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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with David Breneman, May 10, 1991. Interview L-0122. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Meeting between HEW and UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Breneman describes the meeting held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, regarding HEW's criteria for desegregation. According to Breneman, the negotiation process was somewhat unique with the University of North Carolina system. Here, he particularly emphasizes interactions with William Friday, president of the UNC system.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with David Breneman, May 10, 1991. Interview L-0122. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

WILLIAM LINK:
You attended this meeting in Chapel Hill, I gather?
DAVID BRENEMAN:
Right.
WILLIAM LINK:
This is June sixth and seventh in 1977?
DAVID BRENEMAN:
Yeah.
WILLIAM LINK:
And the purpose of that meeting was toߞwell, what was the purpose of that meeting? How would you describe it? Information gathering, mainly?
DAVID BRENEMAN:
Well, I think, again my memoryߞpartly that. But my memory was I think weߞpartly because of Bill Friday's role, you know, in the campaign and his connection, you know, in the sense that he had connections in the Carter administration, the feeling that he was, you knowߞI think there was a real sense of political sensitivity with regard to North Carolina on this one. I mean a feeling that, you know, somehow we didn't want Bill Friday runningߞtrying to run back up through the Carterߞdirectly to Carter with complaints or something, which I don't think we were worried thatߞwe didn't worry about that with any other states particularly. So, my memory of it was we were, you know, we were really going down there in part to sort of try the ideas out. Partly to, you know, to convey information. Partly to get their reaction. But, partly to, you know, kind ofߞit was significant, for example, that we, that three of us went down there together, you know. There was no other state that we, you know, anything like the three of us went together. And I'm not, as I say, I don't remember if we had any kind of plan to try to even go to the other states. The only thing that Iߞit may have been that weߞit may have that eachߞmaybe one of us went to each of the other states, or something like that. That may have been what got me to Florida. But, I mean, no other state got the full treatment of having ߞ
WILLIAM LINK:
That delegation?
DAVID BRENEMAN:
ߞ the three of us go down. And I think, as I say, I think weߞit was with theߞwith due deference to the political clout that we thought might exist there. And also I think we felt we were probably going to be up against, in some ways, a more astute group of people in North Carolina. And that certainly isߞmy memory of that meeting is that, you know, we were sort of chewed up and spit out, by and large. I don't remember all of it. We got on to the data approach to the process and the criteria andߞagain the details escape me, but, I mean, I remember just beingߞyou know, the counter-punchߞI think there were ten or twelve people from North Carolina there. And, I mean, they had their top numbers-cruncher, and their top institutional researcher, and their academic VP, and, you know, the whole area. And everybody that had any number relevant to the system down there was there. And they obviously had better data about their system than we did. And my memory is, you know, a series of ways in which they either suggested what we were proposing was preposterous, undoable, unmeasurable, or already accomplished. I mean, you know, some array of those kinds of responses.
WILLIAM LINK:
I gather one of the main areas of concern was this question of enrollment and the ߞ
DAVID BRENEMAN:
Yeah, that was one of our key criteria.