TO: UNC-Pembroke Chancellor Search Committee

Concerning the next chancellor at UNC-Pembroke:

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke needs an Indian Chancellor. Erskine Bowles, UNC President, has made it abundantly clear when he said, “I want a leader who will have the respect of the entire community, and someone who will respect its proud heritage, I am looking for a leader with people skills and someone who sees this rural location as an asset.”

The Chancellor Search Committee hired a professional recruiting firm to assist in the search for UNCP’s next chancellor. Fayetteville State University and Winston Salem State University have recently placed new chancellors at their respective helms using a recruiting firm as well. Both of these universities were founded to give minorities an opportunity for further education. Both of the Chancellors chosen for these Universities were minorities as well.

North Carolina has eleven historically black colleges and universities and one historically Indian University. All of the hbcu’s in our state are led by black chancellors.

We’ll say what no one else wants to say: Race matters! Ask Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Ask Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Race matters. To me. To this town, to this region, to this University. Race matters. Give us three qualified Indian Candidates.

The next chancellor should have a CULTURAL vision for the future and direction of the university. To deny the American Indian (mostly Lumbee) heritage of this fine institution is to deny the truth that what is known as the University of North Carolina at Pembroke was, in fact, established as a normal school for the local Indian population in 1887 because the local whites would not allow them to go to any other school, and they would not be forced to attend the local black schools against their cultural will.

We endorse a “qualified” American Indian as the next chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Give us three qualified Indian Candidates.

Research concerning the Lumbee tribe should be a priority, not a rationale for mere platitudes. The next chancellor should declare that euphemisms like “multiculturalism” are to be removed from the university’s glossary. Each ethnic group should stand on its own merit. There should, of course, be an American Indian Studies department, as well as a strong African American cultural presence on campus. Any ethnic group with at least 8% enrollment should have a studies department, as well as a cultural gathering place on campus.

As we have been informed, there is to be a threshold of 9500 students, in time, for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. What then? If American Indian enrollment is plummeting (now 18%) and African American enrollment is spiraling upward (now 27%) will the incoming chancellor have the administrative courage to work toward a policy that will forever after guarantee that the University of North Carolina at Pembroke will continue as an American Indian Institution of Higher Learning?

We ask the next chancellor to provide monies and training to prepare American Indian students as future administrators and faculty members in all disciplines, especially as faculty members on the staff of the American Indian Studies Department, and as director and curator at the Native American Resource Center.

We ask the next chancellor to take a serious look at the Ester Maynor endowed scholarship which is now the funding arm of the honors college, with less than 250 students at the present time. The scholarship should be set up as a need-based scholarship with priority to American Indian students, but open to all ethnic groups.

We encourage the next chancellor to put the resources behind an effort to legitimize the federal recognition of the Lumbee tribe via federal court action if needed, and/or legislative action by the United States Congress.

We endorse the traditional five black institutions within the university continuing as BLACK institutions of higher learning. Do any of you dare consider the thought that someone other than a black chancellor will ever serve at any of these five schools? We hope not. Culture is very important at each and every constituent member of the university family.

If we accept the premise of black chancellors at traditional black institutions of higher learning, why does it cause unease to suggest an Indian chancellor for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke? It suggests that some are afraid to publicly proclaim their heritage, or that it somehow embarrasses, or demeans, them as a people.

We endorse establishing as a policy a threshold of at least 30% American Indian enrollment, for the foreseeable future, at UNC-Pembroke.

We endorse an effort to recruit other American Indian tribes, such as the other seven represented in North Carolina, and the hundreds represented throughout the nation. Is it sacrosanct, or even evil, to suggest that any American Indian student, no matter where he emanates from, should be allowed to attend the University of North Carolina at Pembroke for dollars commensurate with in state tuition?

We endorse a “qualified” American Indian as the next chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Give us three qualified Indian Candidates.

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