Should UNC Charlotte drop the ‘UNC?’

UNC Charlotte entrance on University City Boulevard.
UNC Charlotte entrance on University City Boulevard. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

A long-simmering push to drop the “UNC” in UNC Charlotte’s name flared on Twitter recently with the hashtag #droptheUNC.

The hashtag “gained momentum” last week after the N.C. Department of Transportation bowed to critics and removed a controversial sign near the campus. It celebrated UNC Chapel Hill’s success in the 2017 men’s national basketball championship, and it “outraged” many of the students in the Charlotte area, the online NinerTimes reported on Monday.

“Should we be the University of Charlotte?” the headline of the article read.

A name change is unlikely anytime soon, according to UNCC Chancellor Philip Dubois.

“I’m going to leave that to the next chancellor,” he said, according to the article. “I just think it’s a big project. We got so many more important things we need to worry about.”

But even singer Clay Aiken has joined the movement to change UNCC’s name.

“As a @GoHeels fan & PROUD @unccharlotte alum, add my loud voice to chorus of people who know it's possible to respect UNC AND still feel strongly that UNCC is too important, unique, and prestigious to be hidden by Chapel Hill's shadow!” Aiken wrote on the hashtag.

The debate stretches back roughly a decade, when the school’s Student Government Association polled students about a name change. The results were almost evenly split, the NinerTimes reported.

More recently, a Tar Heel fan using the Twitter handle “Tar Heel Nation” welcomed UNCC divorcing itself from the UNC system.

“Didn’t have anything against UNCC until this,” Tar Heel Nation said. “Let them go.”

Supporters of the name change said it’s about time the university stake out on its own.

Said bhud15: “Well past it’s time. University of Charlotte.”

“Funny, when the students speak up we seek to get more done than the adults do,” wrote Barstool49ers. “We’ll get our way, Niner Nation always does.”

Not all were giving in. Replied Russell Burton somewhat derisively to Barstool49ers: “The adults are talking – don’t you have drinking vids to post?”

Others, including Jason Lynch, said UNC Charlotte deserves its own identity.

“Keeping the UNC is like being the younger brother caught in the shadow of big brother Chapel Hill. Leave the state/area and people don’t even know we exist. They hear UNCC and say “chapel hill.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak