How UNC civil rights center helped Orange Co. neighbors

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Opinions differ on the role the UNC Center for Civil Rights should play in the community.

The UNC Center for Civil Rights is under review by the UNC System Board of Governors. On Friday night, people who have been helped by the Center are speaking to ABC11. They say the center helped get services and amenities to a historically black neighborhood in Orange County.

The Rogers Road-Eubanks community is an unincorporated neighborhood in Orange County. For more than 40 years, a landfill has sat adjacent to this community.

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It's a solid-waste management project that neighbor Robert Campbell said was supposed to come with some documented perks, but those amenities never came.

"No waste pickup, no recycling pickup, no transportation," Campbell said. "So we questioned that and wondered why it had not been fulfilled."
Campbell said neighbors filed a federal civil-rights complaint and contacted the UNC Center for Civil Rights for help.

"Once we got them involved we, the Town of Chapel Hill, Town of Carrboro and Orange County government came to the table and created a taskforce to look into some of these things."

The Center was able to help the community negotiate improving infrastructure needs such as municipal water and sewer connections, and construction of the Rogers Road Community Center, which was built in 2014.

The Center's involvement helped with the construction of the Rogers Road Community Center, which was built in 2014.

But the Center's existence as a legal force is in jeopardy. Some members on the UNC Board of Governors would like to change how the Center operates by removing its litigation power.

Other board members say the Center's litigation work is necessary, and seems to make UNC-Chapel Hill's law school competitive.

The controversial issue is tabled until there is more research on the Center's impact, and possible alternatives to its operation.

Campbell wants the Center to continue as is. Understandable, since it was a lifeline to his community.

"It should have been here years ago," he said.


The UNC Board of Governors will review this debate at their July meeting, and likely take a vote on the measure.

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