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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, November 3, 2023
3:00 p.m.
2001 Kerr Hall (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)

The meeting will be recorded and streamed live at this link.


3:00 p.m.   Chair’s welcome and remarks
                         Chair of the Faculty Beth Moracco

3:10 p.m.   Chancellor’s remarks
                        Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz

3:20 p.m.   Budget update and Q&A (presentation [PDF])
                         Vice Chancellor Nathan Knuffman (Finance and Operations)

3:45 p.m.   The Graduate School Strategic Plan [PDF]
                         Dean Beth Mayer-Davis (The Graduate School)

4:00 p.m.   Expressive speech on campus
                        Prof. Mary-Rose Papandrea (Law)
                        Prof. Christian Lundberg (Communication), Chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Free Expression
                        Resource: 10/24/23 campus message, Reminder on First Amendment and Free Speech Policies and Resources [PDF]

4:25 p.m.   Resolution on the rights and responsibilities of protestors [PDF]
                         Submitted by Prof. Mark McNeilly (Business)
                         This agenda item has been postponed

4:45 p.m.   Open discussion

5:00 p.m.   Adjournment


Video of Proceedings

Watch the full video [Streaming]

Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on November 3, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. in Kerr Hall, Room 2001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. A Zoom webinar option was provided for Council members who were unable to attend in person. Other faculty and members of the public were able to observe the meeting on a livestream.

The following 64 Faculty Council members attended: Alderman, Azcarate-Peril, Balasubramanian, Boyd, Brownley, Budhiraja, Cai, Campbell, Colford, Cook, De Fays, Divaris, Dooley, Drummond, Entwisle, Estroff, Frederick, Freeman, Gold, Haggis, Halpern, Hannig, Hessick, Hodges, Johnson, Juffras, Kasthuri, Krause, Kucera, La Serna, Lain, Lee, Lin, Maman, McEntee, McNeilly, Mehrotra, Méndez, Metcalfe, Mohanty, Moore (Secretary of the Faculty), Moracco (Chair of the Faculty), Oliveira, Penton, Pier, Raff, Reissner, Renner, Reyes, Roberts, Sathy, Schlobohm, Seña-Soberano, Smith Taillie, Stewart, Turi, Vernon-Feagans, Vines, Weiler, Winget, Yaghoobi, Zeeman, Zhu and Zomorodi.

The following 18 members received excused absences: Aikat, Becker, Berkoff, Binz, Blythe, Cilenti, Donahue, Gates-Foster, Goralski, Jackson, Lauen, Ma, Meyer, Nichols, J. Smith, K. Smith, Thomas and Young.

The following 7 members were absent without excuse: Ansong, Charles, Dillman Carpentier, Ebert, Mersini-Houghton, Thorp and Wolfe.

Others in attendance: Nikolas Morrison-Welch (Graduate Observer) and Margaux Sherwen (Undergraduate Observer).

Call to order

Chair of the Faculty Beth Moracco called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.

Chair remarks

Chair of the Faculty Beth Moracco welcomed everyone to the November Faculty Council meeting and gave brief introductory remarks.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz was unable to attend the meeting in person. He gave remarks via video.

Chancellor Guskiewicz expressed gratitude to everyone who participated in University Day and the Tar Heel Bus Tour. He emphasized the University’s commitment to partnering with and serving the state of North Carolina.

He expressed concern about the impact of the violence in the Middle East on campus and emphasized that while the University is committed to free expression, we will not stand for acts of violence on our campus. He said he was disappointed in divisive messaging on social media and our campus sidewalks, but also grateful for the way some faculty have encouraged thoughtful discussion and debate in their classrooms. He described the work university leaders have done to directly engage with members of our community who have been affected by these events in different ways. The campus has been focused on direct engagement to listen and provide resources to people and communities impacted by these global events. This was a topic at a recent Association of American Universities (AAU) meeting, since many campus leaders have been challenged by responding to these events. He continues to welcome feedback, whether positive or negative.

During the AAU meeting they also discussed Generative AI. Chancellor Guskiewicz sees potential for Carolina to lead in this space. The Generative AI committee developed guidelines for faculty, staff and students, which can be found on the provost’s website.

Chancellor Guskiewicz updated the faculty on efforts to comply with House Bill 8, which requires UNC system institutions to change accreditation agencies. There will be ongoing communication about developments in this process. He also addressed concerns about changes in State funding for distinguished professorships, emphasizing the University’s commitment to diverse disciplines and seeking private funding to supplement any gaps.

Budget update

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Nathan Knuffman gave an update on the University’s budget [PDF].

Under the new allocation model, the UNC System aims to allocate funding based on credit hours. Professor Sridhar Balasubramanian (Business) questioned if this approach would disadvantage UNC-Chapel Hill, which functions as both a teaching and research institution.

Vice Chancellor Knuffman said he doesn’t believe the model will disadvantage the University; in fact, the new allocation model has created many advantages. There was a $7 million increase in enrollment during the first year under the new allocation model. Despite having a dual mission with a significant focus on research, credit hours at the University are still incrementally growing.

Professor Barabara Entwisle (Sociology) commented that enrollment seems to be increasing at a faster rate than the faculty size. She asked Vice Chancellor Knuffman for his comments or insights on this observation.

Vice Chancellor Knuffman said the new allocation model is intended to establish predictability in resource allocation as enrollment grows. Currently, the budget process involves efforts to allocate resources based on growth and pressures within the institution. He believes that the new model will offer more predictability in providing resources tied to credit hours without the uncertainty of the budget process. The allocations are at the school level.

Professor Andy Hessick (Law) commented that competition might arise with the new allocation model, particularly in the context of per-credit funding for teaching. He asked how this competition might unfold, particularly in relation to the new schools being established.

Vice Chancellor Knuffman said the growth of resources available for distribution is influenced by factors like enrollment growth and tuition rates. The administration must balance credit hour movement among schools. He acknowledged that the initial rollout may not be perfect, but they are committed to the new model and pledge to revisit and recalibrate as necessary.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) noted that similar ideas have been discussed in the past without implementation and asked how we can know this time will be different.

Vice Chancellor Knuffman highlighted reasons he believes the model will come to fruition. The completion of the allocation model will provide a better understanding of how the State will allocate resources for enrollment changes. There have been multiple discussions with deans and the provost about the new model. The allocation model is being considered in the current budget instructions, which suggests a commitment to incorporating it into resource allocation decisions.

Professor Helyne Frederick (Education) asked if there is now an incentive to grow programs under the new allocation model. Additionally, she asked about the differences in credit allocation between graduate and undergraduate programs under the new model.

Vice Chancellor Knuffman said there is a general incentive to grow programs because additional credit hours result in additional resources. The administration has discussed both tuition and appropriation at both the undergraduate and the graduate level.

Professor Entwisle asked if online education counted toward credit hours.

Vice Chancellor Knuffman answered yes.

The Graduate School Strategic Plan

Dean of the Graduate School Beth Mayer-Davis gave a presentation [PDF] on the Graduate School’s Strategic Plan [PDF].

Professor Entwisle is interested in understanding the impact of the pandemic’s effects on a specific cohort. She asked how the Graduate School plans to navigate and understand these complex dynamics.

Dean Mayer-Davis commented on the dynamic between long-standing trends such as climate change, the political environment, and mental health issues, that interplay with the impact of the pandemic on development. She emphasized avoiding attributing too much to the pandemic to ensure attention is given to ongoing issues. Faculty must address the external challenges while providing education to students.

Professor Ronit Freeman (Applied Physical Sciences) commented on the challenge faced by students who are unable to sustain federal funding during periods of leave, which impacts their health insurance. She asked for information on how to support students facing this issue.

Dean Mayer-Davis said Senior Associate Dean Kate McAnulty handles such situations and is part of the University Care Team. The Graduate School is in regular communication with Campus Health, and they help in negotiating health insurance for graduate students, including considerations for periods of leave.

Professor Amarjit Budhiraja (Statistics and Operational Research) raised a concern about graduate student stipends. There is a constant struggle to compete with peer institutions and retain strong students who may be lured by other schools. He asked if there are plans in place to address this challenge.

Dean Mayer-Davis acknowledged the concern about graduate student stipends, noting that there has been substantial advocacy, particularly from the Graduate and Professional Student Government. Recently, doctoral students received a 20% increase and master’s students received a 37% increase. Despite the improvements, there is still competition for top graduate students, and some departments may offer additional stipends for a competitive edge. Many graduate students already earn above the minimum stipend due to departmental top-ups or external grants. It is important to stay in communication with Vice Chancellor Knuffman to explore possibilities for more predictable and incremental increases over time rather than large jumps after years of stagnation.

Expressive speech on campus

Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea (Law) gave a presentation [PDF] on the first amendment.

The Healy v. James case held that universities can regulate expressive activities that “infringe reasonable campus rules, interrupt classes, or substantially interfere with the opportunity of other students to obtain an education.” Professor Viji Sathy (Psychology and Neuroscience) asked whether the standard is clearly defined and how it might be interpreted from a student’s perspective.

Professor Papandrea suggested that the court likely includes actions such as blocking access to classrooms or discriminatory harassment under the substantial disruption standard, referencing the Tinker standard and the Healey decision. However, the standard likely does not grant schools the authority to restrict offensive speech broadly, as courts have clarified that offensive speech must be specifically targeted at an individual student rather than being generally offensive.

The Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project case held that the government can restrict expressive activity that provides “material support” to a terrorist group, but the expressive activity must be coordinated with or controlled by that terrorist group. Professor Freeman asked for an example of this situation.

Professor Papandrea said in the Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project case, the terrorist organization knew and was working with the advocacy group directly.  The advocacy group had argued that they were focused on the humanitarian aims rather than the terrorist aims of the organization, but the court ruled that did not matter because they were directly coordinating with a terrorist organization. Protesting in favor of a terrorist group without a direct connection would likely not be sufficient.

Professor Christian Lundberg (Communication), Chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Free Expression, outlined three important messages.

  1. The Chancellor’s Office seeks input from the community on academic freedom and free expression. While regulations and policies are important, the focus is on fostering a culture that supports these principles.
  2. The committee consists of students, administrators, faculty, and others, to gather diverse perspectives on academic freedom and free expression. The goal is to create a “big tent” where everyone has the opportunity to discuss the importance of academic freedom and free expression for our community. As part of this effort, the committee seeks the input of others, including Faculty Council.
  3. The committee aims for a democratic process to reach consensus on defining norms for academic freedom and free expression at the University of North Carolina, recognizing the distinct needs of a public university.

Professor Lundberg emphasized that the committee is advisory only and focuses on producing resources rather than making policy.

Professor Elyse Crystall (English and Comparative Literature) asked for clarification on the perceived problem that prompted the committee’s creation, questioned the necessity of developing new laws for free expression at Carolina and expressed surprise that no committee member is a member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which created one of the foundational documents on academic freedom.

Professor Lundberg clarified that the committee’s goal is not to define free speech rights for the University or create regulations. The focus is on exploring ways to protect and defend norms, particularly in the context of Carolina. There is often confusion between free expression and academic freedom. Academic freedom is contextual and encompasses more than just expression, it includes research and protection from political pressures. The committee’s objective is to affirm rights outlined in documents on academic freedom and internalize them for Carolina’s culture, considering the unique challenges faced by state universities. The aim is not to declare new rights but to provide resources that empower faculty and create a culture where everyone supports and defends these rights.

Resolution on the rights and responsibilities of protestors

Professor Mark McNeilly (Business) gave brief introductory remarks and made a motion to adopt the Resolution on the Rights and Responsibilities of Protestors [PDF]. The motion was seconded by Professor Freeman.

Professor Hannig expressed dislike for the wording of the resolution and questioned whether a resolution is needed. He believes the resolution won’t bring about significant change and sees no reason to adopt it because it does not address any concrete issues.

Professor Allison Schlobohm (Business) expressed uncertainty about the need for the resolution, citing concerns that it might negatively impact free speech on campus. She cannot support the resolution in its current form and would prefer the council not adopt it.

Professor Schlobohm’s specific concerns include:

  • Uncertainty about what the terms “respectful and elevated discourse,” “civil debate,” “hateful rhetoric,” and “those at greatest risk” mean, and concern that the terms may not be content-neutral.
  • Ambiguity about what it means to “strive to prudently ensure” that protests don’t violate certain standards.
  • Questioning whether faculty, staff, and students have a right or responsibility to institutional neutrality.
  • Doubt about the necessity of establishing new educational programs when existing programs have been discussed for improvement.

Professor Kathryn Reissner (Psychology and Neuroscience) emphasized the importance of balancing the right to free speech with the right of students to feel safe, welcome, and wanted in their environment. Using a hypothetical example of a student from a protected group encountering a protest expressing anger towards their group, she seeks clarification on when such actions would be considered intimidation or harassment and how to communicate a position on these matters.

Professor Freeman thanked Professor McNeilly for bringing forward a resolution at this time, when recent events necessitate encouraging discussions and refining our understanding of what free speech means and what type of environment we want to foster at UNC. She proposed amending the resolution to incorporate insights from the recent discussion about the First Amendment. Additionally, she advocated for strengthening educational programs, acknowledging the existing ones but expressing the belief that continuous improvement is possible. The motivation behind these suggestions is to foster a more inclusive environment that facilitates discussions on challenging topics without discrimination or harassment, ultimately aiming for positive change.

Professor Freeman made a motion to amend [PDF] the resolution. The motion was seconded by Professor Reissner. Secretary Moore opened the floor for discussion of the amendment. Professor Freeman advocated for adoption of the resolution and noted that time was short for robust discussion. Professor Ray Dooley (Retired Faculty) requested re-reading of the resolution because it was difficult to read on the screen. Chair Beth Moracco noted that it appeared that more time was needed for Council discussion and suggested that a motion to postpone might be appropriate.

Professor Hessick made a motion to postpone the discussion of the resolution indefinitely. Professor Joan Krause (Law) seconded the motion. The motion passed. Secretary Moore stated that the matter would be taken back to the Agenda Committee for rescheduling and that the committee would take into account that the Council ran short of time.


Its business having concluded, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:06 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
University Program Associate

Jill Moore
Secretary of the Faculty



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