December 14, 2018
Dear faculty colleagues and graduate teaching assistants,
I feel compelled to write to you based on reports that some faculty and graduate teaching assistants are considering the withholding of final grades as an action to underscore their support for the removal of Silent Sam from our campus. The faculty I have been in contact with on the Faculty Executive Committee and Faculty Council support the goal of this action, but many have expressed concern that withholding grades will do much more harm than good in helping us reach this goal. We care about you, appreciate your passion, and want you to know that you have been heard. We encourage you to continue to be heard in ways that can have impact, but without further jeopardizing the students that we know you teach and care about.
How might your voices be heard and effective in ways that do not harm either you or your students? In addition to the channels you have been using, one very encouraging step forward occurred yesterday. At the invitation of Chancellor Folt, the Chair of the Board of Governors, Harry Smith, UNC System President Spellings, and Provost Blouin met with a group of students and faculty. At this meeting Chairman Smith acknowledged that the Chancellor and Board of Trustees prefer an off campus solution and offered a platform for dialogue with members of our campus, including students, that you will probably hear more about. I am hopeful that this will lead to more constructive dialogue.
We all want to provide an environment on our campus in which all of our students, faculty and staff can thrive. Many on campus are in agreement that to provide this environment, the Confederate monument must be moved off our campus permanently. As we work together toward that end, we must all the while ensure we are protecting those for whom we work, our students. Please do not jeopardize their futures by failing to document and turn in the grades they have earned.
Leslie V. Parise, PhD
Chair of the Faculty
Department Chair of Biophysics and Biochemistry