Monday, June 19, 2017

Mereb Mossman: An Administrator and Leader

Today's blog post was written by Ashlie Brewer. Ashlie is a rising junior, majoring in music education. She currently works as one of the 125th Anniversary Student Researchers, helping conduct archival research in anticipation of the university's upcoming celebration.

Mereb Mossman was born in Winfield, Kansas on December 1, 1905. She attended Morningside College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1926, then her Master of Arts from the University of Chicago two years later in 1928. Mossman taught sociology at Ginling College in China from 1930-35, then came back to the States for a year of graduate study. She went back overseas to teach and travel in Asia and Europe. In 1936, Mossman taught at the Alabama Women’s College and then joined the Woman’s College (now UNCG) faculty in 1937 as a professor of Sociology. Mossman was quickly recognized as a critical member of the WC faculty. Her peers frequently described her as a hard-working, model administrator.

Mossman was an active member of the WC campus community, the Greensboro community, and her professional community. During her first couple of years on campus, she was asked to lecture on China to civic organizations as an aftermath of the Japanese invasion of the country. From 1946 to 1948, Mossman served as president of the Greensboro Council of Social Agencies, and in 1947 to 1951, she was a member of the National Committee on Preprofessional Education of the American Association of Schools of Social Work. In 1951 she was named WC’s Dean of Instruction. She was promoted to Dean of the College, then Dean of Faculty soon after that, then was named Greensboro’s Woman of the Year given an honorary membership to the Greensboro Junior League in 1954. Two years later, in 1956, she received the Max Oliver Gardener Award. Then in 1960, she was awarded an honorary degree of Humanities at Queen’s College and Morningside College. In 1963, Mossman was elected executive council of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools. Finally, in 1969 she was promoted to Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Making her the first woman to ever hold this position at the university. However, she only held the title briefly before stepping down in 1971 to resume teaching full time.

As an administrator, Mossman was a woman who always got the job done. However, she worked a small team consisting of herself, an assistant and a secretary. Unwilling to delegate, there were many times that the team had to stay long hours and weekends in order to get necessary paperwork completed. She was able to master virtually every detail of the college’s operations which kept her as a pivotal member at the university. Mossman always looked to the future for the university -- from bringing in more professors, being a familiar face as chancellors rotated in and out, and bringing more education to UNCG (she was a driving force in creating masters and doctoral programs in several departments). Mossman looked at adding as many learning opportunities to the university as possible.

During her years 20+ years at WC/UNCG, Mossman held several positions but valued her time as a teacher more than any other of her titles. She viewed higher education as not only a place to develop curious minds of students and to place them into the working force, but as two continuing education programs. The first being the workshops and seminars that are being held across the country for professionals, and the second being the continuing programs for people interested in their own personal development as a human being. She pushed this idea onto her students. One of Mossman’s student’s recounted, "She held us to the highest standards and never, never relaxed that. She was one of the finest, a fascinating professor who got to you. Years after you left her class you didn’t want to let her down. She is one of the life’s very special people."


Mossman retired in 1976 with a resume listing over 10 pages of educational groups and community service work. A year after her retirement, the campus administration building was named in her honor. Mereb Mossman died in 1990 at the age of 84.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Flu Pandemic of 1918: The "Fourth Horseman" Comes to State Normal

In 1918, an influenza pandemic began to spread across the globe. In the U.S., about 28% of the population became infected, and 500,000 to 675,000 people died over the course the next two years. The campus of the State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG) was, of course, not immune to this easily-transmitted disease. In October 1918, the disease found the College, and campus administrators had to made quick decisions on the best course of action to protect the students and limit the spread of the flu.

Instead of suspending operations as some schools did at the time, State Normal President Julius Foust made the decision to instead quarantine students to the campus. From October through December, students were unable to leave campus, and guests were not permitted to visit. One alumnae wrote:

Wooden Dormitory (approximate site of the Alumni House today)
"It was that fall when the Fourth Horseman on his livid steed was abroad in the land. Pestilence, in the form of deadly influenza epidemic, was sweeping the country. No city, village, or hamlet was spared. It reached the campus as I remember in October. Several hundred girls contracted it ... A rigid quarantine was enforced. No one was allowed to leave the campus, no going to town, no weekends at home, only walks into the country were permitted."

Several hundred students were infected -- so many that the campus infirmary could not hold them all. Wooden Dormitory (also known as Guilford Hall) was converted into a makeshift hospital. But fortunately, none of the students contracted pneumonia, and no deaths resulted. As President Foust wrote in his unpublished history of the College, "This was remarkable in view of the fact that many more people died from flu in this country than were killed in the war [note: Foust is referring to World War I]. Both faculty and students had relatives and friends in the army and frequently a report would come that a loved one had been killed or died from influenza, but these sorrows were endured with Christian fortitude."

The pledge signed by students prior to leaving campus in December 1918
By December, the influenza outbreak on campus had subsided enough that Foust decided that the students should be allowed to return home for the holiday break. But each student was required to sign an agreement pledging to report any illnesses in their home, avoid possible sources of the disease, and reporting to the infirmary for a health assessment immediately upon returning to the school.

When the holiday period end and student returned to State Normal, they faced a week of final exams. But, as soon as those were complete, they began to celebrate the end of the semester and of the full campus quarantine by planning a large gala event for the evening of February 3, 1919. As reported in the Greensboro Daily News:

"Memories of long, dreary weeks of quarantine were forgotten, and mirth reigned supreme through the spacious dining hall, when at 7:30 o'clock last evening students of the State Normal and Industrial College participated in one of the most elaborate entertainments in the history of the college.

The first event of the evening was, perhaps, the most impressive when 700 young ladies, dressed in quaint costumes, formed a long, gala procession and passed in review before the judging members of the faculty ... After the procession had ended a unique program, arranged by Misses Clarence Winder and Lula Martin McIver, was given, including farce scenes of "what might have been" and "what actually happened" during the quarantine. A liberal sprinkling of humor was traced through the numerous sketches given, and the effect was indeed ludicrous.

During the latter hours of the evening a delightful dance was given in which the majority of the young ladies participated. Between dances several vaudeville sketches were presented, including aesthetic dancing, ballet scenes in which the students were dressed in colonial costumes, "buck and wing dancing," and other forms of the Terpischorean art."

Monday, June 5, 2017

The First Reunion of the Class of 1585

In 1926, the alumnae of the North Carolina College for Women (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) were making plans for their class reunions. As these preparations were being made, it occurred to some of the alumnae that the celebration should include those students who had attended the woman’s college but had never graduated, or were never officially associated with a reunion class. This honorary group was christened the “Class of 1585.” This unusual name was a reference to the state’s early history, when Sir Richard Grenville’s English ships landed on the coast of what is now North Carolina.


The first “reunion” of the Class of 1585 was held on June 5, 1926, during the celebration of Alumnae Day. To mark the occasion, there was a luncheon given in the Spencer Residence Hall dining room. In keeping with the 1585 theme, large centerpieces were fashioned in the image of Elizabethan ships. The tables were decorated with vases of daises (the school flower), with individual blossoms spelling out 1585 – 1926. For a special remembrance of the day, guests were presented with a small booklet created by students in the college’s art department. On the cover was a hand-drawn representation of a ship being greeted by a young Native American woman, while the interior contained the day’s program and a photograph of the guests of honor. Those being honored were administrators, professors, and staff members associated with the college’s early history. They included Miss Viola Boddie, Miss Laura Coit, Mr. Edward Forney, Dr. Julius Foust, Dr. Anna Gove, Miss Minnie Lou Jamison, Mrs. Lula McIver, and Miss Mary Petty.


Over ninety guests were entertained with a program which paid tribute to the eight guests of honor. Continuing the theme of settling a new land, these educators were represented as champions of learning and “rescuers of the maidens” held captive by ignorance. In thanks, their former students presented them with “love, loyalty, reverence, and gratitude.” The luncheon’s entertainment also included a song by Miss Molly Matheson Boren and a commemorative verse by Miss Eleanor Watson Andrews, as well as Miss Vaughn White Holoman’s “series of word pictures sketched with the delicacy and precision of a cameo, [of] the eight ‘founders’ of the ‘settlement.’”


The moving program ended with each attendee drawing the name of one of the eight honorees and completing the phrase, “What we really want to tell you…” on a small sheet of paper. These kind thoughts were later collected and incorporated into a commemorative book. The event concluded with the guests toasting the Class of 1585 with best wishes and the hope that the tradition would persist.  For the next several years, the Class of 1585 continued to hold alumnae luncheons with the other college classes, but by the 1930s, this seems to have come to an end. Only one of the hand-drawn booklets survives as a testament of the class’s first reunion held on that June day in 1926.

Monday, May 29, 2017

“A Noble Idea” The History of Peabody Park (Part Two)



Have you ever wondered how UNCG acquired such a beautiful green space on the northern edge of its campus?  Well, the founding and development of Peabody Park is a fascinating story that reflects UNCG’s overall growth as a center of higher learning and a Greensboro neighbor.  Given the complexity of the story, the Park’s history is being told in three Spartan Story installments.  The first installment was told in November 2016, “A Noble Idea:” The History of Peabody Park (Part One), and focused on the Park’s founding through a generous donation of monies.  The second installment, May 2017, will pick up the Park’s story in 1902 and how it evolved from a place of strolling and reflection to one of recreational activities, open-air theatrical performances, and finally, institutional encroachment. 
 
Shortly after the land for Peabody Park was purchased in 1901, landscape designers established a series of walking trails.  Wooden benches were strategically placed along the paths.  Female students used this new green space for their required daily “walking periods.”  President Charles Duncan McIver described the designed space as an education park where student learning and physical education were brought together in one place.  McIver envisioned that stone markers and plaques would be installed to highlight human advancement and inspire the passing walker. However, plans for the installation of stone educational markers were shelved with McIver’s sudden death in 1906.  Despite his untimely death, the Park was quickly being incorporated into campus life.
 
Peabody Park became a popular venue for school festivals and performances.  Starting in 1904, students staged elaborate May Day Festivals.  Over the years, the festivals became more and more elaborate.  The Festival’s activities included: the crowning of a May Day queen, dramatic performances, parades, and folk dances.   With the American entry into World War One in 1917, the May Day festivals were stopped and did not resume until the 1920s.  Instead, students used Peabody Park to hold patriotic rallies and pageants to boost morale and to encourage the purchase of Liberty Bonds.  With May Day festivals starting up again in the 1920s and continuing into the 1950s, Peabody Park was again being used for student events and performances.  Indeed, there was even the establishment of “Park Night” that honored students who embodied the school’s ideals of scholarship and service. 
 
As enrollment grew in the 1920s, the school was challenged to meet the needs of its growing student population.  Under the leadership of President Foust, the school experienced a building boom and sought to incorporate parts of Peabody Park into its educational programs.  Tennis courts and an archery range were constructed to support physical education classes.  In 1934, during the height of the Depression, the federal government’s Civil Works Administration built a nine-hole golf course in the Park.  With the establishment of a Golf Club, the school administration hoped that faculty and students would be active members and that their membership dues would help support the maintenance of the grounds.  Unfortunately, Club membership remained low and the maintenance of the grounds proved to be costly. 

On the eve of America’s entry into World War Two in 1941, the golf course had fallen into disrepair.  It was decided to transform the space by damming one of the branches of the Buffalo Creek.  The dam helped to form a small lake for boating.  Peabody Park suddenly had a lake!  In addition, an outdoor amphitheater was constructed on the lake’s shore to be used for concerts and pageants.  All traces of the 1934 golf course disappeared.

Interestingly enough, the idea of a school golf course for recreation and learning was resurrected in the postwar period.  In 1954, the lake was drained and the lake bed was leveled.  State funds for a new nine-hole golf course were obtained.  To generate interest for this instructional course, the school held a “gala” in 1957 that featured local golf pros playing the course.  To sustain the project, the course was designed to keep maintenance costs down and to bring golf into the curriculum.  Unlike the fate of the Depression-era course, the 1954 golf course functioned as a nine-hole course until the 1990s.  In 1999, the old golf course was transformed into a short-game practice facility (150 yard fairway, 2 holes and a bunker) to be used by the school’s golf teams as well as for physical education classes.

With the projected growth of the school in the 1960s, there was a strong need to expand residential housing on the campus.  Portions of Peabody Park was identified as a space for development.  Plans were drawn up.  In 1960, the Moore-Strong Residence Hall was built.  In 1963, the Reynolds Residence Hall and the Grogan Residence Hall were opened.  Upon learning of the construction of residences halls in Peabody Park, a number of former students wrote to Chancellor Otis Singletary in 1965 objecting to the University's building plans.  They insisted that this unique green space be preserved.  Despite these written protests, the University moved forward with its building plans and opened both the Cone Residence Hall and the Phillips-Hawkins Residence Hall in 1967.

The third and final installment of the story of Peabody Park will examine how the Park continued to evolve along with the University’s own growth.  The blog post will consider issues such as the 1990s student protests over planned campus expansion as well as the 2016 announcement for the construction of two wetlands sites within Peabody Park.  Stay Tuned! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Farming and Feeding the Campus

Looking at the current site of the Quad, you might never guess that it was once the home to a campus farm and dairy barn that supplied State Normal (now UNCG) with milk, pork, and produce. But in 1897 Charles Duncan McIver established the first campus farm on a newly-acquired plot of land on the western side of the campus. In addition to providing the school with food products, the farm also served as a teaching laboratory for horticulture classes.
Campus dairy farm (near site of current Aycock Street), 1922

Initially the farm was managed by Thomas L. Brown, an English horticulturalist who was then working at the Biltmore Estate. McIver, however, did not allow the farm to proceed without his direct supervision and impact. In fact, he bought much of the livestock himself. The campus also constructed a substantial dairy barn near the current site of Shaw Dormitory.

It took seven years (as well as Brown’s replacement and a reduction in the livestock herd) for the farm to begin turning a profit for the school. After 1904, however, the farm operations grew substantially. By 1910, the cattle produced more milk than the students could consume, allowing the college to sell and profit from the surplus.

Soon, however, campus expansion (specifically the newly-constructed Woman’s Dormitory) led administrators to search for new sites for the barn. In 1913, the livestock and their barn were moved further west, closer to Dairy Street (now Aycock Street).

Only four years later, however, the campus farm had proven too small for the growing student body, and the land it occupied was needed for other purposes. The Quad was carved out of the farm’s eastern side, and there were plans for a physical education building and golf course to occupy the remaining area. While the college had use of an additional farm southeast of Greensboro, it needed more space to produce more foodstuffs.

So, in 1923, president Foust purchased a 250-acre plot of land in Friendship Township about eight miles west of campus (near the current Piedmont Triad International Airport). Primarily, this site was used as a dairy farm, with Holstein cows providing milk for students and extra milk being sold to local dairies. The old campus barn was demolished, physical education facilities were constructed where the farm stood, and farming operations fully moved away from the immediate campus area.

During World War II, the campus experienced a shortage of workers for the farm. As a result, forty to fifty German prisoners of war were bused in daily from Winston-Salem to provide much-needed labor. Once American soldiers returned from overseas, however, the labor shortage continued. Foust and later president Walter Clinton Jackson were advised – but refused – to sell the farm as it began to lose money. Both cited distrust in the quality and quantity of milk available from local dairies as the primary reason for retaining the farm. But in 1945, ultimately the shortage of labor and high cost of animal feed led the College to sell the farm at auction.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer Studies at the Shore

On June 15, 1931, Archie D. Shaftesbury, Associate Professor of Zoology at the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG) wrote Mary Taylor Moor, the school's registrar, regarding a proposal "to conduct a three weeks summer term in zoology at Beaufort during this and succeeding summers." Shaftesbury emphasized that "it is our intention to reserve this work for certain selected students, rather than to open the course to classes of any considerable size." He asked Moore to quickly take the proposal to the "college credit committee" to ensure that students planning to participate that summer would be eligible for course credit.

Dr. Archie Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury's work to bring students to Beaufort for marine zoology study continued to develop, and, in 1934, student members of the school's Zoology Field Club actively joined in by writing their alumni members for support "in the establishment of our marine laboratory on the North Carolina coast." They asked that each former member pledge $10 ($5 in 1935 and $5 in 1936) to support the development of these research facilities. These efforts paid off. In 1935, work began on the construction of the "Carolina Marine Laboratory" in Beaufort. Previously, students had made use of local high school classrooms as well as U.S. Bureau of Fisheries laboratories and boats for their summer studies.

Beaufort continued to grow as a hub of marine research. In addition to the active U.S. Bureau of Fisheries facility and the newly-constructed NCCW laboratory, Duke University established a presence in the town in 1937 with the purchase of 11.5 acres to house a third research facility.

In 1938, the NCCW facility in Beaufort featured a course in Invertebrate Zoology, a class "designed for seriously minded advanced college students, high school teachers, and others who may be interested professionally in biology." An information pamphlet sent to prospective applicants to the course noted that "while the work is not a vacation in the ordinary sense, the experiences offer a pleasant change from the confines of the classroom and laboratory together with an unusual opportunity for observation and study." Classes were held between June 13 and July 9.

Biology students studying  at Beaufort, ca. 1940
That same summer, NCCW's presence in Beaufort expanded beyond marine research as the art department established a 26-day "summer colony" in the town. Gregory D. Ivy, head of the art department and manager of the "colony," proclaimed the project to be an "experiment." The academic work centered around coursework in "advanced landscape painting," which focused on "the theories and methods used by the post-impressionist cubists, and surrealists." It appears that this was indeed a limited experience, as the bulk of the NCCW use of Beaufort focused solely on marine biology. 

The 1961-1962 course bulletin contains the last direct reference to the Invertebrate Zoology course conducted at the Beaufort facility by Shaftesbury (who had become professor emeritus in 1959).

Monday, May 8, 2017

Separating the Sick from the Healthy: Early Campus Infirmaries

Students Suffering from the Mumps in the First Infirmary
In the summer of 1895, just three years after the opening the State Normal and Industrial School, (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro), the first infirmary was built. Previously, sick students had been housed in a single room in Brick Dormitory and cared for by campus physician, Dr. Anna Maria Gove, who made rounds of the dormitories twice daily. In emergencies, students were sent home to convalesce or to other dormitory rooms, but the close quarters made the spread of infectious diseases unavoidable. It became apparent that a free-standing building was required to meet the health needs of the school. Charles Duncan McIver, the school’s president and founder, also saw the wisdom of a separate building to keep the contagious students away from the well ones.

The First Campus Infirmary, Located on College Avenue
Dr. Gove advocated for a modern structure and was disappointed when the Superintendent of Grounds instead decided on a “dwelling house” plan to provide a restful, home-like environment in which the students could recover from sickness. Soon a small brick building was constructed on College Avenue next to Guilford Residence Hall. Sometimes referred to as “Little Guilford,” the building was large enough to house offices for a physician and a nurse, as well as five bedrooms and several baths. If there were epidemics that necessitated a quarantine, the adjacent dormitory was used for additional beds.
 
As the student population grew, plans emerged for a larger campus infirmary. These plans were realized in 1912, with the construction of a new building on Forest Street. Considered modern by 1912 standards, the infirmary’s blueprint included three floors accessed by an elevator. The plan incorporated twenty-nine bedrooms with baths on the first and second floors, as well as exercise rooms, and “sun parlors.” There was also a “quarantine wing” which was separated from the main structure by a latticed porch to allow for cross ventilation. The first floor was large enough for a sitting room, the physician’s office, and “resting rooms” for students who did not live on campus.

A Postcard Showing Gove Infirmary, Located on Forest Street
Additionally, the basement held examination rooms, the incinerator, and the “fumigating room,” where infected clothing was processed. The kitchen was on the third floor, in which food was prepared and sent down to the lower levels by dumbwaiter. Excited by the prospect of a new campus infirmary, students and alumnae held a “linen shower,” to provide new sheets and towels. On May 30, 1936, the infirmary was named in honor of Dr. Gove, who had been the campus physician since 1893. 

Gove Infirmary in the 1950s
By the 1950s, the infirmary building was considered outdated, and it was decided that a larger heath center, with more modern conveniences, was needed. In 1953, a new infirmary, located on Gray Drive, was completed and named the following year for Dr. Gove, who had retired from the college in 1937. After the “Old Infirmary,” ceased to function as the school’s health center, it was mysteriously leased by the federal government for “classified” purposes. Finally, the building was used for graduate student houses and offices until it was razed in 1965.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Frank Porter Graham

Frank Porter Graham was born on October 14, 1886 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 1909, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with a degree in law and went on to earn his graduate degree in history from Columbia University in 1916. Graham’s teaching career began as a high school English instructor from 1911-1913 at a school in Raleigh, N.C.. After two years of teaching, Graham returned to Chapel Hill to become the secretary of the local YMCA. He was given a position at UNC as an instructor in history in 1914 and later volunteered for the Marine Corps in 1916, going on to serve in World War I.

After returning home from the war in 1919, Graham continued his career at UNC-Chapel Hill as an assistant professor of history, earning the rank of associate professor in 1925, and full professor in 1927. While at UNC, Graham was a member of the President’s Committee on Education and served as the president of the North Carolina Conference of Social Service. He also founded the Citizen’s Library Movement of North Carolina.

In 1930, Graham was named President of the University of North Carolina. Two year later, the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), North Carolina State College, and the Woman’s College (now UNCG) merged to create the University of North Carolina System. Graham was appointed president of this new organization and served in the role from 1932 until 1949. During his tenure, Graham was known for his intensive lobbying for the continued financial support from the government for universities in North Carolina.

However, his term was not without some controversy. A year after his appointment, Graham traveled to Greensboro, N.C. for the first time to meet with the president of the Woman’s College, Dr. Julius Foust. It was documented that the two men did not agree on the future path of the college. Eventually, Graham called for Foust’s retirement due to his own feelings and recommendations from trustees and faculty members.

During World War II, Graham devoted a lot of his time to public service. He was a member of the National Defense Mediation Board (1941-1942), National War Labor Board, and Maritime War Emergency Board (1942-1946). Following the war, he was appointed to the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in 1946 and in 1947, President Truman asked Graham to serve as the U.S. Representative on the United Nations Committee of Good Offices on the Dutch-Indonesian dispute.
On March 6, 1949, North Carolina U.S. Senator J. Melville Broughton died from a massive heart attack. In filling the vacant seat created by his death, North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott appointed Graham to the position. His tenure would be short, serving from March 29, 1949 and until November 26, 1950. Graham ran for the senate seat the follow election, but was unsuccessful in his bid. 

In 1951, while serving as defense manpower administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor, Graham was appointed as a United Nations mediator for the dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir boundary. He would devote the remainder of his active political life to the Kashmir dispute before returning to Chapel Hill and retiring in 1967.

Frank Porter Graham died February 16, 1972 in Chapel Hill. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

The History of UNCG’s May Day Tiara

*This blog was written by Salem Academy student Alexaya McKelvey as part of her January Term Internship with the University Libraries at UNCG.

May Day - the celebration of a new season for crops, new beginnings, and the crowning of spring royalty. In 1904, The State Normal and Industrial School, now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, held their first ever May Day celebration, which consisted of performances of Shakespearean plays, musical processions, and dancing around flower covered poles to merry music. These celebrations were important not only for the girls and women who gained confidence in their reenactments, but also for the surrounding community to see the range of talents possessed by the students of the state-sponsored college.

The May Day Tiara

As time passed, State Normal grew in number and size, and the school's administration decided to exclude some of the larger celebratory practices and focus their attention on exemplary girls within their college. The crowning of the May Day Queen became an important event starting in 1929, when the May Day festival became less centered on various plays and processionals and began to highlight the women who attended the prominent all-women’s college.

May Day Court, 1929


The archives possesses the first photograph depicting the May Day Queen and her ladies in waiting. She wears a crown of flowers, giving her an angelic and innocent styling that mirrored a bride preparing for her wedding with her bridesmaids. For the next four years, the Queen of the festival was named but did not wear a tiara. In 1934, a traditional flower crown was given. However, in both 1935 and 1936, a small embellished hat was given to the most important woman in the celebrations.

1940 May Day Queen, Virginia Ambrose
Finally, in 1940, the official May Day Queen Tiara was presented to a young woman who was meant to represent the best aspects of her sisters in her school - Virginia Ambrose. Though a few ladies chose to wear a flower crown in the next years, the tiara reappeared in 1947 and continued to be worn until the May Day celebrations cease to exist in 1955. The May Day tiara is now part of the University Archives Artifact Collection.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Warren Ashby

Warren Ashby was born in Newport News, Virginia on May 15, 1920. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Maryville College in 1939, his Bachelors of Divinity degree in Christian Ethics and Social Problems from Yale University in 1942, and his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Religion and Philosophy, also from Yale, in 1947.

Ashby teaching, 1969
Ashby began his teaching career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1947 before transferring to the Woman’s College (now UNCG) in 1949 to be an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy. Ordained as a Methodist minister, Ashby specialized in Western Ethics and was known to sometimes officiate wedding ceremonies for his students. In 1958, he was promoted to full professor. Following his interest in the life of UNC President Frank Graham, Ashby took a research leave from the college in 1960 to begin collecting materials for an upcoming biography.
Upon his return to Woman’s College in 1961, Ashby continued teaching in the Department of Philosophy. In 1966, he was appointed director of the UNCG honors program and would serve in that role until 1970 when he became the Director of the Residential College (later renamed in his honor in 2007). Ashby’s long standing service to the university was formally acknowledged in 1967 when he received the UNCG Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.  He was recognized again in 1982 with the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award which honors faculty and staff who have provided outstanding leadership and service to the university.

Along with his distinguished teaching career, Ashby was known as a leading advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in Greensboro. He often held group meetings at his house with students from Woman’s College, Greensboro College and Bennett College to discuss the current social and political climate. In 1955, when it was considered dangerous for a white male to speak out in favor of civil rights in the South, Ashby wrote a letter to the editor of the Greensboro Daily News strongly endorsing an integrated public education. That same year, Ashby led a “faculty council resolution” supporting desegregation of UNC campuses. In the 1960s, during Greensboro’s civil rights demonstrations, Ashby served on several biracial committees “seeking racial harmony in the city.” He continued to push for complete desegregation on the university level through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1971, he advocated for a quota system that would guarantee minority employment.

Dr. Warren Ashby died October 3, 1985.

Other notable accomplishments of Dr. Warren Ashby:

• Ford Fellowship for Princeton University in Hartford College (1952-1953)

• Consultant for the National Family Life Education Project (ASHA) (1953-1955)

• President of the Family Service-Travelers Aid Association of Greensboro (1958)

• Consultant/Associate Director for Southern Student Human Relations Summer Seminars at Ohio State University and the University of Illinois (1958-1959)

• Director of the International Conferences and Seminars program for Southern Asia in the International Affairs Divisions of the American Friends Service Committee (1964-1966)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fighting to Make a Statement: The Struggle for UNCG's Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Clause


68 page nondiscrimination petition with 1045 signatures signed
by UNCG faculty, staff, and students
Last week (April, 4 2017), the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that LGBTQ+ employees are protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is the first time a federal appeals court has ruled in favor (voting 8-3) of applying federal protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Previously, the Act only protected individuals from discrimination based on color, national origin, race, religion, or sex (the argument is that sex additionally should cover sexual orientation). This decision, which will likely be debated before the Supreme Court, is a startling reminder that for decades, there has been no legal protection for an employee being fired or a student receiving unfair treatment for being a member of the LGBTQ+ communities. This case was heard in relation to the case of Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College. Kimberly Hively, an instructor at Ivy Tech Community College, who happens to be a lesbian, maintains that she was denied full time employment by the college because of her sexual orientation (please note, the April 4th, 2017 court ruling is a separate factual question from the Lively case).[1] The college claims the campus nondiscrimination policy prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. This struggle for sexual orientation nondiscrimination versus avoidance of implementing legally-binding policies has been a battle on college and university campuses for many years, including the campus of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).    
   
In a 1992 The Chronicle of Higher Education article about campus climate for faculty, John D’Emilio, a UNCG faculty in the Department of History at the time, stated “I think it safe to say I’m the person on campus who is most openly gay. On a very personal level, it’s fine… But although there is not an overtly hostile climate, there’s not much of a welcoming climate either. Because, if there was, there would be more openly gay faculty members and the University would have certain policies it doesn’t have. There might be courses that don’t exist now. It would be nice to have a faculty and staff group. I don’t think nondiscrimination or benefits policies will be under discussion until a group forms.”[2]

It was not until four years later, in 1996, that the UNCG Faculty Senate would debate the inclusion of a nondiscrimination policy for the campus. Contrary to D’Emilio’s prediction, it was not an LGBTQ+ faculty group that would bring the issue before the faculty and the chancellor (Patricia Sullivan), but three students concerned with the state of equity on the campus. After the unanimous passing of a nondiscrimination clause by the UNCG Student Senate, three lesbian students, Alesha Daughtrey, Jessica Stine, and Mandy Vetter, approached the Faculty Senate in spring of 1996 to approve a similar nondiscrimination statement.[3]  Of the sixteen UNCG campuses, ten already had adopted policies of nondiscrimination against school employees and students by 1996.[4] As UNCG was known to be an LGBTQ+-friendly university, it was thought that the resolution would pass through the Faculty Senate with approval quickly, however, the subject proved to be to be too complex and too volatile to be accepted without conflict.

According to the News and Record, some faculty expressed homophobic apprehensions about what would happen to the University if a policy protected someone based on sexual orientation,

At least one professor who voted against the measure feared the term ‘sexual orientation’ could be interpreted to include people with deviant sexual habits, such as pedophiles. Another professor said it could force the university to set up a quota system for hiring gays and lesbians” and that the policy was “unjustifiable, unworkable, [and] illegal.”[5]

UNCG Faculty Senate Chair, Charles Tisdale, who was reported as one of the few faculty members voting in support of a nondiscrimination policy, responded to such remarks, saying, “Nobody wants to face the moral issue, so they use the legal issue as a smoke screen.”[6]

Certainly, the potential legal ramifications of adopting a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation, as described by the University Counsel of the time Lucien Capone III, were substantial. In a letter to Charles Tisdale, Capone states, “I want to reiterate at the outset that I personally support the notion that we ought not discriminate against anyone simply because of his or her sexual orientation. Rather, my concern is for the unintended consequences that may result if we attempt to formalize the philosophy into legally enforceable policies.”[7] There were two legal arguments brought to attention. One of the consequences Capone foresaw was that if the university created a policy protecting a classification of people not recognized by federal or state statutes, other groups with non-protected status could demand special treatment by UNCG.[8] At the Faculty Senate hearing for a nondiscrimination policy, Capone mentioned that the elevation of a non-protected group, such as one based on sexual orientation, might lead to such groups as “the KKK, skinheads, Nazis” or even smokers petitioning for special protection on campus.[9]  

Additionally, Capone argued that setting a policy protecting people based on sexual orientation may result in the University having to offer domestic partnership benefits. As gay and lesbian marriage was illegal at the time, University Counsel feared having a sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy would force UNCG to offer spousal benefits to “domestic partnerships [which] have no legal status leaving the University in a nether world of practically unanswerable questions.”[10]

When asked about Capone’s legal concerns relating to the implementation of a nondiscrimination policy, UNC System legal counsel, Richard Robinson, felt the arguments were alarmist. In relation to the potential for a gay and lesbian hiring quota, UNC Counsel argued that a nondiscrimination policy is not the same as an affirmative action policy, posing no threat to interfering with faculty recruitment. Robinson maintained that although any given group may ask for special treatment from a faculty senate or chancellor, no college or university could be forced to accept a policy for a non-state or federally protected group. Finally, on the subject of partnership benefits, “That kind of benefit-sharing is based on marital status, and as long as state law limits that kind to spouses then that really takes it off the screen.”[11]

After two failed votes by the UNCG Faculty Senate, James V. Carmichael Jr., Professor in the Library and Information Studies Department and member of the Equal Opportunity – Intergroup Relations Committee, presented the revised proposal for a non-legally binding anti-discrimination statement to UNCG Faculty Senate on November 2, 1996. Carmichael provided remarks in the stead of Novem Mason, Chair of the Committee, as Mason and Carmichael agreed that it was appropriate, “since I [Carmichael] am a gay faculty member… who called this perhaps the most significant even in the history of the university over the past 20 years.”[12] Carmichael, one of the few “out” faculty at UNCG at the time noted in his remarks,

While I am tenured, I know many faculty members who still feel threatened… For these individuals, silence and assimilation represent the better part of wisdom, and perhaps they are right… But stoicism has its perils, too… I urge the Senate to pass this proposed statement not only for the self-interest of a largely invisible minority, but so that this university may go on record as a leader in sensitivity to human rights. Given our history as a women’s institution, we should foster tolerance with adamant conviction.”[13]

Supporting Carmichael’s remarks, Joy Brown, an undergraduate student in the Department of Social Work, provided remarks and presented a sixty-eight page petition with 1045 signatures of UNCG faculty, staff, and students who supported the resolution. Brown was moved to begin this petition process after reading a News and Record article about the debacle, being, “shocked and embarrassed that the university that I take so much pride in would turn its back on guaranteeing the rights of some of its students.”[14]

After two previous attempts, a statement of nondiscrimination was voted in favor of unanimously by the Faculty Senate. It was approved by Chancellor Sullivan by the end of November 1996. Regarding this non-binding statement, Seth Tezyk, head of UNCG’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Student Association remarked, “I think it was a relief to pass it and say, ‘OK, let’s get our foot in the door.”[15] The nondiscrimination statement stands today, unchanged from its 1996 introduction, though state and federal conditions have changed for the LGBTQ+ communities. The North Carolina state health plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield began offering coverage for same-sex couples and all domestic partners as of 2014, and on June 26, 2015 the US Supreme Court ruled gay marriage was constitutionally protected, affording the potential for additional spousal benefits to the UNCG community. With the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement has made definitive progress, far beyond the putting “our foot in the door” of 1996.         





[1] Tarm, Michael. “Gay rights organizations hail court ruling as ‘game changer’.” AP News, 5 April, 2017, https://apnews.com/1250634e4f434d2ca02a0f8f1674e624. Accessed 5 April, 2017.
[2] Mooney, Carolyn J. “Gay men and lesbians talk about campus climate.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 Sept. 1992, p. A19.
[3] Carmichael, James V. Remarks by James V. Carmichael (Former Member, Equal Opportunity/Intergroup Relations Committee), November 6, 1996, p.1.
[4] The nondiscrimination policies across the ten institution were difference in format and none were legally binding. Six of the schools had policies/statements implemented by their Faculty Senate and four with a Chancellor’s statement.
Myers, Jane. "Memorandum: Resolution for Revision of UNCG's Non Discriminatory Policies and Practices." Letter to Charles Tisdale. 27 Sept. 1996. MS. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina. (from UNCG Archives Sexual Orientation Subject file)
[5] McMurtrie, Beth. “UNCG balks at sex-orientation policy.” Greensboro News and Record, 6 Oct. 1996, p. B1.
[6] Ibid,
[7] Capone, Lucien III. "Sexual Orientation Discrimination." Letter to Charles Tisdale. 27 Sept. 1996. MS. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, p. 1 (from UNCG Archives Sexual Orientation Subject File)
[8] Capone, Lucien III. "Sexual Orientation Discrimination." Letter to Charles Tisdale. 27 Sept. 1996. MS. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, p. 3 (from UNCG Archives Sexual Orientation Subject File)
[9] McMurtrie, Beth. “UNCG balks at sex-orientation policy.” Greensboro News and Record, 6 Oct. 1996, p. B1.
[10] Capone, Lucien III. "Sexual Orientation Discrimination." Letter to Charles Tisdale. 27 Sept. 1996. MS. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, p. 3 (from UNCG Archives Sexual Orientation Subject File)
[11] McMurtrie, Beth. “UNCG balks at sex-orientation policy.” Greensboro News and Record, 6 Oct. 1996, p. B1.
[12] Carmichael, James V. Remarks by James V. Carmichael (Former Member, Equal Opportunity/Intergroup Relations Committee), November 6, 1996, p.1.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Brown, Joy. “[Remarks], November 6, 1996, p.1
[15] Associated Press. “Not binding in hiring; UNCG senate backs homosexual rights.” Star-News (Wilmington, NC), 8 Nov. 1996, p.6B.