
We’re The Coalition for Carolina. A bipartisan group of concerned alumni, faculty, staff, students, and allies of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We have come together to support and defend the University of the People and its independence from partisan interference. We are rededicating ourselves to the University’s promise of Lux Libertas—light and liberty—and the principles of open inquiry, free speech, equity, and inclusion. We urge you to join us in our very important mission: To protect the State of North Carolina’s most valuable asset: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
We all love Carolina.
Join us at CoalitionForCarolina.org. If there are enough of us in this Coalition, we can make a difference. We need to do everything in our power to return autonomy to Chapel Hill and to ensure that our kids have the same experience that we did at UNC.
One more thing: We promise that the next time we use the word hell in a headline, it will be “Go to hell, Duke.”
Photo credit: Scenes from a rainy day on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on on June 26, 2018. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill) https://uncnews.unc.edu/2018/09/27/unc-chapel-hill-announces-2-million-initiative-to-help-students-and-families-affected-by-hurricane-florence/