UNC is in flux.
The oldest public school in America has never faced adversity like it is now and moving in a positive direction (read: FORWARD) will be the toughest challenge Chancellor Folt will face in her academic career.
There has been the worst case of academic fraud since … well, ever, a federal complaint filed against the school due its mishandling of students’ sexual assault complaints and now a challenge from passionate students who want to see their ancestry respected and voices heard.
The Saunders Hall debate is not new this year, but the veracity of the protests and the increase in popularity on Yik Yak has made this particular round of protests more extreme than movements of years past.
The anonymity that accompanies Yik Yak and internet message boards has made hate speech so prominent that one college president even banned it on his campus. When you scroll through the location-based social media app following a Saunders Hall rally, the amount of insensitive and racially-charged comments is overwhelming.
The veil of anonymity is the draw of the app; the ability to say whatever whenever is something that will always draw a certain crowd of people. Personally, I believe the idea of the app is fundamentally flawed because despite its promised anonymity, one’s post on the app can be tracked if, for example, you make a bomb threat on a campus with 20,000 people on it.
But this is not the point of this post. The point I am trying to convey is that I am honestly embarrassed to be a Tar Heel when I read the amount of insensitive and absurd racial commentary on Yik Yak everyday. Serious conversations are trying to be had on this campus about race, and this mindless app that was intended to be used for a good laugh is interfering with these talks.
Because of this, I think Chancellor Folt should follow the lead of the Norwich University president. Ban Yik Yak and promote an environment where people are held accountable for what they say. It is not my place to say whether Saunders should be renamed or not; it is my place however to hold people accountable for what they say, and by hiding behind a keyboard, students posting the hate speech are interferrng with this job. And I won’t support that.