The University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted today for Interim UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to step into the role permanently.
Guskiewicz was first appointed as interim chancellor on Feb. 6, 2019. According to a press release from UNC-Chapel Hill, he was selected from among two candidates for the role and a 20-person search committee was involved in the search process. The Board of Governors currently faces controversy over a $2.5 million settlement it made with the Sons of Confederate Veterans neo-confederate group to preserve the statue.
At a press conference where Guskiewicz was officially presented as the University's 12th chancellor, student body president Ashton Martin called on him to confront UNC's history of racism.
And he addressed her directly when he took the stage, "Ashton, I hear you, and I really appreciate your comments. We do have work to do."
"As chancellor, I will shine an honest and stark light on our campus, and I will act on the challenges we face," Guskiewicz said.
Guskiewicz then announced a $5 million investment in the Commission on Race, History and a Way Forward. He originally announced the formation of the commission in November. In his speech Friday, the new chancellor said the commission will begin working this spring on initiatives to promote diversity and campus safety.
UNC System Interim President Bill Roper said he was not surprised by the Board of Governors' unanimous vote, and had himself recommended Guskiewicz for the permanent position.
"As others have said, public service is a noble calling. I believe Kevin Guskiewicz has that calling, and he also the all-too-rare combination of commitment to service, humility and civility," UNC System Interim President Bill Roper said. "Carolina is in very good hands."
Faculty members on the chancellor search committee praised Guskiewicz for his "authenticity" and his genuine interest in faculty, staff and students.
Guskiewicz took over as interim chancellor after former chancellor Carol Folt resigned from her post. Folt ordered the removal of the remaining pedestal from the Silent Sam confederate monument on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus.
Guskiewicz is a leading concussion researcher and was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015.
Liz Schlemmer contributed to this story.