The following message from Chair of the Faculty Mimi Chapman was sent to the UNC-CH faculty today.
This election season has been particularly intense given all that is at stake no matter which political party or movement we espouse. Many of us, already exhausted by the ongoing pandemic and social injustices, find ourselves stressed and worried about how the next week, or perhaps weeks, will unfold. Even as we experience our own stress and worry, our students look to us for examples of how to process events that may have complicated sequelae. If a person’s candidate wins and violence accompanies that win, how do we think about it and responsibly respond? If we don’t know the outcome of particular contests right away, how do we live with yet another level of uncertainty? Is it advisable to march in protest in the midst of pandemic in which numbers are skyrocketing? Is it an act of cowardice to stay home even if a protest is something we believe in?
I know many departments and schools are preparing for these conversations by creating forums where students can come together to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. As faculty who are called to teach, please spend some time in reflection considering how you might best take care of yourself and take care of your students, some of whom may be elated, others devastated or confused by the election outcome. Take some time to remember yourself in your late teens and early 20’s. The passion, the outrage, the fear, and the courage that make it such a joy to work with young people also create challenges when we have no choice but to be patient in waiting for ballots to be counted, votes to be certified or, in some situations, for courts to make rulings. We will need patience, courage, and fortitude in equal measure in the coming weeks. Be gentle with yourselves, and gentle with your students and colleagues even as you make the choices you must make to be true to your beliefs and values.
Finally, the November 6 Faculty Council meeting will also be a Meeting of the General Faculty. You’ll receive more information about how to attend this meeting in an upcoming email and in the faculty governance newsletter. I look forward to your participation. As always, feel free to be in touch.
My best to all,