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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, September 8, 2017, from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Kerr Hall, 1001 (Eshelman School of Pharmacy)


3:00 p.m. Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

3:10 p.m. Presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Award

  • Professor Beth Mayer-Davis reading citation
  • Professor Alice Ammerman (recipient)

3:25 p.m. Presentation of the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty

  • Professor Mara Buchbinder, Social Medicine
  • Professor Spencer Smith, Cell Biology and Physiology
  • Professor James Cahoon, Department of Chemistry
  • Professor Stephanie Wheeler, Department of Health Policy and Management

3:35 p.m. Provost’s remarks

  • Provost Jim Dean

3:40 p.m. Ceremonial Resolution (PDF)

3:45 p.m. Chancellor’s remarks

4:25 p.m. Resolution 2017-10. On Silent Sam (PDF)

  • Professor Leslie Parise, chair of the faculty

4:40 p.m. General Curriculum Revision Update

5:00 p.m. Adjourn

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 September 8, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. in Kerr Hall, room 1001 at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The following 51 members attended: Ammerman, Anksorus, Babb, Beltran, Berkowitz, Berman, Calikoglu, Clement, Cox, Cuddeback, Dobelstein, Duqum, Edwards, Estrada, Fisher, Folt (Chancellor), Furry, Giovanello, Handler, Hannig, Hastings, Hessick, Hill, Hobbs, Ives, Kang, Khan, Levine, Mauro, Mayer-Davis, McBride, Melehy, Mizzy, Moore, Muller, Parise (Chair of the Faculty), Perelmuter, Platts-Mills, Pukkila, Renner, Sawyer, Scarlett, Stearns, Steponaitis (Secretary of the Faculty), Thorpe, Upshaw, Wallace, Willet, Yaqub, Zamboni and Zvara.

The following 22 members received excused absences: Aikat, Ansong, Arnold, Baumgartner, Bloom, Boettiger Cooney, Brewster, Burch, Chambers, Chapman, Daughters, Estigarribia, Fry, Joyner, Larson, Lee, Mayer, Nelson, Neta, Rashid, Savasta-Kennedy, Song, Tepper, Thorp and Williams.

The following 19 members were absent without excuse: Austin, Coble, Coyne-Beasley, Elsherif, Felix, Gilchrist, Gilland, Kireev, Koonce, Kris,  Levine, Lithgow, Lundberg, Malloy, Osterweil and Ramaswamy.

Others in attendance: Dean (Provost), Andringa (Undergraduate Representative), Filene (Undergraduate Representative), Rubin (Undergraduate Representative) and Stember (Graduate Representative).

Chair of the Faculty’s remarks

Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise welcomed everyone to the first Faculty Council meeting of the academic year. She said it was her distinct pleasure to be in a position where she has the ability to listen to the concerns of the faculty and facilitate solutions along with the leaders of the University. Professor Parise sent good wishes to the people in Houston facing the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the people in the Caribbean and South Florida facing Hurricane Irma. Professor Parise acknowledged members of the Faculty Executive Committee and thanked them and the Office of Faculty Governance staff for their work over the summer. She recognized Professor Eric Muller (Law) for his new podcast “Scapegoat City” that explores the internment of Japanese citizens during WWII.

Professor Parise explained that the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) passed Resolution 2017-9 (PDF) on the proposal by the Board of Governors to ban UNC centers and institutes from engaging in litigation or providing legal counsel to third party clients. FEC has the authority to pass resolutions on behalf of the Faculty Council when prompt action is required. Professor Parise said she is disappointed that the Board of Governors (BOG) voted to ban UNC centers and institutions from initiating litigation and providing legal services. Many people felt this proposal unfairly targeted the Center for Civil Rights and legal training.

Professor Parise said the BOG’s decision has unintended consequences. For example, if a center or institute advises a University startup, it can no longer provide legal counsel for the startup. Dean of the Law School Martin Brinkley, Director of the Center for Civil Rights Ted Shaw, Chancellor Folt, and countless alumni and attorneys from across the country wrote in support of the Center for Civil Rights. Professor Parise recognized and thanked the Faculty Assembly Delegation for supporting the resolution and sending it to the BOG.

Professor Parise said the Faculty Executive Committee and the Faculty Assembly discussed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) repeal, and the Faculty Assembly will release a statement.

The Faculty Council and committee chairs’ orientation was held on August 25, 2017.  Each attendee wrote down issues that Faculty Council should focus on this academic year. Students, fixed-term faculty, Silent Sam, athletics and the budget were the most mentioned topics. Professor Parise said she needs the help of the Council to address many of these issues.

Professor Parise announced several new faculty leadership opportunities sponsored by the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE).  These include the Faculty in Residence Program: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the Faculty Learning Community for new faculty and the Faculty Leadership and Professional Skills Series. The Honorary Degrees and Special Awards Committee is accepting nominations for the Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Awards, which recognize a UNC alumni/ae who has made outstanding contributions to humanity.

Presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Award

Chancellor Folt announced that this year’s winner of the Thomas Jefferson Award is Professor Alice Ammerman (Nutrition).

Professor Elizabeth Mayer-Davis (Nutrition) read the Award Citation (PDF).

Professor Ammerman said it was an interesting and complicated time to be given an award named after Thomas Jefferson. She learned more about Thomas Jefferson recently when she saw the Broadway play “Hamilton.” She recited a “Hamilton”-style rap to acknowledge the challenging times that UNC is facing and how she is grateful to be a part of the University. Chancellor Folt then presented the award. The faculty stood and cheered.

Presentation of the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty

The Hettleman Prizes recognize achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track or recently tenured faculty. Chancellor Folt presented the Hettleman prize to Mara Buchbinder, associate professor of social medicine,  and to James Cahoon, associate professor of chemistry. Chancellor Folt also recognized Steven Smith, assistant professor of cell biology and physiology and Stephanie Wheeler, associate professor of health policy and management. Professors Smith and Wheeler could not attend the Faculty Council meeting.  All recipients were honored with applause.

Provost James Dean’s remarks

Provost James Dean said it has been an honor to serve the University. He has treasured the opportunity to get to know the Faculty Council, a talented group of scholars and teachers. Provost Dean thanked the Faculty Council for their service and recognized the Council as an important tradition at UNC-Chapel Hill. He encouraged Faculty Council to make certain that the voice of the faculty is heard in academic decisions. The faculty still has an important role in University decision making via their elected representatives. Provost Dean said it has been an honor to serve as provost, and he wishes the Faculty Council the best of luck.

Resolution 2017-11. In Appreciation for James W. Dean Jr.’s Service as Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis invited a motion to suspend the rules in order to consider a ceremonial resolution. This motion was offered, seconded and passed unanimously. Professor Joy Renner (Medicine) read the resolution in English and Professor Nina Furry (Romance Studies) read a portion of the resolution in French.

Resolution 2017-11 passed by acclamation and was followed by extended applause.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Folt welcomed everyone to the start of the academic year and discussed how recent events fit with the Strategic Framework. One of the main tenets of the Strategic Framework is being “of the public and for the public.” She said we have to fully embrace and exemplify what it means to be a truly public university. The second tenet is “innovation made fundamental,” which requires rethinking the way we do things. Faculty must drive this change. The chancellor noted that Carolina has 30,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff and $1 billion in research funding.

Chancellor Folt recently attended Times Higher Education World Academic Summit in London. Presidents and chancellors from universities around the world attended the meeting. She spoke on a panel about diversity and inclusion at great research universities. She talked about what it means to be an elite university and still be excellent and diverse. Chancellor Folt said a university could not be great if it isn’t diverse. She explained that talent is not associated with wealth.

Chancellor Folt said she is in the process of launching the Capital Campaign. In the three years since the development team was rebuilt with the guidance of Vice Chancellor for Development David Routh, the University has raised $1.5 billion. Our state funding will not increase, and the BOG may lower tuition. We have to continue to demonstrate the value of UNC and strengthen the generosity of our alumni. The University is seeking support for faculty and student work. The College is currently revising the General Curriculum. With the help of faculty, the University is preparing to launch a series of online and blended programs, which will allow UNC to serve 5,000 to 10,000 more North Carolinians. The Arts Everywhere campaign has produced the greatest fundraising efforts for the arts in the history of the University.

Chancellor Folt said coverage of the Carolina Whole Health Initiative has been overshadowed by other recent news. The UNC Medical Center and the Carolina Medical Center are discussing ways to merge. This merge would make UNC’s academic medical center the largest in the country addressing the medical needs of 60 to 70 percent of North Carolinians.

Chancellor Folt said University leaders are rethinking undergraduate and graduate advising programs through the Blue Sky Initiative. Faculty are the main advisors for students, and advising is one of the most important partnerships between faculty and students. Eighteen pan-university initiatives have faculty involvement. They are attempting to secure funding to preserve need-blind admissions and the Carolina Covenant. The University is currently backstopping these initiatives with limited unrestricted funds.

Chancellor Folt said that changing our funding model is necessary because the University no longer has funding to cover shortfalls. Even though there are new gifts, these gifts are earmarked for specific purposes. The BOG is rethinking the funding model for all universities for the first time in 20 years. They are also rethinking the role they have in selecting chancellors and whether chancellors will participate in BOG meetings and on system-wide committees. This is a part of a larger conversation as the BOG members decide what roles they will assume. The BOG delegates much of its authority over the system campuses to each Board of Trustees (BOT). The BOG is also considering improving the efficiency of General Administration (GA), consolidating debt and cutting tuition. Both the federal government and the BOG are rethinking Title IX. Some of these decisions have 45-day timelines. One of our challenges is to figure out how to operate as a functioning institution at the speed in which these decisions are made. There could be potential changes as the BOG examines aspects of diversity and inclusion on all campuses.

Chancellor Folt said there are changes occurring at the federal level. The Senate may increase Pell Grants. At the panel Chancellor Folt attended with President Trump, it was recommended that there be no cuts to Facilities and Administration (F&A) and continued increase of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds. On the state level, there is a new free-speech law. Administrators are trying to determine this law’s implications for our campus. She was disappointed that the BOG voted to eliminate the Center for Civil Rights’ capacity to litigate. She said they will have to find support for faculty in the law school to continue work on civil rights.

Professor Rosa Perelmuter (Romance Studies) said she feels that there is very little faculty can accomplish, regardless of their efforts, because they are being ignored by the BOG. She asked how faculty can make a difference.

Chancellor Folt said faculty members have power as citizens. Many of the topics discussed are not under the control of the faculty or administrators. Chancellor Folt said it is important to understand what it means to be a part of a public university and then ask ourselves what we can do to maintain excellence. Faculty members have a voice in their classrooms, research and the curriculum.

Professor emeritus James Peacock (Anthropology) said he was appointed by Julius Chambers to the board of the Center for Civil Rights. He applauded the Faculty Executive Committee resolution and asked what the next steps are for the Center’s work.

Chancellor Folt said the next step is to consult the faculty and the dean of the law school. They prepared a 50-page document that explores alternatives.

Professor Stephen Leonard (Political Science) said he attended every BOG meeting for the past five years and what happened over the past few days is historically unprecedented. The vote on the Center for Civil Rights marks the second time in three years that the BOG has interfered with faculty authority over curriculum, research and service. He said these are accreditation problems, and he will send a letter of information to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the American Bar Association if his colleagues from the law school have not. Professor Leonard said there are many things that the BOG will consider over the next few months that the faculty should monitor closely.

Chancellor Folt said each action of the BOG will be discussed in committees that have representation from UNC-Chapel Hill. Five representatives from UNC sit on the BOG’s committee tasked with reconsidering the current budget model. The Gillings School of Global Public Health brought senators and legislators to the University.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) said other universities have been able to trade more independence for less public funding. He asked if this would be a better option for the University.

Chancellor Folt said the idea has been discussed. Margaret Spellings and the BOG have added a metric in the UNC-system strategic plan that allows for increased financial support based on increasing our value. This metric encourages transparency and the development of financial models that give us more autonomy.

Professor Sally Stearns (Public Health) asked Chancellor Folt what the Faculty Council can do with regard to the rescinding of DACA.

Chancellor Folt said she is disappointed about this action. According to NC law, anyone who is undocumented must pay out-of-state tuition so there are not very many DACA students in the UNC system. Every DACA student is covered by non-state funded financial aid. People who know the identity of these students are reaching out to provide assistance. Many students, who are citizens, have family members who are not. Chancellor Folt acknowledged Executive Vice Provost and Chief International Officer Ron Strauss and his team for their support of our global students.

Professor Strauss said the University does not keep information about the identities of DACA students, and they are not asking them to reveal themselves. They are making information available to these students about their legal options when requested. People are concerned about coming to United States universities from abroad. Professor Strauss said there are UNC students in Mexico and the Caribbean that they have contacted. At any given point, there are 2,000 to 3,000 Carolina students abroad.

Professor Lloyd Kramer (History) asked for an update on the NCAA investigation and whether the University will challenge the ruling in legal proceedings if it is not favorable to the University.

Chancellor Folt said we should be hearing from the NCAA soon. After the ruling has been made, the BOG and the Attorney General have to approve the next steps.

Professor Florence Babb (Anthropology) asked what kind of support the faculty could offer to Chancellor Folt. She appreciated that there was a resolution on Silent Sam, but wondered why there was not more passion in the wording. Professor Babb also felt that a sense of urgency was missing from the resolution.

Chancellor Folt said she can’t break NC General Statute § 100-2.1 (PDF), which prevents her from taking down the statue. The law talks about public safety, but only in regard to the integrity of the statue. The chancellor’s main concern is the safety of individual people, which is not addressed in the law. Chancellor Folt and President Spellings wrote to Governor Roy Cooper requesting that the he convene the State Historical Commission to assess the situation and allow the University to remove Silent Sam for public safety reasons. The BOG felt as if President Spellings should have instructed Chancellor Folt to tell the community to obey the law, instead of sending the letter directly to the governor without consulting with the board first. Chancellor Folt said discussions about Silent Sam started two years ago during the renaming of Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall. After the North Carolina General Assembly passed the statute prohibiting state agencies from permanently removing any “object of remembrance,” the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History began working on contextualizing markers. Chancellor Folt stressed the importance of educating people about the history of monuments and buildings.

Professor Stephen Leonard (Political Science) said the chancellor and the president of the university system have been put in a position where they have to enforce a law that passed without opposition. He was stunned that none of the BOG or the BOT members opposed the law at the time of its passage. Professor Leonard said this exemplifies the breakdown of shared governance.

Chancellor Folt said the law passed unanimously in the Senate. She spent time in Germany examining how they contextualized Nazi history. Chancellor Folt said she hopes that as an educational community we take on the challenge to do what is within our power. There are actions we can take as citizens and actions that the University can take.

Professor Eric Muller (Law) said none of the contextualization in Germany involves the preservation of any object that continues to honor the Nazis, which is important to remember. Professor Muller asked if University Counsel thinks that there are no other legal arguments for removing Silent Sam or if there are good arguments, but they do not feel there will be support up the chain of command to advance these arguments.

Chancellor Folt said the law only allows for removal if the physical integrity of the statue is compromised. She thinks there are other ways to think about safety and well-being in regard to campus safety.

Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Mark Merritt said the statute gives authority to the North Carolina Historical Commission to alter or move historical monuments, but does not articulate any standards. The Historical Commission can only authorize the movement of “objects of remembrance” to places of similar prominence. The Historical Commission has provided no guidance in how they are going to exercise that authority. A building inspector can take down a monument or building if it is posing a threat to public safety, and Chancellor Folt is not considered a building inspector. Mr. Merritt said they are going to obey the law, protect students and respect peaceful protestors. They are also going to see what they can do to clarify the law and if the Historical Commission can offer guidance.

Professor Andy Hessick (Law) asked what the plan is to protect public safety if the statue isn’t removed.

The Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History designed a marker that they will send to the BOG for approval to place next to Silent Sam. There is around-the-clock surveillance of Silent Sam, and Chancellor Folt is documenting the time and resources this requires. Chancellor Folt said the proactive stance is to continue with the contextualization work of the task force. The protective stance is to continue protecting the space around the monument. Her main concern is that counter-protesters will come from outside the university and jeopardize the safety of the students. Chancellor Folt said she is not trying to prohibit students from protesting, but wants to protect them while they protest.

Professor Amy Levine (Medicine) asked where Silent Sam would be relocated to if the North Carolina Historical Commission gave the University permission to move it.

Chancellor Folt said the monument must be put in a place of equal prominence. She has received letters from groups that may be interested in the monument.

Chancellor Folt said we spend a lot time trying to be proactive, and it is important to think of both the positive things we can accomplish, as well as the challenges we face. If this narrative is lost the work done by the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History could be lost. It can be difficult to rapidly communicate and disseminate information when legislative decisions happen so rapidly.

Chancellor Folt said Provost Bob Blouin will put together a faculty advisory group charged with helping the chancellor and the provost stay proactive with faculty issues and concerns. In this time of fast-breaking news, faculty want to be a part of the decision-making process, and we need to create a system that makes this easier. Chancellor Folt said Provost Blouin will head the advisory group; Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise and Professor Rumay Alexander (Nursing) will be a part of the group. Deans will pick a representative from each school and deans from each critical area of arts and humanities will pick a representative. This group can be the think tank that finds a way to mobilize directly within the faculty.

Resolution 2017-10. On Silent Sam (PDF)

Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise presented Resolution 2017-10 on behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC). She explained that the Faculty Council will vote on the resolution and not the rationale.

Secretary of the Faculty Vin Steponaitis stated the question and opened the floor for discussion.

Professor Vaughn Upshaw (Public Health) asked for the removal of the words “for many” from the rationale.

Professor Steponaitis said the question before Faculty Council is the resolution, not the rationale.

Professor Andy Hessick (Law) asked if the idea behind the resolution is that Faculty Council agrees with the decision to lawfully remove Silent Sam or is it that Faculty Council supports the decision of the president and the chancellor to move or not move Silent Sam.

Professor Parise said the resolution is stating that Faculty Council supports the request of Chancellor Folt and President Spellings to relocate the monument.

Professor emeritus Joseph Ferrell (Government) said the resolution is the only item added to the official record.

Professor Lee Berkowitz (Medicine) said he is hung up on idea that if you support the resolution, it is because you support the rationale.

Professor Steponaitis said the rationale represents a consensus statement of the way the FEC thought about the resolution. FEC tried to summarize the input they have received. He said the question before Council is the resolution.

Professor Stephen Leonard (Political Science) said the resolution is a one-off solution to a problem that will persist. The problem is the legislation itself. Professor Leonard said there are other places on campus that will be targeted at some point. When a similar situation arises, Faculty Council will have adopt more resolutions.

Professor Jill Moore (Government) moved to amend the resolution to “We support the removal of Silent Sam from McCorkle place and urge President Spellings, Chancellor Folt, the Governor, the North Carolina Historical Commission, the Board of Governors, the Board of Trustees, and the General Assembly to work together to make this move possible.” This motion was seconded by Vaughn Upshaw.

Professor Rosa Perelmuter (Romance Studies) said it doesn’t make sense to say “we support the removal” of the statue if the resolution does not state who the Faculty Council is supporting.

Professor Jill Moore (Government) changed her motion to “we request the removal.” This change was accepted by the seconder.

Professor Courtney Edwards (Business) made a motion to postpone the vote on Resolution 2017-10 until the next Faculty Council meeting. This motion was seconded and it did not pass a voice vote.

Professor David Zvara (Medicine) called for division on the vote just taken. A count confirmed that the nays had it and the motion to postpone was defeated.

The motion to amend the final language to “We request the removal of Silent Sam from McCorkle Place and urge President Spellings, Chancellor Folt, the Governor, the North Carolina Historical Commission, the Board of Governors, the Board of Trustees, and the General Assembly to work together to make this move possible” was passed.

Resolution 2017-10, as amended, was then passed by voice vote, not unanimously and with two abstentions.

Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:05 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Kadejah Murray
University Program Associate

Vin Steponaitis
Secretary of the Faculty

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