Executive Branch of UNC Student Government

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Category: Press Releases and Speeches (page 1 of 3)

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. The Executive Branch of the Student Government wants to preface this letter by stating that in no way do we endorse the subjugation of one life to another. Every life is indeed important. However, in light of recent events and the continued aggression against black bodies, we want to take the time to say that each and every Black and Brown student on our campus is important to us. We feel your pain, we understand your frustration and anger, and we stand with you.

Our University, our community, and our world, they are all here today due to the contributions of everyone. They all are at their best when we are all in accord. When we attack, marginalize, discriminate, or martyr our fellow human beings we only hurt ourselves. In this trying time, we choose to focus on the injustices inflicted on POC bodies and ask that each of us takes this time to reflect on how we can be a part of positive change.

To all of our students, we want you to know that you are appreciated. If you need any assistance or just want to talk, know that the door to the student government suite is always open. Please also feel free to call 919-966-3658 for counseling services offered by the University during business hours and 919-966-2281 after hours.

Sincerely,
Bradley Opere – Student Body President
Jordan Peterkin – Senior Advisor
UNC Student Government

NCAA Championship Joint Statement

What a time to be a Tar Heel! The Carolina Men’s Basketball team will be returning to the NCAA National Championship to play the Villanova Wildcats today at 9:19 pm. If victorious, this will be the 6th time in Men’s Basketball history that the Tar Heels will claim the title of NCAA National Champions.

Should we win, there are sure to be celebrations. Whether it’s rushing Franklin Street or partying with friends, please remember to stay safe. No one wants to see a Tar Heel victory marred by personal injury or damage to property.

Alcohol checkpoints will be in place around downtown, as well as DWI enforcement. If alcohol is consumed, limit intake so to remain alert and in control at all times while amid the crowds of people. Please also remember to monitor your drinks at all times.

On-campus parking rules will change for Monday. Please read the posted information on the Transportation and Parking website to avoid getting ticketed or towed. Do not get behind the wheel or drive with anyone if alcohol is consumed.

Carolina is a family, so watch out for your fellow Tar Heels. Remember the buddy system and charge your phone before going out. In case of an emergency, please call 911 or locate a police officer who will be stationed in and around Franklin street.

Regardless of the outcome, stay safe and have fun. Let’s bring home a sweet Carolina victory. Go Heels!

 

Houston Summers

2015-2016 Student Body President

Bradley Opere

2016-2017 Student Body President

 

On HB2

This press release was originally published in the Daily Tar Heel as a letter to the editor on March 23, 2016. You can view the original publication here.

TO THE EDITOR:

Yesterday, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a blanket anti-­discrimination law, that in fact, furthers discrimination in this state for the LGBTQ community. Importantly and intentionally, the law does not include sexual orientation and gender identity under anti­-discrimination protection. As a result, the law overturns and overrides existing local ordinances protecting these groups, while also preventing local governments from passing new laws to protect the LGBTQ community. The new law also specifically prohibits the use of communal bathrooms by the trans community, requiring North Carolinians to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate, regardless of their actual gender identity.

The incoming administration condemns the actions of the General Assembly as backwards and discriminatory. North Carolina is better than this. We have a unique capacity in the South and in this country to be leaders, especially because of our university system. Our student population includes the LGBT community, and they deserve equal treatment and protection. Instead, North Carolina has opted to stand on the wrong side of history, ignoring the moral responsibility to protect all our students and citizens.

Our administration stands with LGBT community in solidarity against the discriminatory practices of the state. This afternoon at 5:45, members of the administration will attend a rally in Raleigh at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 3313 Wade Ave. We invite all interested and available students to join us in standing for LGBT rights.

Ultimately, we believe in a university that respects, values and protects diversity and the members of all communities. And we expect our elected officials to equally value the diversity of backgrounds and identities in our state.

Bradley Opere

Student Body President-Elect

Wilson Sink

Appointee for Director of State and External Affairs

We’ve Got Your Back

Fellow Students and Community Members,

On Wednesday afternoon, Elon University student and football player Demitri Allison fell from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Morrison Residence Hall. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Demitri and the Elon community.

As the Student Body President and as one of the Carolina Football Team captains, we care first and foremost about the well-being, safety, and mental health of our students, teammates, and community members.

Mental illness can affect anyone. There is no shame in admitting when you are in need of help. We must all have each others’ backs. If you notice a friend experiencing symptoms of poor mental health, please offer them support and encourage them to seek out the help they need.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can be reached at (919) 966-3658. Additional resources can be accessed at CAPS on the third floor of Campus Health.

We must unite as one team to fight the stigma surrounding mental health and ensure our students – our teammates – have access to the services they need.

 

Houston Summers

UNC-CH Student Body President

 

Marquise Williams

UNC-CH Football Team Captain

It’s Election Day


Happy Election Day – please exercise your right to vote TODAY in the Municipal Election for Chapel Hill Town Council and Mayor. To vote on Election Day, you MUST already be registered and the deadline to register to vote on Election Day has passed. You must vote in the precinct where you are registered (details below).
Student Government is offering FREE RIDES to the polls today in collaboration with Buzz Rides. Rides will be offered according to the schedule to each of the 5 precinct locations that students living on-campus are assigned to:

If you live in: Alderman, Kenan, McIver, Old East, Old West, Spencer

Pick Up: Campus Y @ 11 am

Polling Place: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 300 East Rosemary St

If you live in: Manly, Mangum, Ruffin, Grimes, Aycock, Graham, Stacy, Everett, Lewis, Cobb, Winston, Conner, Alexander, Joyner

Pick Up: Davis ATM’s @ 12 pm 

Polling Place: UNC General Administration Bldg, 910 Raleigh Rd

If you live in: Carmichael, Parker, Teague, Avery, Ehringhaus, Koury, Morrison, Hardin

​Pick Up: Kenan Stadium Gate 2 @ 1 pm 

Polling Place: Center for Dramatic Arts, 120 Country Club Rd

If you live in: Craige, Craige North, Hinton James, Horton, Odum Village, Baity Hill, Ram Village, Taylor

Pick Up: Rams Volleyball Courts @ 2 pm

Polling Place: Chapel Hill Kehillah, 1200 Mason Farm Rd

If you live in: Granville Towers

Pick Up: Granville West Tower @ 3 pm

Polling place: Lincoln Center Admin Bldg, 750 S. Merritt Mill Rd

To check your registration information, learn your precinct location, or to see a sample ballot, please go to the N.C. Board of Elections website at http://www.ncsbe.gov.  If you have any questions or concerns, please like us on Facebook at Tar Heel Vote to learn more and message us to ask questions.

Go Heels!

How to Handle the Pro-Confederate Rally

It has come to our attention that local Pro-Confederate groups are planning to rally on our campus this Sunday around the Silent Sam statue. We feel the need to let the student body and community know of this prospective rally in an effort to keep you all informed and to help ensure that no student is caught off guard by the surge in activity surrounding the statue.

As much as we respect and uphold the right of all students and outside speakers to freely express their views on this campus, we must be mindful that malicious words and actions can cause serious harm to others.

It is our priority to make sure every student feels and is safe on our campus. If you encounter these protests on campus this weekend, we ask that you respect their fundamental right to express their beliefs and encourage you to exercise yours. But do so peacefully, embracing the motto of our University: Lux Libertas.

Throughout our Administration, we have stood by students and the circumstances of this weekend are no different. We will continue on in our focus towards building a safe and inclusive community for all students.

Town Hall Recap

This past Tuesday, Student Government hosted the “You’ve requested. We’ve listened.” Town Hall. The event was designed to provide an open space for students to ask questions, hear about hot topics, and offer their own ideas and feedback. Here’s the run-down of what was discussed:

  1. Privatization of student stores

The University is currently putting together an RFP (request for proposal) for the privatization of student stores. This was unsolicited by the University. While there is a possibility that student stores will become a private entity, the University is in the process of articulating our demands to see if this deal is the right step for our community.

  1. New Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Karen Gill, the current dean, is stepping down. For the past few months, the search committee has been winnowing down the application pool. They have narrowed the search down to five finalists, one of whom is an internal candidate.

  1. Sexual assault on our campus

The American Association of Universities released data regarding sexual assault that was “sobering but not surprising,” according to Houston. In addition, Houston is advocating for a minimum punishment of one-year suspension for sexual assault perpetrators.

  1. Mental health on campus

CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) has had an alarming amount of visits this year. While it is good news that students are seeking help, it is bad news that so many people on campus feel mentally distressed. Houston offered the idea of having “Mental Health CPR,” a training program offered to all students.

Please join Student Government for the next Town Hall; it is an open forum in which YOU can share YOUR ideas to make this Carolina, One Carolina.

While you were away…

Welcome back Tar Heels! I, and the rest of my executive team, hope that your summer was as productive as it was enjoyable.

One of the roles I took on when I was elected Student Body President last year was to spend my summer in Chapel Hill working on laying the foundation to accomplish everything I had promised to do in my platform. This summer, we focused on one of Student Government’s roles – as an advocate for students to the Administration. In an effort to make Student Government more transparent than in years past, I wanted to take a minute to share with you what my team and I have been working on over the past three months:

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Plots– We have worked very closely with Michael Morrison, President of NPHC, to help devise a plan to get plots on campus. We worked with Vice Chancellor Crisp, individuals in the Development and Alumni Association offices, and the Department of Housing and Residential Education. There have been recent discussions around on-campus housing for NPHC chapters and we will continue working to ensure these conversations include input from NPHC members and alumni.

Body Cameras– Campus Police officers have all agreed to wear body cameras. We had many conversations with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and members of the Department of Public Safety to facilitate this occurrence in response to calls from students for reform.

Capital Campaign– We met with the Development office to help create a plan to ensure that students’ stories are offered to friends and donors of the University. This would more clearly demonstrate the importance of Carolina Covenant and other need-based programs that are supported by such generous giving. Fundraising totaled $447 million this fiscal year, the highest amount on record.

Transportation and Safety– We led the restructuring of hardship parking towards on online platform and increased the number of available permits. The RR lot became available to off-campus residents. Additionally, the Night Time Travel Working Group was created to take a look at the issues of travel our students face during late night hours. This group includes many individuals across campus, from the Department of Public Safety to Administration, students, and more. We worked with the Director of Transportation and Parking and the Vice of Chancellor of Finance and Administration on this working group.

ACC Just Ask Campaign– This campaign was started among ACC Student Body Presidents and will allow for a Conference-wide awareness initiative about mental illness and mental health. Campus Health has been involved in conversations related to mental health and our entire team is in the process of being trained on these issues.

Contextualization and Education Working Group– In the coming months, this workgroup will contain students, faculty, historians, and experts on race and place. Once the working group is structured, students will be a part of this process by offering feedback and participating in the group.

Heels United CampaignThis campaign supports the University’s commitment to a safe and welcoming Carolina – a campus that is free from discrimination and harassment, sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking. The campaign raises awareness of these issues, prevention efforts, and available resources. Over the past two semesters, we have been providing feedback to better the campaign as a whole.

Last spring, we made the following pledges to you: to be visible by being in the Pit at least once a month; to actively seek out student opinion (invite us to your organization’s meetings and events!); and to encourage open dialogue (starting with a Town Hall soon in this semester). We stand by each of those pledges. Each day, we wake up with the responsibility of representing 30,000 of our fellow students. Know that we don’t take this responsibility lightly and that we want you to hold us accountable.

Welcome back to Carolina. Be on the lookout for videos and social media posts in the near future that will highlight our current activities and all the ways you can get involved!

Sincerely,

Houston Summers

Student Body President 2015-2016

We Need to Turn Our Focus Back Towards Building a Safe and Inclusive Community

Fellow Students,

As much as I respect and uphold the right of all students and outside speakers to freely express their views on this campus, I fully reject the claims made by David Horowitz on April 13th which suggested that the UNC Muslim Student Association and UNC Students for Justice in Palestine are connected to terrorist organizations. These accusations are harmful not only to members of these organizations, but also to our community as a whole.

These student groups are an invaluable part of our Carolina community. The programs and events that they organize play a vital role in countering Islamophobia and encouraging inter-faith dialogue on our campus. I encourage everyone to visit the “Passion in Practice: Muslims of the Carolinas” exhibition in the Union gallery before the end of the semester to learn more.

While it is important that differing views and perspectives are represented on this campus, we must be mindful that malicious words can cause serious harm to others. I hope that all students and student leaders will join me in dismissing such divisive claims. Only then can we turn our focus back to building a safe and inclusive community for all students. Let us recognize the progress that our own student organizations have already made towards this goal.

Sincerely,

Houston Summers

Student Body President

 

Statement on the Loss of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

Fellow Students and Residents of Chapel Hill,

The Carolina community is heartbroken over the recent senseless, hateful murder of Deah Shaddy Barakat (23), Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha (21), and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha (19). Two were current or future students at Carolina; all three were beloved members of the Chapel Hill community. I would like to express my deepest sadness at their deaths. Our community lost three tremendous people, and we are all in mourning as we try to make sense of this tragedy. Please keep their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers today during this time of immense grief.

Over the past few hours, members of our community who knew Deah, Yusor, and Razan have shared touching reflections about their lives. Deah, Yusor, and Razan will be remembered as loving friends and inspiring role models. Above all, they were selfless and dedicated servants of their communities and of the people around them. The Carolina community has sustained a great loss. I join the Barakat and Abu-Salha families in mourning the loss of three outstanding individuals.

I know this senseless tragedy has deeply shaken the Carolina community. Please reach out to me if I can provide support in anyway, and know that more resources are available for all students. If you need support, please contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 919-966-3658.

Our community will not tolerate violence, hatred, or bigotry of any form. Many members of our community are feeling unsafe right now, and I hope everyone can come together and support each other in this incredibly trying time. I also call on our District Attorney, our U.S. Attorney, and other prosecutors to complete a full investigation and ensure that justice is done.

I am also committed to supporting the UNC Muslim Students Association and all members of the Muslim community. Tonight, MSA will host a prayer in the Great Hall of the Student Union at 6 PM, which is open to all people whether Muslim or not. Following the prayer, MSA, Imam Abdullah, and the Chancellors from UNC and NC State will hold a candlelight vigil. I hope that all students will come to show their support and celebrate the lives of three beautiful people.

Sincerely,

Andrew Powell

Student Body President

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