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IAH responds to BOG settlement with increased support for race and reckoning research

December 18, 2019 | Tommie Watson

The appalling decision by the University of North Carolina System’s Board of Governors to use the UNC-Chapel Hill’s resources and name to support a pro-Confederacy organization highlights the urgent need for the University to reckon with its historical and current entanglement with racial violence. The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) promotes views that are entirely incompatible with IAH’s principles of inclusion, openness, and the pursuit of truth. Statements from the Chairs of Fine Arts and Humanities departments; the College’s Council of Chairs; a large coalition of Black faculty students, staff, and alumni; and the Faculty Council have all articulated the grounds for opposing this payment.

Our views on equity and inclusion are clear: The Institute for the Arts and Humanities welcomes, respects, and values people of all races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexualities, abilities, class and educational backgrounds, religious affiliations, geographic regions, national origins, and identities. We strive to enact our mission statement: to empower faculty to achieve their full potential by creating community and cultivating leadership, in all that we do. Equity and inclusion are the bedrock for creating community—if people do not feel included and are not treated equitably, they cannot reach their full potential or become leaders. Moreover, we believe that equity and inclusion are fundamental principles that guide the arts and humanities: these humanistic disciplines require acknowledgment and engagement with the richness and diversity of all people from a variety of backgrounds. At the IAH we affirm the dignity of all people and believe that everyone who talks with our staff, participates in our programs, or attends our public events is welcome, respected, and valued in their full humanity.

IAH fellows and other faculty have made it clear that a thorough, honest, and genuine engagement with these matters is absolutely necessary. To that end, and as part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ efforts, IAH will spend $500,000 over the next three years on faculty research, publication, support, education, and outreach on race, reckoning, memory, and opportunity at UNC. We hope these measures will contribute to a broader campus effort to place inclusion, diversity, equity, and historical accuracy at the top of Carolina’s agenda.

Details of IAH’s commitment will be released in January, 2020.

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