BOT approves new parking deck, ClimACT protests meeting


Zoey Sigmon

ClimACT members hold signs and chant as attendees exit the meeting, March 25, 2022.

Ethan Hunt and Zoey Sigmon

The App State board of trustees passed multiple motions, including the appropriation of $20 million for a new parking deck while ClimACT members silently protested Friday. 

During the meeting, James Reaves, BOT member, introduced a motion to appropriate $20 million for a 600 space parking deck beside the Holmes Convocation Center. According to the proposal, the parking deck construction will include improvements to Rivers Street and may include a pedestrian bridge connecting the deck to the convocation center. The BOT unanimously approved the motion. It is pending approval from the UNC board of governors and an official construction start date has not been announced. 

Reaves also introduced a motion to appropriate funds for the improvement and replacement of 3,300 feet of parking and road surfaces. The BOT approved the motion, releasing $499,983 for the project. Construction will begin in May. 

ClimACT member Max Shirikjian said the university has the resources to prioritize sustainability, which was exemplified by the motions passed by the BOT in the meeting. 

“We have unsustainable growth here in Boone. If we’re just going to continue that without, like, any reconsideration I feel like there is very little hope in these new projects where we’re expanding and expanding and growing without check,” Shirikjian said. 

The BOT also approved a request from the Town of Boone to release 45 feet of land for the repair of Hunting Hills Bridge. Additionally, the BOT approved a request from the Blue Ridge Conservancy, allowing the Greenway Trail to cross App State property. 

Prior to the BOT’s motions, Chancellor Sheri Everts listed the university’s achievements over the past year. Everts said the innovation district and future Hickory campus were examples of the university’s growth and success. She also said the UNC System budget, recently approved by Gov. Roy Cooper, was the “best budget” in App State history. Everts also congratulated App State Chief of Police Andy Stephenson on being one of the six finalists for Campus Safety Director of the year

Eight ClimACT members stand near the entrance to the Grandview Ballroom in Mark E. Ricks Athletic Complex, March 25, 2022. (Zoey Sigmon)

Following Everts statements, BOT chair Kimberley Shepherd said the BOT has “reaffirmed their faith” in Everts.

 Eight members of ClimACT stood in the back of Grandview Ballroom in Mark E. Ricks Athletic Complex. Each member wore a shirt with a different letter, which spelled the word “silenced.” 

“We had four demands that we are trying to get them to say yes to last year, and they wouldn’t even meet with us. So, it’s pretty clear that they don’t want to hear from us. We’re not going to let that happen,” said Juliette Warren, ClimACT member and sophomore political science major.

As the BOT began a closed session and meeting attendees exited Grandview Ballroom, ClimACT members chanted, “public university for public good.” They held signs with slogans such as “faculty and staff are being silenced” and flyers, titled “conversations missing from this meeting.” The conversations ClimACT identified included: community, people of color, climate concern, trans and queer and faculty staff. 

“Students of color have been targeted and profiled by App State Police,” read a ClimACT flyer. 

Stephenson said he wanted to clarify ClimACT’s second conversation, people of color and spoke with ClimACT member Jaz Boler about the statement. 

“I was asking Jaz, ‘Is that a general statement or is that referring to some specific incident?’ My concern was that, because we don’t tolerate that in our department. We need to know about those specific incidents because we would definitely handle that promptly,” Stephenson said. 

Boler said none of her personal experiences with App State Police have been “particularly negative.” 

“I do know Black people who have literally been followed by App State Police. So I was asking, ‘Have you met BlackatApp?’, ‘Have you sat down and talked?’” Boler said. 

Shirikjian said ClimACT will continue their activism.