Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center devotes her latest column to the University of North Carolina’s efforts to deal with troubling aspects of its history.

On June 8, interim UNC system president William Roper and chairman of the Board of Governors Randy Ramsey announced the establishment of a race and equity task force. The announcement came a day after three individuals associated with the UNC system wrote a letter requesting that such a task force be established. …

… The authors argued that the university system is obligated to teach about racism and to ensure that all “people of color”—in particular “Black stakeholders”—have a right to feel included and valued.

In response, Roper and Ramsey wrote that they “support the sentiments expressed” in the letter. They noted that recent acts of violence “compel all of us fully to recognize and grapple with our country’s history of racism and oppression that has so often resulted in violence.”

“As members of the University community, it is our obligation and responsibility to do the hard work needed to address inequities in the UNC System for the benefit of students, faculty, staff, and all North Carolinians,” Roper and Ramsey wrote. They then announced that the equity task force will be established as a six-member special committee of the Board of Governors, with board member Darrell Allison as chair and board members Kellie Blue and Anna Nelson as vice chairs.

According to the memorandum, the task force is expected to meet with students, faculty, and staff groups to discuss issues of race and equity in the UNC system, as well as concrete steps that can be taken to achieve greater “equity and understanding.” The task force will also prepare a report of recommended metrics and goals which will be presented to the full board on October 2.