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Thoughts on election eve

A message from UNC Kenan-Flagler on election eve

Dean Doug Shackelford sent this message to the UNC Kenan-Flagler community on the eve of the 2020 elections.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I’m writing on Election Day Eve.

In this most difficult of years, when all of us have been navigating a sea of uncertainties and harsh realities affecting our lives in every way – from our health to how we live, learn, and work, to our financial security and heightened awareness of social injustice – we now have an election that brings additional uncertainty, tension, worry, and fear.  Although it is a great privilege to live in a democracy where the people determine the government, many are angry, anxious, scared, and just plain worn out.

No matter what wave of emotions you are riding now or will be riding later this week, you are not alone. We are one community and we will work together through this tumultuous time.

As the election results come in, the world will be watching. I urge you take care of yourself, your friends, and your family. Reach out to someone who might be struggling or feels isolated. Get help if you need it. I’ve included a list of University resources at the end of this email.

Let’s be guided by our enduring Core Values. Especially pertinent at this time are leadership, integrity, community, and, our newest Core Value, inclusion:

We are committed to creating an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated. All members of our community should have the same access to opportunities, be treated equitably and respectfully, and contribute fully to the success of our community. We want all members of our community to be welcomed, valued and feel a true sense of belonging. We welcome all identities, including – but not limited to – nationality, race, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, heritage and veteran status. We seek to share ideas, learn from each other and gain understanding so that we can reach our full potential.

As President Lincoln stated in his first inaugural address: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

This might have been the worst year of our lives, but I’m not letting go of my hold on hope. Better times are ahead for all of us – and that’s because of you. You inspire me every day.

We can’t foresee what will happen in the next few days, but we do know that each person is an important part of the UNC Kenan-Flagler community. We are here for each other and we will take care of each other.

Finally, if you haven’t voted yet, there’s still time. As Susan B. Anthony said, “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.” And John Lewis reminded us:The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it.”

Be kind. Be compassionate. Be safe.


Douglas A. Shackelford
Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation
UNC Kenan-Flagler

These resources are available to you:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers students caring, confidential and comprehensive services to help gain healthy life skills and academic excellence by achieving and maintaining a healthy emotional and mental outlook.
  • Campus Health provides students a full spectrum of expert, patient-centered and inclusive ambulatory primary medical care.
  • The Office of the Dean of Students is available to support students who need assistance navigating personal or academic concerns.
  • Campus Recreation provides diverse and intentional recreational programs, encouraging and helping our entire community to stay active.
  • Student Wellness provides students an array of resources to support healthy choices and positive decision-making regarding health, safety and wellness.
  • The Office of Human Resources offers a series of work/life and wellness programs to support employee physical and mental well-being.
  • The Employee Assistance Program offers confidential counseling and resources to help University employees and their families deal with both personal and work-related concerns. will connect you with resources and campus events related to the election.