The chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill retired the school's highest award for women after determining it commemorated a woman who supported white supremacist ideas.
The Bell Award, set up 10 years ago during the university's bicentennial celebration, honored Cornelia Phillips Spencer
, who was perhaps best known in North Carolina as the woman who tolled the South Building bell to signal the reopening of the university in 1875 after a political shutdown.
, a community activist and UNC-CH graduate student researching black freedom and the university, started a protest against the award two years ago.
Spencer played a key role in closing the university in 1871, ending a Reconstruction effort to open the university to black students, Chapman
Her tolling of the bell, often seen as a symbol of her love for the university, could also be interpreted as her celebration of "the white supremacist" Democrats' return to power.
"It was a difficult decision," Moeser
said Thursday. "It was not my first impulse, but upon reflection, with what we now know, I decided it was the right thing to do."
wanted a review of the university's named buildings, awards and how it tells its history in addition to the scrapping of the Bell Award.