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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, November 12, 2010
3:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Multipurpose Room
Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Chancellor Holden Thorp and
Professor McKay Coble, Chair of the Faculty, presiding


3:00    Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:15    Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Provost Bruce Carney

3:30    Scholars at Risk Program

  • Prof. Altha Cravey, UNC-CH Scholars at Risk Committee
  • Prof. Abdul Sattar Jawad, Professor of Comparative Literature, Duke University

3:40    The Faculty Grievance and Hearings Process:  Overview and Committee Annual Reports

4:15    Exploring Options in a Confidential, Impartial, and Safe Space: The University Ombuds Office

  • Mr. Wayne Blair, University Ombuds
  • Prof. Laurie Mesibov, University Ombuds

4:30    Open Discussion:  All Topics and Speakers

  • Faculty Council and members of the UNC voting Faculty (members must be present to present questions or comments)

5:00    Adjourn


The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened November 12, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

The following 65 members and observers attended: Anderson, Bachenheimer, Bagnell, Balaban, Bechtel, Betts, Blalock, Brice, Brown, Carlson, Chapman, Coble, Copenhaver, Crowder, DeSaix, Eaker-Rich, Earp, Egan, Ferrell, Friga, Gehrig, Gilliland, Greene, Gulledge, Guskiewicz, Hayslett, Irons, Koomen, Kramer, Krome-Lukens, Lee, Leonard, Linden, McMillan, Mieczkowski, Milano, Moracco, Morris-Natschke, Morse, O’Shaughnessy, Palmer, Paul, Persky, Powers, Renner, Richardson, Schoenbach, Shea, Starkey, Stearns, Steponaitis, Stewart, Stotts, Swogger, Szypszak, H. Thorp, J. Thorp, Thrailkill, Tisdale, Tobin, Toews, Troster, Van Tilburg, Wallace, Webster-Cyriaque, and Yankaskas.

The following 19 members were granted excused absences: J. Brown, Chen, Cohen, Cornell, Fuchs-Lokensgar, Gallippi, Gerber, Heenan, Hess, Lopez, Lund, Maffly-Kipp, Mayer, Miller, New, Papanikolas, Rodgers, Schoenfisch, and Sunnaborg.

The following 6 members were absent without excuse: Catellier, Dilworth-Anderson, Gerhardt, Gilland, Shanahan, and Verkerk.

Call to Order

Chair of the Faculty McKay Coble called the meeting to order promptly at 3:00 p.m.

Chancellor’s Remarks

Chancellor Thorp named several colleagues who have recently received national recognition for outstanding accomplishments.

There were no questions or comments.

Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

Provost Bruce Carney reported briefly on the following items:

The Academic Plan is now in the discussion stage. Co-Chairs William Andrews and Sue Estroff are having one-on-one sessions with each of the academic deans. He said that the basic plan is essentially complete. The report itself will take longer but is moving along.

A task force appointed by former Provost Bernadette Gray-Little has been conducting a study of how overhead funds from external grants should be distributed. The task force’s findings and recommendations are now being examined for dollar consequences at the University level. Next, an analysis of consequences at the unit level will be done.

A salary equity committee requested by the most recent report of the Committee on the Status of Women has been appointed and is at work. It is chaired by Prof. Laurie McNeil.

The search for vice chancellor for research has begun; a search for dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, chaired by Dean James Dean, will begin soon; the search for dean of the School of Dentistry is nearly completion; a search is in progress for a new associate provost for global affairs; and work is beginning on a search for associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs.

The Office of State Budget & Management anticipates a $3.5 billion shortfall in the state budget due to elimination of federal stimulus funding and expiration of the most recent sales tax increase. Although the state’s economy is improving, the 2011-12 fiscal year will be difficult financially. A tuition increase is in prospect.

Scholars At Risk Program

Prof. Altha Cravey (Geography) described the Scholars at Risk Network. The program is based at New York University. It is an international network of individuals and institutions devoted to promoting academic freedom and defending the human rights of scholars worldwide. Carolina has been involved in the program since 2009.

Prof. Cravey introduced Prof. Abdul Satar Jawad, professor of comparative literature and middle eastern studies at Duke University, and a former member of the faculty of the University of Baghdad. Prof. Jawad told of his persecution by the government of Iraq and spoke warmly of his scholarly work in translating Shakespeare’s sonnets and the works of T.S. Eliot. Prof. Jawad received his Ph.D. from City University, London.

The Faculty Grievance and Hearing Process

Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell introduced a panel discussion of the faculty grievance and hearing processes with a PowerPoint presentation describing the structure of the Faculty Hearings Committee and the Faculty Grievance Committee and detailing the jurisdiction of each. A link to the presentation is available below.

Prof. Beverly Taylor (English & Comparative Literature) described the work of the Faculty Grievance Committee, which she chairs.

Prof. Aimee Wall (Government) described the work of the Faculty Hearings Committee, which she chairs.

General Counsel Leslie Strohm described how the Office of General Counsel interacts with the Hearings and Grievance Committees.

Prof. Laurie Mesibov and Mr. Wayne Blair described how the University Ombuds Office responds to requests for assistance.

At the conclusion of the above presentations, Chair of the Faculty Coble opened the floor for general discussion.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) said that he was still a bit perplexed at why the Council had gone into closed session in October to discuss a specific case that had been before the Hearings Committee. He felt that the administration’s position had been presented to the Council without an opportunity to hear from the other side. Chancellor Thorp replied that he would have preferred not have had this matter on the Council’s agenda, but he felt that reports that had appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education had raised questions that needed elucidation.

Prof. Margaret O’Shaughnessy (English & Comparative Literature) asked about student allegations of harassment by a faculty member. Ms. Strohm replied that there is a specific policies governing allegations of harassment. There are different procedures for students and employees (including faculty). A student who alleges harassment has several options. If the charge is that a faculty member has engaged in sexual harassment of a student, the student should first contact the department chair. If the case appears to warrant demotion or discharge, it would eventually go to the Faculty Hearings Committee.

Prof. Wesley Wallace (Emergency Medicine) asked for clarification as to the General Counsel’s involvement with the Grievance and Hearings Committees. Ms. Strohm replied that in the seven years she has been General Counsel, she has never attended a meeting of the Grievance Committee. She said that the General Counsel attends meetings of the Hearings Committee only if the faculty member being charged is represented by counsel and in that situation, the General Counsel represents the University.

Prof. Vin Steponaitis (Anthropology) asked for comment on how the committee chairs thought the process might be improved. Prof. Taylor replied that it would be good to have more publicity about what the committees are set up to do. She said that all too often faculty members find out about the Grievance Committee and its procedures so late that it is difficult to mediate a resolution. Prof. Wall said that the Hearings Committee needs administrative support. She also would like to see a “single port of entry” for faculty members who feel aggrieved but don’t know where to turn.

Prof. Thomas Egan (Surgery) said that he had reviewed 12 years of Hearings Committee reports and could find no instance of a committee finding of “not guilty” of the original charge but recommending a lesser sanction. Prof. Ferrell said he was award of at least one such case in which the committee found no grounds for discharge but recommended that the faculty member be suspended without pay for one year and encouraged to seek counseling. He said that Chancellor Hooker rejected that recommendation and the faculty member was discharged.

Prof. Egan asked whether there is a limitation on the number of witnesses that a faculty member may call. Prof. Wall said that the committee places a limit on the amount of time devoted to a particular case, but not on the number of witnesses.

Prof. Jane Thrailkill (English & Comparative Literature) asked about the responsibilities of the grievant in a case brought to the Grievance Committee. Prof. Taylor said that the grievant must be clear about exactly what the complaint is. Also, she said, the grievant must identify a specific policy or legal requirement that is alleged not to have been observed.

Prof. Andrew Bechtel (Journalism & Mass Communication) asked about how often cases are settled before hearing and wondered whether the Ombuds Office played some role in such cases. Mr. Blair replied that the Ombuds Office would not be involved in any formal settlement agreements, but that from time to time the Office has facilitated such.

A faculty member asked whether there is a policy that protects “whistle blowers.” Ms. Strohm replied that there is such a University policy and also a state law to the same effect.

Prof. Coble asked whether committee members receive any kind of training. Prof. Taylor said that there is not, but she recommended that committee chairs meet with the General Counsel before embarking on their term.
Prof. Victor Schoenbach (Epidemiology) expressed concern about the extent to which faculty members are held responsible for information security. He said that he understood the intent of the policies in place, but that the technical means available to faculty members to insure compliance is often very limited. Chancellor Thorp replied that this is a massive issue that universities across the nation and world are facing. He said that Carolina is moving rapidly to address these concerns.

Chancellor Thorp thanked the panel for its comments and said that he was pleased that this item was on today’s agenda.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell


Pdf of meeting materials

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