My Spin: What’s in a Name? | Beaufort County Now | Be there anyone among us who leads or has led such a pure and exemplary life that he or she should be honored with their name on a building at our flagship university?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

My Spin: What’s in a Name?

Tom Campbell
    Be there anyone among us who leads or has led such a pure and exemplary life that he or she should be honored with their name on a building at our flagship university?

    UNC Chapel Hill officials have sent out word they would like suggestions for renaming three buildings on their campus that will replace Aycock Residence Hall, named after former governor Charles B. Aycock, the Daniels Building, named for News and Observer Josephus Daniels, and the Carr Building, named after industrialist Julian Carr. All three held racist viewpoints.

    Today most all of us find these positions repulsive and wrong and it is understandable why many find their names on buildings offensive. We cannot ignore their beliefs, but neither should we ignore the significant contributions they made. Aycock built more public schools and libraries in his four years than any governor before or since and is still considered our "education governor." Josephus Daniels was US Secretary of the Navy in World War I and Ambassador to Mexico. Carr not only accumulated great wealth but was credited with helping a struggling Trinity College survive a financial crisis. He then contributed the 300 acres of land that helped move and rename the school to Durham. We know it as Duke University.

    Racism is America's "original sin," but it is not our only sin.

    This whole topic begs the question of whether we should name any public buildings after people. There are few among us who have never had any blot on their moral character; this is most especially true for those who have accumulated great wealth or have made significant accomplishments in their lives — those who we might usually consider honoring with their name on a building. In the philanthropic world, you quickly learn that one of the best ways to get someone to make a sizable financial contribution to your cause is to promise to name a building, school, or program in their name. The Morehead and Park Scholarships at Carolina and NC State quickly come to mind and prove the point.

    What are the criteria we should use to decide? What is a significant enough contribution (financially or otherwise) to be a determinant? Is the naming a forever decision or perhaps an honor to last for a time certain, like 20 years? And who is really qualified to make such significant decisions? In the case of a public institution, like one of our universities, just how diverse and representative should the decision-making body be?

    If we take racism (or any "ism") off the list of criteria there's not much left. Maybe we should just give them names of trees or flowers or animals. Or perhaps we might be best served to just number them, but then we have to keep buildings in some kind of numerical sequence, don't we? It would be maddening for building 1201 to be on one side of campus and 1202 on the opposite side.

    This whole topic has opened a can of worms. Who would want to reside or go to class in a building named for a parasite?


Tom Campbell is a Hall of Fame North Carolina Broadcaster and columnist who has covered North Carolina public policy issues since 1965. He recently retired from writing, producing and moderating the statewide half-hour TV program NC SPIN that aired 22 ½ years. Contact him at tomcamp@carolinabroadcasting.com.


HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Daniel Payne writes at JustTheNews.com about an interesting endorsement of voter ID laws.
Alex Nester of the Washington Free Beacon documents a disturbing incident from a public school classroom in the Tar Heel State.
Nihal Krishan of the Washington Examiner highlights a new proposal from Republicans on Capitol Hill.
There are great many problems that we face in this country today that have a direct bearing on the survivability of the United States and the freedoms of its people.
Their constant Race Baiting on issues that are well outside of their collective cognitive abilities to understand is setting an egregiously poor standard in leadership; even lower than the Hussein Obama administration, our first non patriot president.
Berger said funds should be used for infrastructure, tax relief, state worker salaries, and expansion of school choice not massive, new government expenses.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has long complained about police in sanctuary cities that fail to honor its detainers
Voters in North Carolina could decide next year to limit the governor’s emergency powers, under a proposed constitutional amendment filed Wednesday, April 14, in the N.C. House.

HbAD1

Margot Cleveland of the Federalist focuses on one high-profile critic of raising the government-mandated minimum wage.
David Catron writes for the American Spectator about problematic claims of voter suppression.
Should your donation to charity subject you to being “canceled” or threaten your job and safety? State lawmakers’ S.B. 636 would protect your freedom of speech.
Families at the lower end of the income scale could end up among the biggest winners if lawmakers adopt the N.C. Senate’s latest tax package.
The United States reached a new milestone as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data showed that over half of adults in America have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Robinson looks toward work on education, boosting small business, and supporting candidates in 2022

HbAD2

 
Back to Top