UNC Students Protest Following Policing, Racial Equity Controversies on Campus

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Photo of a Black protestor holding a megaphone.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) students protested Monday over recent racial equity and campus policing controversies.

Hosted by the UNC NAACP, the protest came after far-right activists led a demonstration on campus Saturday at the Unsung Founders Memorial, a monument to the enslaved laborers that built the university.

In a series of videos uploaded by a Twitter account named “UNC Anti-Racist Alerts,” two of the activists can be seen holding Confederate flags and making racially insensitive comments.

“White supremacists feel safer on this campus than Black students,” Julia Clark, vice president of the UNC Black Student Movement group, said during Monday’s protest.

The speakers also highlighted an earlier incident of police mistreating Black students during a university board of trustees meeting on June 30 that was captured on video and uploaded to Twitter.

In the video, students are seen protesting the trustees’ decision to reject tenure for journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones when acting UNC Police Chief Rahsheem Holland and other officers begin shoving them out of the room.

In response to the incident, UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said he would conduct an external review of the officers’ body-camera footage and assemble a task force to address racial equity concerns.

However, student activists believe the efforts aren’t enough and are pushing the university to dismiss Holland.

“These apologies and these statements that university officials give mean nothing to us because we have yet to see any action at all,” Clark said at the protest. “We have presented our demands to them for more than two weeks and have not seen one action step being taken.”

The university has not yet responded to the protest, but Guskiewicz did issue a statement Monday condemning the actions of the far-right demonstrators. He also said the university would erect a fence and increase police presence at the memorial.

“These words and actions threaten the sense of belonging that we are working to cultivate on our campus and do not represent our values,” he said. “I unequivocally condemn this abhorrent behavior.”