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Chancellor and Black Student Leaders Clash Over Sign Policy at UNCW

UNCWBSU Instagram

Controversy continues this week at UNCW. On Monday, the Coalition of Black Student Leaders issued a statement criticizing Chancellor Sartarelli's removal of Black Lives Matter banners on campus. 

It began in June when UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli opposed the painting of Black Lives Matter somewhere on campus, saying he believed, “All Lives Matter.” After that, Black Lives Matter signs started appearing on campus buildings, put up by faculty not governed by the same approval procedures as students.

But that changed on September 18th. The Chancellor’s new policy requires signs posted by anyone to be pre-approved, hung in permissible locations, and posted for a defined period of time.  The university has also removed all Black Lives Matter banners, storing them in a warehouse with plans to display the signs in an indoor/outdoor art exhibit in the center of campus.

On Monday night, the Coalition of Black Student Leaders released a statement condemning moving the signs,  stating in part:

“We are not an art exhibit. We are not art to be seen from glass windows through a white lens. We are not a political statement. We matter.”

The Coalition of Black Student Leaders is a self-described “unified front” made up of about seven campus organizations and unaffiliated student leaders at UNCW. 

The group is asking for banners to be put back up and for Chancellor Sarterelli to publicly state Black Lives Matter.

When asked for the University's response to the Coalition’s statement,Interim Chief Diversity Officer Donyell Roseboro offered this response:  

“We wholeheartedly support these students’ advocacy and their right to freely express themselves, and we look forward to continued dialogue and collaboration with them to make tangible changes at UNCW.”  

Credit UNCWBSU Instagram

Katelyn Freund is a nonfiction student at UNCW's MFA Creative Writing program. She holds degrees in Spanish and English. In her time not spent working as WHQR's CoastLine Producer, she enjoys shooting pool, humor writing, and snacking.