Category Archives: Around Chapel Hill

Would You Want to Know If There’s a Nazi in the Room?

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:

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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.

https://www.thefire.org/about-us/staff/

Socioeconomic Status and its Impact on Education

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

Using the Restroom Shouldn’t be this Hard

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

Eating to Make the Earth Last: Eating Sustainably on the UNC Campus

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

My Blackness is Not a Fetish

As I bounce back from Spring Break and try to readjust to campus life and responsibility, my mind keeps wandering back to easier times- my week-long adventure in Cancun. Six of my friends and I spent five days enjoying the beaches and day parties in Mexico without a care in the world…somewhat. There’s always a wall up as a young woman in a foreign country where there is a language barrier. You hear stories about careless college kids being snatched up in their drunken states never to be seen again. But we were confident that as long as we were careful and smart, we wouldn’t join the list of those missing. And yes, all seven of us made it back to the States in one piece. I’m grateful for these results, but there is one aspect that keeps creeping up in my mind: the sexualization. Continue reading My Blackness is Not a Fetish

Spell(ings) Check

A few weeks ago, Margaret Spellings started her job as the new UNC system president. However, she was not welcomed with open arms and smiles. Instead, several college campuses planned and executed a walkout to protest Spellings. Continue reading Spell(ings) Check

The Black Muslim Experience

As part of a three event series on people of African descent, presented through a collaborative effort by the Campus Y, BSM, MSA, and OASIS, Tae Brown led a panel of Black Muslims to discuss their experiences as they relate to their identity. The three panelists were able to give insight on the life of the average Black Muslim in America, and raise interesting points concerning their view of how they fit within their community. Continue reading The Black Muslim Experience

The Relaunch of Hunger Lunch

This past Wednesday on March 2nd, Nourish UNC, a college chapter that is part of Nourish International and seeks to organize students and communities to reduce poverty around the world, relaunched Hunger Lunch, the most important event for this organization. Between 11:00 and 2:00, Vimala’s Curryblossom Café helped bring students basmati rice, chickpea curry, and naan for the cheap price of $5.50. This will continue to happen every Wednesday at the same time for the foreseeable future. After the event, Hannah Smith, the Hunger Lunch Director, agreed to answer some questions about the relaunch of Hunger Lunch and its connection to the organization. Continue reading The Relaunch of Hunger Lunch

At the Intersection of Race and Mental Health

Family gossip.  Religious predispositions.  The stigma of having a diagnosis.  There are many reasons why an individual might be timid to approach CAPS, or counseling and psychological services on the UNC campus.  The new Active Minds initiative is created in order to present an alternative solution for individuals who are having a difficulty going to CAPS alone: they’re offering company on the journey to the building. Continue reading At the Intersection of Race and Mental Health

Palestine is Here

We’ve all heard about the military occupation in Israel. We’ve seen the images of displaced families, bombings and demolished buildings. We’ve read about the violence. It is a world away, and something like would that would never happen here in the U.S., right? That’s why it’s shocking when two Israeli activists who have been to hell and back tell you, “Palestine is Here,” in the U.S.. Continue reading Palestine is Here