Campus News

Guskiewicz announces launch of history commission, details on community building fund 

The chancellor updated the Carolina community on two key initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion at the University. 

Last month, in his first act as chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz created the $5 million Build Our Community Together Fund. He shared more details about the fund in a Jan. 8 campus email. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

In a Jan. 8 message to the Carolina community, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz announced the launch of a commission to promote campus reconciliation and gave additional details on the $5 million Build Our Community Together Fund announced last month.

“Our University is many things, but our core mission is fostering teaching, learning and research that improves the human condition,” Guskiewicz wrote in his email message. “To accomplish this, we need a strong, stable and welcoming community, where everyone feels emboldened to do their best work and all are dedicated to fostering an environment of inclusive excellence.”

The 15-member Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward, successor to the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History, will focus on three main areas: archives, history, research and curation; curriculum development and teaching; and engagement, ethics and reckoning.

Co-chaired by history professor James Leloudis and communications department chair Patricia Parker, the commission will develop curricula to educate students and help faculty teach the history of the University in alignment with the new Ideas in Action curriculum. Commission members will strengthen the University’s relationships with under-represented communities “through conversations regarding the past and develop protocols and practices for ethical engagement with historically disenfranchised people today.”

The Commission’s multi-year work will begin at its first meeting on Feb. 7 and culminate with a symposium and report with recommendations for building a stronger community.

Members of the commission include:

  • Delores Bailey, executive director of EmPOWERment Inc.;
  • Larry Chavis, director UNC American Indian Center;
  • Giselle Corbie-Smith, director of the Center for Health Equity Research;
  • Nicholas Graham, University archivist;
  • Ronald Harris, dean’s fellow, Honors Carolina;
  • Amy Locklear Hertel, chief of staff to the chancellor;
  • Sherick Hughes, education professor;
  • Kenneth Janken, professor of African, African American and diaspora studies;
  • Dawna Jones, chair of the Carolina Black Caucus;
  • Joseph Jordan, Stone Center director;
  • Seth Kotch, associate professor of American studies;
  • Danita Mason-Hogans, project coordinator at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies; and
  • Josmell Pérez, director of the Carolina Latinx Center.

Guskiewicz also shared more details about the $5 million fund that will fund the history commission as well as The Reckoning Initiative; a new initiative in development titled Southern Futures; and the Campus Safety Commission.

“I believe it will be a catalyst for helping to build a better Carolina, more capable of solving the grand challenges of our time through our unique culture of collaboration,” Guskiewicz wrote. “The Build Our Community Together Fund will seed initiatives that create opportunities to fulfill this vision. All initiatives supported by the Fund will align with Carolina’s new strategic plan Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good. Funded initiatives will provide opportunities for our community to study our past, heal from that past and move forward together.”

Guskiewicz called for students, faculty and staff to submit collaborative proposals that seek to “Build Our Community Together.” Proposals should include a two- to three-page description of the proposed goals, collaborators, desired outcomes, timeline and budgetary needs. Proposals should be submitted for consideration by the Build Our Community Together working group at