Saunders Hall

Donelle Boose on institutional pressure and preservation

Excerpt Description: Donelle Boose explains that the need for institutional self-preservation operates against student activism.


Interviewee Name: 
Donelle Boose

Interviewer: Charlotte Fryar

Excerpt Transcript: “I think that institutions try to preserve themselves. I think that’s, like, I learned it first at Carolina and I learned it, certainly, right, in my other experiences at other institutions. They try to preserve themselves, and they can preserve themselves in what I think, to be a very negative state, right? I think the Carolina’s resistance to the removal of Silent Sam is because they feel like it might be bad for us institutionally, in terms of, like, economics, right, so maybe let’s not do that. We might make our donors unhappy, right? And so institutions have that thrust, and so I think if you’re a student activist, you want to think about, like, well, what’s the counter-thrust that you need in order to push the university into a position of justice. I think about universities, UNC is not all that different from the United States as an institution, right? It does things that are positive for people who are oppressed when it’s compelled to do so and not before then, you know. And so you organize and figure out what’s the problem that you see and how is it affecting people and try to think thoughtfully about how you can apply the appropriate counter-pressure to the institution. I think that’s the case for UNC too.”

Organization: Campaign for Historical Accuracy and Truth

Excerpt Length: 1:20

Interview Date: 11/17/2017

Interview Location: Washington, D.C.

Campus Space: Saunders Hall

Citation:  Interview with Donelle Boose by Charlotte Fryar, 17 November 2017, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.