Kate Vancil and the Residential Housing Association (RHA) hosted a sexual assault awareness forum on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016. The purpose of the event was to speak in groups on the sexual assaults that happen on campus. According to AAU Climate Survey, Carolina has a reported 12.9% of people who have experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct with 50% happening in residential halls. With movies like The Hunting Ground coming out and more people getting behind the movement to reduce sexual assault, the RHA forum was just one way Carolina is putting sexual awareness at the forefront of social issues. Continue reading Aware of Sexual Assault Awareness
Last Thursday, The Black Student Movement and the Campus Y co-hosted an event offering non-official advice for what students should and should not do when interacting with the police.
The event featured a panel consisted of Ada Wilson-Suitt, who currently serves as Director of Inclusive Student Excellence at UNC and previously was a practicing attorney. The panel also featured Michael Jones and Ariel Smallwood, both second year law students at the UNC School of Law and President and Vice President of Black Law Student Association respectively.
The panelists wanted to make it clear they are not experts, but still gave excellent advice. Here are some of their tips:
1) Download the ACLU app. The app has a built in recording device that records both visual and audio. The app also has a tab titled “Know Your Rights” which details essential rights one should know. Essentially this app is very resourceful/useful and you should definitely get it!
2) Warrants are important. A warrant is absolutely necessary to search anything, your residence or your house. Courts don’t like when police officers search without warrants and anything they find without a warrant isn’t admissible in court, aka it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Take time to read over the warrant and make sure that it has your address on it, not just a general location.
3) Keep communication short and simple. Keep the conversations with law enforcement brief, direct, and only answer questions asked of you. If you are in a situation in which you are read your rights, the only words you should be saying are “I want to speak to my attorney”. You don’t have to speak but you should comply.
4) Keep calm and know your rights. If you are being pulled over and you feel it is unsafe to do so, it is in your rights to put on your hazards and call 911 to notify them that you are pulling over to a protected area. If you’re ever accused of being under the influence you can request a witness be present.
In most situations law enforcement will treat you right, but it is important to know your rights!
For the past two days at UNC, a non-campus affiliated organization called “Genocide Awareness Project” (GAP) set up posters and handed out flyers on Polk Place (the main quad) on campus. When I first saw them setting up bright, orange signs I thought it was for Holocaust awareness. I’d had friends last week standing in the Pit (UNC’s outdoor hub) reading names of Holocaust victims for 24 hours. I assumed it was work continuing for victims of genocide, particularly the Holocaust.
Continue reading Abortion in America- “Genocide Awareness Project”
Last Thursday, Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), visited UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus to discuss issues surrounding freedom of speech on college campuses. In his talk, he discussed how various college campuses are increasingly having speech codes for what is allowed to be said on campuses. In his talk, he gave examples of colleges/universities that are exhibiting relatively extreme speech codes- surprisingly, Lukianoff noted that UNC is one of the more freer universities who don’t have as many speech codes as other universities. FIRE puts universities in “speech code” rankings, that look like this:
What Lukianoff wanted to emphasize throughout his talk was the increasing obsession with monitoring what is being said (or not said) on college campuses. In the University of New Hampshire, for example, the words “elders/senior citizens”, “freshman”, “mailman”, “mothering/fathering”, “Arab”, and “American” are just some of the words that are prohibited from being said since they are triggering or bothersome to certain students. In UCLA, microaggressions there include “Where are you from or where were you born”, “America is a melting pot”, and“I believe the most qualified person should get a job.” This culture of watching what one says, according to Lukianoff, is damaging to college campuses. Rather than encouraging dialogue, it actually makes communication less likely and makes people retreat from conversation. Likewise, it makes people feel like they are walking on eggshells when they are speaking to anyone with a different opinion than their own, and therefore makes them only grow closer to people who have similar opinions rather than those with differing opinions. Banning offensive language or discouraging free speech on campus also doesn’t stop people from being, let’s say, racist or homophobic. Rather, it just keeps these thoughts in their heads and makes them conglomerate with people who think like them. Quoting Lukianoff, “If there was a Nazi in the room, I’d like to know.”
Lukianoff’s talk is one that is needed on campus. Freedom of speech on campus is what promotes the variety of events, programs, and resources available to students on a daily basis. This freedom of speech has allowed students to feel safe, welcomed, and considered when they come to UNC. When freedom of speech starts becoming “Only say what everyone else agrees with”, that is when thinking is hindered and this university begins to fail. Often times, the liberal bubble that UNC students are put in keep them thinking in ways that don’t encourage diverse or critical thinking, but actually just keep feeding them the same information that they already agree with. For a student to have a truly liberal arts education, they need to be exposed to all forms of comments, criticisms, arguments, theories, and ideas. However, there are respectful and thoughtful ways to have these types of discussions. This isn’t done by fear-mongering, insulting other opinions/people, or by presenting unfactual information. Freedom of speech, I’d like to believe, doesn’t mean slander or marginalizing another group of people since those conflict with morality. Lukianoff’s talk showed that there are ways to express different ideas and opinions in ways that are constructive rather than destructive to the campus.
On Tuesday, HYPE – which stands for Helping Youth by Providing Enrichment – had a general body meeting during which Kari Kozlowski, a sociology doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina, came to speak about socioeconomic status and how it impacts students throughout their educational careers. The meeting was very interactive in nature; rather than give a lecture, Kozlowski elected to split everyone at the meeting into groups and work on a simulation. Continue reading Socioeconomic Status and its Impact on Education
Over the past week, the Criminal Justice Awareness and Action committee put on several events for their Criminal Justice Reform Advocacy week. Many students may have seen the replica solitary confinement cell in the pit last week; that was part of CJAA’s program, which also included a one-woman show on domestic violence, an art benefit night, and several discussions on other criminal justice-related topics. Continue reading Punishment and Privatization: Debunking the Prison Industrial Complex
As protesters gather in the streets, from Ferguson to Chapel Hill, it seems increasingly evident that we are on the cusp of another Civil Rights Movement, a “Third Reconstruction” as Reverend Barber calls it. One of the greatest tools activists can use is social media. This unprecedented way to transform movements, to garner support, takes the protesting occurring on the streets and continues it on Twitter feeds across the nation. Our country’s residents are more connected than we have ever been. Yes, this has spawned a wave of “slactivism.” But it has also spawned a media revolution. Continue reading The Power of Social Media
For this event, UNC Black Liberation decided to go with the title This World Ain’t Our Home: Afro-Futurist Galaxies of Black Art and Thought. As someone who knew very little of Afrofuturism, I was interested to see exactly how the event unfolded, and I was not disappointed. Continue reading Black Liberation Teach-In Series Presents: Afrofuturism
Picking a restroom has probably never been a struggle for you. You find the male or female stall and walk right in. No trouble. But imagine a situation where the signs on the wall are not male or female. There are two signs and you don’t fit into either of them. That’s unfair. Continue reading Using the Restroom Shouldn’t be this Hard
In the Pit on March 22nd was a event called “Eating to Make the Earth Last” where various food-access, sustainability-oriented groups on campus set-up tables to talk to students about food. The idea of the event was that while many people think being environmentally conservative can mean taking shorter showers or turning off light switches, our food is also an important feature to look at as well. Additionally, there are many resources on campus to help students eat more sustainably and access local foods, but not everyone is aware of them. This event was to bring to light food in relation to climate change, and also to spotlight groups on campus focused on food-access and sustainable eating. Continue reading Eating to Make the Earth Last: Eating Sustainably on the UNC Campus