Recent debate at UNC Charlotte has largely centered on the issue of names. From the controversial “Jerry Richardson” stadium to the University’s very own name, students are expressing their discontent.
The longtime movement to drop the “UNC” is back with force after NBA player Joe Harris mistakenly pledged his trophy to the “University of Charlotte” for letting him practice in their gym. This time, students are signing a petition to show Chancellor Dubois and the Board of Trustees that they’re serious.
The petition, created anonymously on Change.org, implores the Board of Trustees to “Remove the ‘UNC’ from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.” It currently has 2,484 signatures with a goal of 2,500.
The petition includes a long explanation for the #droptheUNC movement.
The author claims that “UNC” stunts the University’s success. Although UNC Charlotte is the fastest growing institution in the UNC system, it is often mistaken for a satellite campus of UNC Chapel Hill or a community college because of the ending “CC.” The creator of the petition acknowledges that “UNC” helped to establish UNC Charlotte during its early years; however, now “it’s unnecessary and confusing.”
For years, students and alumni have expressed their support for the name change through social media. Today, multiple Twitter accounts have formed in support of the name change, including University of Charlotte, Name Confusion Log and 49 Shades of Drop the UNC. The popular account Agent49, with over 2,000 followers, is also an advocate for the movement.
On Reddit, students and alumni are more divided. Many complain about the confusion with UNC Chapel Hill, while others point out that the association bolsters UNC Charlotte’s prestige.
UNC Charlotte adopted the three letters when it was absorbed into the UNC system in 1965. Previously known as Charlotte College, the General Assembly approved the name change and it remains fixed in Chapter 116 of the North Carolina General Statutes. According to the Chancellor’s office, “Changing the name of UNC Charlotte would require the support of the University’s Board of Trustees and the UNC System Board of Governors before making a request of the General Assembly.”
7 schools in the UNC system carry the “UNC”; 10 do not.
The Chancellor has not commented on this recent push to change the name, but it appears he hasn’t changed his stance since 2018 when he told the Student Senate, “I’ve been passively against it since 2005 when I became chancellor.”
Buffie Stephens, Director of Issues Management and Media Relations, confirmed that “The University is not engaged in any initiative to change the name of UNC Charlotte.”
The student government association will conduct a poll on March 26 and 27 to gauge student opinion on the matter. Until then, the “UNC” remains.