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The following comments are my own and do not purport to represent any entity of UNC-CH.

In my new role as chair of the faculty, several faculty members have asked me to comment on the proposal by the UNC Board of Governors (BOG) to remove the litigation rights of UNC’s Center for Civil Rights, which may be voted on in early August. The Center for Civil Rights has long played an important role in the program of legal education at the School of Law and in the training of new attorneys.  The Center’s capacity to litigate is integral to that role. The Center also provides an important service to the state by offering legal representation to underserved communities in need, who would otherwise find such representation difficult to obtain. It should be noted that the Center accomplishes all these worthy goals entirely by private donations.

In addition, the founding director of the Center, Julius Chambers, has been described by members of the law school as being its most renowned graduate. Originally from NC, Chambers was a legendary leader for civil rights who also served as Chancellor of North Carolina Central University from 1993-2001. During his subsequent tenure as director of the Center, and under the current able leadership of Theodore Shaw, the Julius L Chambers Professor of Law, the Center has generated an incredible list of accomplishments described in appendices referred to below.

For more information on the BOG proposal and UNC’s response please see

Among the list of appendices, most notable are A— the BOG proposal and reasoning for removing litigation rights; F— answers to BOG questions: L—response of Dean of the Law School, Martin Brinkley; M— statements by center clients, N—listing of litigation and advocacy by the Center; Q — student comments, and the Supplemental Report that describes alternatives to litigation by the Center along with advantages and disadvantages of each.

I urge interested faculty to read these documents and form your own conclusions. In my opinion, the litigative efforts of the Center are crucial to its missions of education and service to the state, and should be maintained. – The citizens of North Carolina deserve nothing less.

Leslie Parise, Ph.D.
Chair of the Faculty
Professor and Chair of Biochemistry and Biophysics



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