Orange County

UNC scholar, Chapel Hill board member seeking Town Council seat

Rachel Schaevitz
Rachel Schaevitz Contributed

Filmmaker and UNC postdoctoral fellow Rachel Schaevitz has announced that she will be the second challenger seeking a Chapel Hill Town Council seat this fall.

Schaevitz, outside of her scholarly work with UNC’s Carolina Public Humanities, is chairwoman of the town’s American Legion Task Force and was appointed recently to the town’s Cultural Arts Commission. She brings a background as a filmmaker and film historian to the role.

She now joins civil rights attorney Allen Buansi in the race for four Town Council seats. Campaign filing for the November election starts at noon July 7.

Town Council members George Cianciolo, Ed Harrison, Maria Palmer and Sally Greene — whose terms expire this year — have not announced whether they will seek re-election. Mayor Pam Hemminger has said she would seek a second term.

Schaevitz will hold campaign launch event at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 8, at the Chapel Hill Community Center on South Estes Drive. More information is available at

Her campaign, according to the website, is focused on building a “high-functioning collaborative relationship” with UNC that supports and keeps burgeoning student entrepreneurship in Chapel Hill to help diversify the local tax base.

She touted her experience bringing people with different views together to build consensus, collaboration and community involvement.

“As your town councilwoman,” Schaevitz said, “I will work with you to support the creativity of the next generation of business owners and diversify our tax base so Chapel Hill is less reliant on residential property taxes.”

Chapel Hill also should build on its commitment to conservation, excellent education and diversity, she said, and seek practical options for keeping the town affordable for people who work here or have lived here for generations in the face of “unprecedented growth and development.”

“Affordable housing should be at the heart of future development, and should be the result of a purposeful process that aligns with a strategic vision for Chapel Hill,” she said.

Schaevitz and her husband David Schaevitz, a physician, live in Southbridge with their two young children.

She and her family moved to Chapel Hill, she said, because they “were eager to put down roots in a place that exemplified their shared values of inclusivity, public education, old trees, a walkable downtown and great music.”

“Chapel Hill is a truly remarkable place to live, and we should enhance the qualities that make it special: sustainability, diversity and excellent education,” she said. “With your help, I want to build on Chapel Hill’s leadership in sustainable development, green technology, innovative multigenerational land use, creative entrepreneurial initiatives, and outstanding public education.”

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb