October 4, 2023
Regarding Designating Juneteenth an Official University Holiday
WHEREAS, it is the stated mission of the Employee Forum to seek out and address constructively issues affecting Staff, Faculty, and Students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill); and
WHEREAS, June 19th, or Juneteenth, holds significant historical and cultural importance, marking the day when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached unlawfully enslaved African Americans in Texas on June 19, 1865—two and a half years after it was issued; and
WHEREAS, Juneteenth has been widely recognized and celebrated as a holiday across the United States, symbolizing not only the end of slavery, but the ongoing struggle and hope for civil rights and equality; and
WHEREAS, on June 16-17, 2021, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, designating Juneteenth a legal public holiday, was passed by the 117th United States Congress (June 16) and signed into law by the 46th President of the United States (June 17); and
WHEREAS, on June 6, 2022, the 75th Governor of North Carolina signed Executive Order 262, providing up to eight hours of paid Personal Observance Leave per calendar year for employees of Cabinet Agencies to acknowledge Juneteenth or another day of personal, religious, or cultural significance and, at the same time, encouraged other state agencies, commissions, boards, or offices to adopt the policy for their personnel, but did not deem Juneteenth a state holiday; and
WHEREAS, on June 14, 2022, in accordance with Executive Order 262, the 7th President of the University of North Carolina (UNC) System and 12th Chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill authorized up to eight hours of Personal Observance Leave per calendar year for UNC-Chapel Hill employees, but did not deem Juneteenth a University holiday; and
WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina provides 12 paid holidays per calendar year, and The Office of State Personnel allows each UNC System campus to establish its own holiday schedule, provided that the total number of paid holidays per calendar year is the same as other State agencies; and
WHEREAS, Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, National Freedom Day, and America’s Second Independence Day, represents “America’s dedication to the cause of freedom” as well as a “[recommitment]…to the work of equity, equality, and justice” and should be held in the same regard as Independence Day (July 4th) and Martin Luther King Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January); and
WHEREAS, local governments, schools, and communities observe Juneteenth, the University should also acknowledge this day of national and cultural significance; and
WHEREAS, by designating Juneteenth a campus holiday, the University would be demonstrating its commitment to the first strategic initiative of Carolina Next, the University’s Strategic Plan, to “invest in policies, systems, and infrastructure that promote belonging, community and benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion;” now therefore be it…
“RESOLVED that the Employee Forum and Carolina Black Caucus at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill calls on University leadership to:”
- Use all authority and flexibility the University has under North Carolina law, administrative code, and policy to recognize Juneteenth as an official University holiday in lieu of an existing holiday, and allow the replaced holiday to become a well-being day for students, with employees encouraged to take personal observance leave on that designated well-being day.
- Encourage all members of the University community to actively participate in Juneteenth celebrations and engage in dialogue about the significance of this historic day.
- Promote events, educational programs, and activities that commemorate Juneteenth and foster an inclusive and supportive environment for Staff, Faculty, Students, and the wider community.
- Advocate for the recognition of Juneteenth as a state holiday in North Carolina.
- Collaborate with other educational institutions, community organizations, and advocacy groups to raise awareness about the historical significance of Juneteenth and the importance of recognizing it as a state holiday.
Signed on behalf of The Employee Forum and the Carolina Black Caucus at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Carolina Black Caucus, Chair