Arrington v. Taylor: The Daily Tar Heel and Student Activity Fees

The Daily Tar Heel (DTH,) founded as the Tar Heel by the UNC Athletic Association in 1893, has long been a staple of life at UNC. However, the student paper faced a significant legal challenge to its finances and operations in the 1970s.

Since the 1920s, the Daily Tar Heel had been partially funded by mandatory student fees. On July 25, 1972, four UNC students filed suit against the Chancellor of the University, the President of the Consolidated University, the Chancellor for Business and Finance, the Board of Trustees, and the Board of Governors alleging that the use of student activity fees to finance the Daily Tar Heel violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments. These students argued that they were being forced to endorse the opinions and political candidates supported in print by the Daily Tar Heel despite being contrary to their personal beliefs. The students believed that anyone who disagreed with the opinions published by the Daily Tar Heel should have the corresponding portion of their student fees returned and have the option not to financially support the student newspaper. As plaintiffs, the students provided a long and detailed list of every opinion the DTH published with which they disagreed:

60. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken by The Daily Tar Heel concerning the adoption of a Chapel Hill and Carrboro Bus System, the use of busing to integrate public school, James C. Gardner, Spiro T. Agnew, The United States intervention in Cambodia, the impeachment and removal of Richard M. Nixon, the appointment of William H. Rehnquist, the death penalty, the Equal Rights Amendment, student strikes, Food Worker’s strikes, protests against the war in Southeast Asia, and abortion….

62. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken by The Daily Tar Heel concerning the National Student Association, and the continued subsidization of The Daily Tar Heel.

63. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken reportorially by The Daily Tar Heel concerning United States intervention in Cambodia, the Vietnam Moratorium, the Equal Rights Amendment, the lettuce boycott, student political polls, the Black Student Movement, the DTH Legal Defense Fund, and civil liberties in Pitt County.

64. The plaintiffs disagree with the positions taken in and through signed columns in The Daily Tar Heel concerning the Equal Rights Amendment, revolutionary activity, and Wilbur Hobby.

[Robert Lane Arrington, et al. v. Ferebee Taylor, William Friday et al. – Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Opinion, from Assistants to the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Susan H. Ehringhaus Records, 1964-1985, #40031, University Archives]

The judge hearing the case ultimately ruled that no constitutional rights were being violated. He based this on the fact that while the DTH “advocates positions on various matters,” the paper “speaks only for those which control its content at any given time” and does not purport to speak for the entire student body. Further the judge stated that “The Daily Tar Heel‘s position on a given subject is no more attributable to (and therefore imposed upon) plaintiffs than is the position of the Federal Government on South Vietnam attributable to each of the citizens who annually pay their federal taxes.” While the judge ruled against the student plaintiffs in 1974, the case was subsequently appealed, and a second group of students later filed a nearly identical suit that lasted into the 1980s.

In 1977, a student body referendum created a constitutional amendment that guaranteed the Daily Tar Heel 16% of the Student Activity Fees.

[1997 Authorization of a Referendum on DTH Student Activity Fees, from Student Government of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1919-2011, #40169, University Archives]

In 1989, the DTH incorporated as an educational 501c(3) non-profit entity, separate from the University. In 1993, the Daily Tar Heel ceased being financed by student activity fees and became wholly independent from the University. Such financial independence had long been a goal of the Daily Tar Heel, being described as a “gradual process” in a 1973 Daily Tar Heel article that asked for help funding their legal defense in the Arrington v. Taylor suit.


Daily Tar Heel, 15 September 1973. Image via

For more on the history of the DTH, see the Daily Tar Heel’s timeline.

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Major New Addition to UNC News Services Photos Now Online

We are pleased to announce that a major new addition to the UNC News Services collection is now available for research. The new addition, which came in a few years ago, contains more than 60,000 images, primarily photos taken by longtime campus photographer Dan Sears. Not only is it open for research, but all of the digital photos are freely available online through the Carolina Digital Repository.

The News Services department at UNC is responsible for most of the official communications coming from the campus: press releases, photos, and the University Gazette. The collection, which contains records going back as far as 1924, is a terrific resource for anyone looking for information about and images of UNC people, places, and events.  There are photos of chancellors, faculty, graduationsspeeches, prominent visitors, and, of course, scenic views of the Old Well (the collection has lots of photos of the Old Well).

The recent addition covers the years 1997 through 2012 and includes photos taken for the University Gazette as well as general images for campus publications and news releases. Researchers can access the digital images directly from the finding aid by clicking on the link for “digital folder,” which takes them to the repository, where high-resolution images are available for viewing and download:

digital folder

The recent additions, along with all of the photos in the News Services collection, are freely available for research and educational uses. Permission from the News Services department is required for any commercial use.

These photos are available for research thanks to the hard work of Patrick Cullom and his colleagues in the archival technical services department in Wilson Library, and the staff of the Carolina Digital Repository.

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What is it that binds us to this speech? Charles Kuralt’s 1993 UNC Bicentennial Address

“What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls . . . ” – Charles Kuralt

These words, spoken in Charles Kuralt’s iconic voice, will be familiar to anyone who has watched a UNC sporting event on TV the past few years. The speech provides the background narrative to the promotional spots run by the university during televised football and basketball games. This speech was given by Kuralt on October 12, 1993, during the celebration of UNC’s bicentennial.

Kuralt (class of 1955) began his journalism career as a student at UNC. He was editor of the Daily Tar Heel and did some of his earliest broadcast work with WUNC radio. During a long career with CBS in New York, he was known nationwide for his On the Road segments on the evening news and later as the anchor of CBS Sunday Morning.

Kuralt, a native of Wilmington, never lost touch with North Carolina. He wrote about the state in his book North Carolina is My Home and was an active alumnus, frequently returning to Chapel Hill and remaining an avid fan of Tar Heel basketball. Kuralt was the featured speaker at the 1985 graduation ceremony, during which he talked about the importance of UNC for the rest of the state: “And so, in concentric circles, as if from a pebble tossed from a pool, the influence of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill moves outward to the farthest corners of our state, and far beyond its boundaries.”

(Charles Kuralt’s speech during commencement 1985, from the Charles Kuralt Collection, 1935-1997, #04882, Southern Historical Collection.)


Kuralt expanded on this theme, and on his own deep appreciation for UNC, in his 1993 address, delivered in Kenan Stadium before a large audience that included President Bill Clinton and Governor Jim Hunt. In a memorable opening, Kuralt said “I speak for all of us who could not afford to go to Duke, and would not have, even if we could have afforded it.”

The now famous lines from the TV commercials come early in the speech: “What is it that binds us to this place as no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. Or the crisp October nights or the memory of dogwoods blooming. Our loyalty is not only to William Richardson Davie, though we are proud of what he did 200 years ago today. Not even to Dean Smith, though we are proud of what he did last March. No, our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, as it was meant to be, the University of the people.”

A video of Kuralt’s address is available online from UNC-TV (his speech begins at 11:30 into the recording). The full text, from a book about the bicentennial, is here:

Charles Kuralt’s Speech During the Bicentennial Observance Opening Ceremonies [Tepper, Steven J. The Chronicles of the Bicentennial Observance of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1st ed. Chapel Hill: The University, 1998: 219-220.]

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“Feign an Intelligent Understanding”: The Research Club

In 1914, professors Joseph Hyde Pratt and George Howe founded the Research Club.  This club met once a year during the last week of October and gave its members, all of whom were professors, the opportunity to present humorous or satirical mock research papers on strange and farcical topics.  At its first meeting, Pratt outlined the club’s long, mysterious (and fictitious) history.

Howe provided ten rules and regulations that governed the club.

Reseach club 0003Among its members (or “illuminati”), the Research club boasted three UNC-Chapel Hill Presidents: Francis Venable, Edward Kidder Graham, Harry W. Chase.

Some years, club members focused on specific themes or topics.  At the 1915 meeting, each professor contributed a paper describing the point of view of a country engaged in the first World War. All of the works presented during the 1916 meeting were written in poetic verse. For the 1917 meeting, the club produced a nearly 70-page novel titled The Laundry Ticket: A Story of Love and Adventure, for which each professor contributed a chapter.

The Research Club continued to meet until 1921.

Materials used in this post are from the Research Club of the University of North Carolina Records (#40193).

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Farewell, Electronic Records Archivist Lawrence Giffin

In December, UARMS bid a fond farewell to Electronic Records Archivist Lawrence Giffin as he departed UNC for a new opportunity at the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City.

Lawrence first joined the University Archives staff in 2011, serving as Records Services Archivist from 2011 to 2014. He returned to UARMS in 2015 as Electronic Records Archivist, and since then has done much to advance our policies and procedures surrounding the collection and preservation of born digital records. He will be greatly missed here in UARMS, and we wish him all the best!

Please direct inquiries about electronic records to University Archivist Nicholas Graham at or (919) 962-0043.



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January 1925: UNC Faces the Poole Resolution

(from the University of North Carolina Papers, #40005, University Archives)

Telegram from President Chase asking for help to defeat the Poole resolution (from the University of North Carolina Papers, #40005, University Archives)

On January 8, 1925, David Scott Poole from Hoke County introduced a resolution in the North Carolina State Legislature stating:

“That it is the sense of the General Assembly of North Carolina  that it is injurious to the welfare of the people of the State of North Carolina for any official or teacher in the State, paid wholly or in part by taxation, to teach or permit to be taught as a fact either Darwinism or any other evolutionary hypothesis that links men in blood relationship with any lower form of life.”

(North Carolina General Assembly, “Joint Resolution Restricting the Teaching of Darwinism in the Public Schools of North Carolina”)

This resolution was the culmination of at least five years of increasing debate over the teaching and learning of evolution in public schools. In 1920, the President of Wake Forest University, William L. Poteat, accepted the teaching of evolution as part of Wake Forest’s biology curriculum. At the same time, President Henry W. Chase and Dr. Howard Odum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sought to increase the scope of the academic research done at the school. Social Forces, a journal founded by Odum in 1922, published several articles on the issue of religion and academic freedom. The John Calvin McNair Lecture Series, which was founded in 1906 and focused on the relationship of science and theology, also hosted talks on this topic in the years leading up to the resolution.

For the university community, and President Chase in particular, the issue of teaching evolution was not one of religion but freedom of speech and the freedom to teach the “scientific truth”. President Chase vigorously defended the fact that the University of North Carolina was not trying to suppress religion in its schools. Instead, religious activities and studies were actively encouraged and supported by the university. What President Chase objected to was the interference of political agendas in teaching.

“The state of North Carolina has shown that it believes in the free thought and discussion necessary to secure the advancement of the knowledge in the world. I have simply tried to point out that such freedom does not produce an atmosphere of indifference to religion, that, as the unrestricted right to seek for truth, it is the vital and essential thing to which a University must be dedicated. Scientific truth has never, in the long run, done the slightest harm to religious faith, but has on the contrary widened and deepened that faith.”

(Vol. II 1923-30, page 290, in the Harry Woodburn Chase Papers, #3429, Southern Historical Collection)

President Chase and his allies helped to defeat the resolution in committee. It also failed when brought to the full General Assembly for a vote.

For more on the anti-evolution debate see: “The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina in the 1920s”, an online exhibit provided by UNC Libraries.

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“Visions of Tomorrow With Computers of Today”: UNC’s First Computer in 1959

Computer_Center_SketchThe process of acquiring the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s first computer began with a 1951 memorandum from William M. Whyburn, then Kenan Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Department Chairman, to Chancellor R.B. House. Whyburn became interested in digital computing during a conversation with mathematicians at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he did consulting work. By 1952, an effort to canvas the campus for interest in digital computing began, which resulted in a 1955 letter to Chancellor House from Dean of the General College Corydon Spruill listing eight academic departments with interest in a digital computer: Economics, Business Administration, Mathematics, Mathematical Statistics, Bio-statistics, Psychology and Psychometrics, and Physics.

With widespread interest established, the administration began seriously considering the type, cost, and location of the computer. In 1955, the estimated cost of a computer was 1.5 million dollars with Venable Hall, the Phillips Hall Annex, and Hanes or Gardner being considered to house the new device. The Phillips Hall Annex was ultimately chosen to house the computer and the accompanying Computation Center. It was also in 1955 that the U.S. Bureau of the Census expressed interest in partnering with UNC to process the upcoming 1960 census data. By 1957, negotiations with both IBM and the Sperry Rand Corporation had entered full swing, with Whyburn remarking, “competition is so keen that either of them will now make tremendous concessions in favor of the University.” In a 1957 report on the Computer Laboratory Project, Whyburn, then serving as Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research of the Consolidated University, gave a sweeping introduction to the digital computer:

Man’s efforts in the field of computation began long before the dawn of history. His progress in this basic endeavor has been a most important factor in, and index to, the advancement of his civilization. The first high-speed computer that we know of consisted of such body appendages as the fingers. The abacus was developed quite early and even today remains an indispensable computing machine for a large segment of the world’s population and in many of the business transactions of the present period. In the development from the fingers through the abacus, the simple adding machine, the slide rule, and the desk calculator with automatic operations and limited storage, to the fantastic digital and analog computers of the present time is to be found the history of a major part of our civilization. Wherever quantitative thinking, speaking, writing, or action is involved, services of computing devices are required. The depth and scope of these quantitative activities are determined, in a large measure, by the versatility, speed, and other attributes of the computing facilities used.

UNC ultimately decided to acquire a UNIVAC 1105 from the Sperry-Rand Corporation due to a large 50% educational discount and being able to own the machine outright versus renting one from IBM. The computer weighed 19 tons and had an estimated value of $2.4 million, which, adjusting for inflation, would today be over $20 million. The Census Bureau and National Science Foundation were the first organizations to rent time on the computer, with the former also paying 50% of the total cost.

Lecture_PamphletIn the summer of 1959, the Computation Center held a series of lectures introducing the new digital computer. These “Courses in Frontier Research in Digital Computers” covered subjects such as programming and artificial intelligence and numerical analysis. These courses drew researchers from across the world, including two lecturers from the Soviet Union. The Computation Center was officially dedicated on March 30, 1960.


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“Throwing the Sand from the Spit-box”: More Student Misconduct, 1841-1847

Last month, we shared a selection of student infractions from the misconduct ledger for the 1840 academic year, found in the Office of the Registrar Records (#40131). Today we’re breaking out the ledger for 1841-1847 for a fresh batch of unusual misbehavior.


“Watson – whittling a stick at Evening prayers”

ruffin“Tos. Ruffin – calling a Dog into Rec[itation] Room”

lucas“Lucas – throwing the sand from the spit-box”

larcy“Larcy [?]- Throwing acorns, or other missiles in the chapel on Sunday”

hooker“Hooker – taking seat by the fire and stubbornly refusing to leave upon repeated commands to do so”

holmes“L. Holmes, Shepherd – Playing at chess during study-hours”

brevard“E.J Brevard, Murphy, Wilson, Donohs., Thomas – Engaged in very unbecoming amusement on Tuesday afternoon”

caldwell“Caldwell – crying like a sheep as he passed the Fresh[man] R[ecitiation] Room”

johnson“Johnson, Hines?, Rogers? – sleigh riding in study hours”

scales“Scales – Crowing like a Rooster before Prof. Hooper’s Recitation room door”

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On Thanksgiving Day in 1927, UNC was thankful for a new stadium

Field Pass for the dedication game at Kenan Stadium, signed by C.T. Woolen. From the Department of Athletics Records (#40093) University Archives.

Field Pass for the dedication game at Kenan Stadium, signed by Charles T. Woollen. From the Department of Athletics Records (#40093) University Archives.


Letter from an alumnus to Dr. Foy Roberson, 1926. From the Department of Athletics Records (#40093), University Archives.

The final football game of UNC’s 1925 season was against the University of Virginia, as was tradition. It was played at UNC, on a field that could hold around 2,5o0 spectators. However, 16,000 spectators came to the game. The lack of space was a persistent problem, and UNC was unable to play many of the more prominent Universities in the South because of it. After the 1925 UNC-UVA game, alumni began actively corresponding with each other about the need for a new, larger stadium and ways provide the new stadium at no cost to the University. Dr. Foy Roberson, who later became secretary of the Stadium Committee, stated in one of his letters to a fellow alumnus that “We purposely placed the meeting in Durham, because we did not want the people over the State to feel that the movement was being sponsored by the University itself.”

Initially, the plan was to build a stadium for 33,500 people on a budget between $475,000 and $500,000. The initial architectural plans for the stadium also allowed for later additions if necessary without compromising the uniformity of the design. The money was to be raised by having alumni and friends of the university subscribe to stadium seating. The subscription would give alumni guaranteed seats for the “Big Games” for a set number of years. The greater the donation, the better the seats and the longer the term the seats would be reserved for. However, this subscription plan was never needed.

William Rand Kenan, Jr. had always intended to make a donation to the University of North Carolina as a memorial to his parents. Kenan recognized the need for a much larger stadium and worked with the Stadium Committee and the University Athletic Council to make it happen in time for the Thanksgiving Day game in 1927. Most of the correspondence concerning the stadium during the planning and construction was between Mr. Kenan and the Graduate Manager of Athletics, Mr. Charles T. Woollen.

Photo of Kenan Memorial Stadium concept drawing in L'As a French Magazine (from the Department of Athletics of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1919-1997, #40093, University Archives)

Photo of Kenan Stadium concept drawing in L’As, a French sports magazine. From from the Department of Athletics Records (#40093) University Archives.

Kenan decided to use the existing architectural plan, with the option to later expand the seating, decided upon by the Stadium Committee, but with a capacity of 24,000 and on a budget of $275,000. This budget included a memorial to Mr. Kenan’s parents. However, during construction they decided to add a Field House which “…not only provides excellent quarters for the teams, but makes it possible for us to extend hospitality to visiting teams in a way that we have not been able to do in the past.” (Letter to Kenan from the Secretary of the University Athletic Council October 8, 1927, in the Department of Athletics Records #40093, University Archives).

The addition of the Field House put the final cost of the Stadium at $303,190.76, which Mr. Kenan paid for in its entirety. The stadium was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, 1927 where the Tar Heels beat the University of Virginia Cavaliers, 14-13.



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Black Student Movement Demands, 1968

Black Student Movement Demands, 1968.

Black Student Movement Demands, 1968.

At the Town Hall meeting about race and inclusion held at Memorial Hall last night, students from The Real Silent Sam and other activists presented a series of demands to university administrators. The demands referenced a similar document from the Black Student Movement in 1968.

On December 11, 1968, representatives of the Black Student Movement presented a list of 23 demands to Chancellor Carlyle Sitterson and other campus administrators. The demands included changes in admissions and financial aid policies, the establishment of a department of African and Afro-American studies, administrative support for black students, and a commitment to address the low wages and inadequate living conditions of African American employees and the local black community.

Daily Tar Heel, 12 December 1968.

Daily Tar Heel, 12 December 1968.

Chancellor Sitterson responded the following month with a 19-page, point-by-point reaction to the demands.  He wrote of a desire to promote “free and frank discussion” on campus.  Sitterson’s responses addressed specific issues in the demands, often pointing out that the changes requested were either partially underway, needed further elaboration, or fell outside the responsibilities of the Chancellor’s office.

People interested in learning more about the 1968 demands and the ongoing discussions they provoked can find good coverage in the Daily Tar Heel. The Chancellor’s response and the reactions of some alumni are documented in the Sitterson papers in the University Archives. The role of the Black Student Movement is documented in Black Ink, which began publication in late 1969, and the records of the Black Student Movement in University Archives.

Visit Wilson Library, or contact us for resources and suggestions for researching UNC history.


Black Student Movement Demands, December 1968.

Sitterson Response to Black Student Movement Demands, January 1969.

Daily Tar Heel, 12 December 1968.

The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History: Exhibit on The Black Student Movement at Carolina.

Learn More:

Office of Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Joseph Carlyle Sitterson Records, 1966-1972 (collection number 40022), University Archives.

Black Student Movement Records (collection number 40400), University Archives.



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