When I was about ten in 1960 I overheard a grey-haired UNC professor at the Scuttlebutt snack bar on the corner of Columbia and Cameron briefly describe to a colleague what he considered the most tragic event during his years in Chapel Hill. He said he had been in a crowd of fellow students that encouraged several masked students to torture, humiliate, and tragically cause the death of a young freshman. For years I thought I might have misheard this story, but in 1967 I met an alumnus of UNC during that time period at a dinner party my father took me to, and learned the full details of this event which I will describe in this article.
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What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. or the crisp October nights. No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.