Category Archives: individuality

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.

Black Liberation Teach-In Series Presents: Afrofuturism

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

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

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

“I Wonder…” Project

UNC’s Campus Y’s First Year Council member, Angum Check, is embarking on a project to understand perceptions of race and privilege. The “I wonder…” statement will be completed by students to ask a question about another race. Check says, “The purpose of the project is to reveal the spoken and unspoken questions we have about people of other races who live different experiences from ours.” The project focuses on honesty and truthfulness, and Check says she does not plan to censor or edit any of the information. Student’s quotes will be anonymous, but separated into “White” and “People of Color.” Continue reading “I Wonder…” Project

Taylor Swift: Not My Feminist

Taylor Swift is a lot of things. She is a talented musician. She is, evidently, a terrific negotiator. She is brave for being able to perform in front of thousands of audiences regularly. She is also a feminist, but not MY feminist. Continue reading Taylor Swift: Not My Feminist

Campus Y Co-President Campaigns

This year the Campus Y has two teams running for the Campus Y Co-Presidents office: Monique Laborde and Noah Ponton; and Regan Buchanan and Lauren Eaves. Both duos have put up impressive campaigns with a strong media presence and in-depth platforms. After reading through their platforms, I wanted to get to know the candidates a little better, so I asked each team some questions. Read through this Q&A to get to know the candidates and make an informed decision about who to vote for!

Continue reading Campus Y Co-President Campaigns

How Leadershape Confirmed UNC Was For Me

What Is LeaderShape?

LeaderShape was described to me as something that would challenge me as a leader and a program I would enjoy. The LeaderShape that was described to me was not the LeaderShape I received. This program was everything and more that I had been missing and needed in my life. I met so many incredible people who have beautiful and inspiring visions for this world. I was able to have meaningful conversations and challenge my way of thinking.  I was able to create stronger bonds with the people I had known going into the program, but also leave with new friendships with people that will change my life.  

Okay, no seriously what do I do at LeaderShape?

The program is broken up into six days and each day has a different leadership theme. On the first day you are broken into small groups called family clusters and you get super close especially to these individuals.  Personally, the best part of the program for me was I was given the freedom to dream as big as I wanted to and in result I came up with a new life plan/action goal that truly makes me happy and fulfills my passion.  LeaderShape is a great opportunity because it occurs at a time in your life when you have the resources to accomplish your dreams.  The goal of LeaderShape isn’t to make a leader, but rather embrace the leader you already are and really think about what you can contribute to your community and how to do it.

Why should I do LeaderShape?

You should do Leadershape because it will be an experience that you look back on in life and will be so thankful you were apart of it.  You will start off the week being surrounded by people you probably don’t know, but by the end will be like your family. You will grow as a leader and overall as a person. Leadershape inspires positive change in yourself and I hope its future participants continue to bring that supportive space they were during the program to the outside world because many many MANY more people need it.

But, it’s during my spring break! I don’t want to spend spring break in the woods do I?

As someone who went hiking for the first time EVER two weeks ago, trust me I understand not being one with nature. But the center it takes place at is clean, the food is pretty good, and you spend much of the time indoors and not outdoors. Plus you get to spend your spring break making sixty new friends and discovering your passion. You won’t find that spring break experience anywhere else, trust me.

What was your biggest take-away from the program?

Three years ago I remember being on twitter at 2:00 in the morning tweeting about how I could feel a shift in my life.  Since then, my goal has been striving to be the person I wanted to be. Confident, positive, loving, happy, caring, an activist, and so much more.  If you had asked me if I was the person six days prior to Leadershape I would say, sometimes. Sometimes I am those things, but I’m still working on inner harmony and seeing myself the way others see me. Now if you ask me if I’m that person yet, I would say absolutely. That week renewed my spirit and brought out the best parts of me that usually don’t find their way to the surface. I genuinely laughed more that week than I did in the past year. I’ve grown a lot as a person and have come into my own person since that week, and a large part of that is because of this amazing program.

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Learn more about LeaderShape here

Applications are due 2/1/16

Inequality Amongst the Media

When I think about normal, I think about perspective. Normal is different to each individual, and that makes humans unique. When it comes to the opinions on same sex relationships and marriage, I believe people should be open minded and knowledgeable before forming an opinion about it. Continue reading Inequality Amongst the Media