UNC student paper: TA strike over Silent Sam “took advantage of students”

The Silent Sam Confederate monument – and the withholding of grades at the end of last semester over its future – continues to be a divisive issue.

This week The Daily Tarheel, the student newspaper of the UNC-Chapel Hill, blasted the teaching assistants who took part in the withholding of grades.

From the paper’s editorial:

The Board condemns these protests, not for the subject of derision, but for the manner in which these TAs expressed their opposition. A large part of the student body would share the views of the TAs in regards to this issue. Many students believe a museum like the administration proposed would serve not to contextualize the statue but rather to memorialize it, to ingrain it inside of UNC’s culture. Many students have protested the existence of Silent Sam, standing alongside figures such as Maya Little.

For this group of TAs to decide, after their last paycheck had been delivered, to hold the grades of their students hostage to make a statement is a cowardly move. For students to be so blatantly taken advantage of by those who hold positions of power above them reveals a remarkable lack of bravery from these TAs. These individuals used their authority as TAs to harm students who need these grades for internships, jobs or even graduate school acceptances.

As some were quick to point out in the comments, the professors and TAs participating in withholding grades did ultimately release them in time to avoid problems with internships, jobs or graduate school programs.

But the editorial demonstrates that while nearly every student, faculty and staff organization at UNC-Chapel Hill has made known their opposition to the Confederate statue and its return, not everyone in the community agrees on the tactics used to oppose it.


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