Public Health Graduate Student and Alumni Statement of Support for Maya Little

We, the undersigned, speaking as individual graduate students and alumni of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, declare our unwavering support for Maya Little and her nonviolent act of civil disobedience. As public health graduate students, we are acutely aware of the negative effects of racism on the health and well-being of people of color. Silent Sam is a form of institutional racism, and poses undue mental and emotional harm to many who encounter it. We condemn Chancellor Folt and her administration’s willful inaction in the face of ongoing, violent, and racist threats against Maya.

In failing to protect students, workers, and faculty of color, the University under the direction of Chancellor Folt has fallen short in one of its most basic tasks. When institutions cannot be counted on to defend those lives who give it life, individual students and workers take on the responsibility of challenging the institution’s complicity in structures of oppression. Whether it sides with justice or power, the University’s response will not be forgotten. It is our view that universities exist to enable the pursuit of new ideas, such that today’s assumptions do not become tomorrow’s dogmas.

We join our friends and colleagues in the Department of History (and other departments) by making the following demands:

  • We demand that Chancellor Folt and her administration remove Silent Sam from its current location, given that their legal right to do so is unambiguous.
  • We demand that the administration not take punitive action, legal or otherwise, against Maya for her act of nonviolent civil disobedience.
  • We demand that UNC Board of Trustees strike down the 16 year moratorium on renaming campus buildings.
  • We demand fair compensation for the campus workers who cleaned Silent Sam of blood and ink without protective gear, when it is Folt who should have taken responsibility for attempting to whitewash UNC’s history.
  • We demand that the administration act to address institutional racism on campus.

In our collective hope for a “Carolina for All,” we ask Chancellor Folt and her administration to take seriously the state motto of North Carolina: to be, rather than to seem. Until such a time as UNC lives the ideals it ascribes to itself, we will join our fellow graduate students and alumni across departments in recognizing and condemning the personal and institutional actors that perpetuate white supremacy on our campus.

Signed:

Christina Chauvenet

Sarah Treves-Kagan

Kathryn Wouk

Yanica Faustin

Megan Carlucci

Ponta Abadi

Juliana de Groot

Caroline Chandler

Venita Embry

Claire Sadeghzadeh

Grace Jaworski

Madeleine Eldridge

Hunter Holbrook

Megan Evans

Carolyn Lamere

Nora Simmons

Justin Mayhew

Mattea Alexander

Hannah Quigley

Erin Magee

Joanna Ramirez

Waru Gichane

Holly Krohn

Jessica Huey

Heather Biehl

Anna Wallin

Meagan Robichaud

Nicole Davis

Amelia Mackenzie

Kate Steber

Krista Scheffey

Carla Salvo-Lewis

Reana Thomas

Mikaela Freundlich

Kristin Bergman

Alison Swiatlo

Hannah Potter

Kate LeMasters

Rachel Scheckter

Ida Griesemer

Michele Plaugic

Dirk Davis

Rebecca Payne

Ben Banasiewicz

Austyn Holleman

Rebeccah Sokol

Leah Taraskiewicz

Libby McClure

Suzy Khachaturyan

Dianna Padilla

Supriya Sadagopan

Caroline Efird

Sheila Patel

Will Bayliss

Em Pike

Mallory Michalak

Michelle Huang

Ellen Chetwynd

Adele Henderson

Emily Donovan

Mike Dolan Fliss

Elynn Kann

Cristina Leos

Sarah Rhodes

Alexandra Munson

Allie George

Sara La Lone

Christine Walsh

Allison M Lacko

Josh Boegner

Varsha Subramanyam

Andrew Seidenberg

Melissa Luong

Alyssa Grube

Willa Dong

Eleanor Wertman

Lillie Armstrong

Elizabeth Christenson

Corinne Wiesner

Stephanie Bahorski

Andrew Bradford

Linda Chamiec-Case

Melissa L Jensen

Anna Austin

Rodrigo Costa Liao

Kate Westmoreland

Melanie Sadur

Elizabeth Kamai

Luis Maldonado

Devika Chawla

Joseph Engeda

Kristin Voltzke

Shahar Shmuel

Elizabeth Kelly

Elaine King

Rebecca Stebbins

Arbor Quist

Mallory Turner

Samantha Drover

Amber M Hall

Caitlin R Williams

Fekir Negussie

Manali Nekkanti

Emma Green

Kelsey Ann White

Colleen Boyle

Michael Plante

Seri Link Anderson

Kea Turner

Rebecca Whitaker

Karen Swietek

Steven Spivack

Natalie Blackburn

Brystana Kaufman