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A Guide to Researching Campus Monuments and Buildings: "The Student Body" Statue

Books and Articles

Compared to "Silent Sam" and the Caldwell monuments, "The Student Body" statue is a relatively recent addition to the University of North Carolina campus. As a result, books and articles devoted to the statue and the related debate on campus are lacking. However, newspapers and campus publications can be excellent resources for researchers interested in this topic. Many of these resources are listed in the "Campus Buildings and Additional Resources" tab of this guide. A few are particularly relevant to "The Student Body Controversy": 

The Daily Tar Heel

The Daily Tar Heel is the main student publication at UNC. Published daily during the academic year, the newspaper is a good resource for information on the reaction to the "The Student Body" statue. In addition to news articles, editorials and letters to the editor may be useful. This title is available on microfilm in the North Carolina Collection. DTH issues from 1893 to 1992 are available online through two sources: Newspapers.com, a subscription service available to users affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill and to patrons in the library buildings, and the Digital Heritage Center, which is freely available and accessible off-campus. Visit the Daily Tar Heel website for articles dating from about 2005 to present. 

Black Ink

The long-running publication of the Black Student Movement at UNC is another good resource for understanding the response of students to the installation of "The Student Body" statue. Copies of the paper from 1969 to 2013 can be found in the North Carolina Collection. The paper can also be accessed online. Issues from 1969 to 2001 are available through DigitalNC and issues published from 2009 to 2013 can be found at the group's website

North Carolina Collection Newspapers

In addition to student publications, the North Carolina Collection holds a large number of newspapers from around the state. Many of these, such as the Raleigh News & Observer and the Durham Herald-Sun, report on campus news and controversies. 

UNC Libraries Content

“The Student Body” Public Art Controversy

This blog post from UNC's University Archives describes the controversy that emerged after the installment of Julia Balk's statue, "The Student Body," outside of Davis Library in October 1990. It also includes a comment from the artist, Julia Balk.

Documenting Student Activism teaching module

This teaching module is used for English 105 Writing classes at UNC-Chapel Hill, but also includes links to lots of primary sources about the Student Body statue controversy.

Archival Resources

While not as well documented as the other landmarks included in this guide, archival resources can be useful in understanding the design and controversy surrounding "The Student Body" statue. At present, the collection described below is one of the best archival resources on this subject. 

Office of the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Paul Hardin Records, 1988-1995. University Archives. Collection # 40025. 

Paul Hardin was chancellor of the University during the installation of "The Student Body" statue and the controversy that soon followed. This collection contains a folder (# 1591) dedicated to documenting the administration's response to the statue and role in the debate. Included are newspaper clippings, letters of protest from students and faculty, and correspondence with the Buildings and Grounds Committee. This set of documents has been digitized in full and can be found at the link provided above.

Black Student Movement of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1970s-2012

This finding aid provides access to and descriptions of materials created by and related to UNC's Black Student Movement, which formed in November 1967. Box 1 includes two images of "The Student Body" sculpture by Julia Balk, one of which shows the basketball player figure. Select "request this collection" in the top left corner of the page in order to register as a researcher and view materials in person at the library.

Yackety Yack

"Statue Protests" Yackety Yack, 101 (1991): 77-78. Navigate to page 77 in order to view the photographs.

Page 1 - Student Body Protests, Yackety YackPage 2 - Student Body Protests, Yackety Yack

  • Last Updated: Aug 3, 2020 12:40 PM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.unc.edu/campus-monuments