December 11, 2018
To the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees and UNC Board of Governors:
As educators, we are committed to creating a world where all young people are safe, supported, and given the resources that they need to achieve their fullest potential. Living in a state that has cut funding for K-12 and Higher Education budgets so dramatically makes that task more difficult every year. Our students, and the professionals who educate them, deserve the resources that they need to be successful.
They also deserve to learn and work in an environment that is free from racial violence and discrimination. Your recent decision to spend millions of dollars to preserve and protect a monument to the history of white supremacy does the opposite. Each dollar you spend on this unnecessary act of preservation (there are certainly museums that already exist that would agree to house this statue), is a dollar that could pay for more instructors, more books, more support personnel, more financial aid, lower tuition, more cultural resources, or any other investment in student learning. The only lesson students can learn from your choice is that the University is more committed to the preservation of a white supremacist legacy than it is to their feeling of home/safety, and their education.
We send this letter in support of the actions that students, graduate student workers, alumni, and faculty and staff have taken in order to build a more just campus and a more just North Carolina. Their collective efforts are an example of the courage required to build a more just society. Racism has no place in our educational institutions, and there is much work to be done to find, and root out, all of the ways that it shows up and limits our collective mission and growth. That work is difficult. The work here is easy: spend the $5+ million in other ways. Your students deserve better. Your faculty and staff deserve better. North Carolina deserves better.
The Durham Association of Educators proudly stands with our educator colleagues taking action. We oppose this egregious and insulting use of taxpayer dollars, and we will keep working until all of our students can learn and grow in well-resourced environments that undermine, rather than sustain, the history of white supremacy in our great state.
We can be reached at 919-210-9256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, Durham Association of Educators