Students: UNC must do more about racist threats

Posted April 1, 2019 2:56 p.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2019 11:10 p.m. EDT

— The cultural clash on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was revived over the weekend with two acts of vandalism, and this time the vandals used the names of a student and a well-known protester.

Lindsay Ayling, who is white, thinks her campus activism made the vandals aware of her, but she's more worried about the safety of her fellow students.

"I’ve been receiving a number of threats from Confederate groups in the past, and I’m personally more concerned about the safety of non-white students at UNC," she said.

Ayling's name and that of Maya Little, who is known for spreading her own blood and paint onto the "Silent Sam" monument, were used in graffiti painted on an installation outside Hanes Art Center and on the Unsung Founders Memorial, a monument to the people of color who built UNC.

The incident report says a permanent marker and urine were used to vandalize the memorial.

Campus police have identified an individual from surveillance video of the incident and plan to arrest that person, who they say is known to be affiliated with the Heirs to the Confederacy group.

Ayling says that same group was on campus last month with guns.

"I don’t think that the campus is a safe place when white supremacist groups are coming armed, and they’re greeted with handshakes and cordiality from the UNC police department," Ayling said. "UNC has been collaborating with these white supremacist groups all year."

Aliyah Jordan, a UNC junior who was in Nice, France, when a truck driver plowed into people on a crowded street in 2016, said she is nervous when she should be focused on her studies.

"You walk on campus, and you don’t know what’s going to happen, all the time. I don’t want to walk around campus with headphones in, because I don’t know who’s going to come up behind me," she said.

Fred Hall, an alumnus and former UNC professor, was on campus Monday, drawn by the reports of the weekend vandalism.

"You can change all the external things you will, but until you change how people feel, nothing is going to happen. The spirit of Julian Carr is still here," Hall said, referring to a businessman whose white supremacist views have prompted calls to remove his name from a building on campus.

Ayling and Jordan both want more from campus police. Jordan even suggested that access to one of the oldest public universities in the nation be restricted.

"They just need to start learning how to close off our campus," she said. "I understand it’s a public university, but there’s also ways to keep it public but protecting students."

Meanwhile, university police are trying to identify a second person shown in the video.