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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, October 8, 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    Call to Order

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:05    Presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Award, 2010

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:15    Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp

3:30    Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

  • Provost Bruce Carney

3:40    Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks/Appreciative Inquiry Followup

  • Chair of the Faculty McKay Coble

4:00    2010 Annual Report: Athletics Committee

  • Prof. Steve Reznick, Chair Faculty Athletics Committee
  • Prof. Jack Evans, on behalf of Faculty Athletics Representative Prof. Lissa Broome

4:30    Open Discussion:  All Topics and Speakers

5:00    Adjourn


The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened October 8, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

The following 69 members and observers attended: Bachenheimer, Balaban, Bechtel, Betts, Brown, Carlson, Chapman, Chen, Coble, Cornell, Crowder, Eaker-Rich, Earp, Ferrell, Friga, Fuchs Lokensgar, Gallippi, Gehrig, Gerhardt, Gilland, Gilliland, Greene, Hayslett, Irons, Koomen, Kramer, Krome-Lukens, Lee, Linden, Lund, Mayer, Mcmillan, Mieczkowski, Milano, Miller, Milone, Morse, New, O’Shaughnessey, Palmer, Papanikolas, Persky, Powers, Schoenbach, Shanahan, Shea, Starkey, Stearns, Steponaitis, Stotts Jr, Swogger, Szypszak, Thorp, Thrailkill, Tobin, Troster, Wallace, and Yankaskas.

The following 34 members and observers were granted excused absences Anderson, Bagnell, Blalock, Brice, Brown, Cohen, Copenhaver, Desaix, Dilworth-Anderson, Egan, Gerber, Gulledge, Guskiewicz, Heenan, Hess, Janken, Leonard, Lopez, Lothspeich, Maffly-Kipp, Moracco, Morris-Natschke, Paul, Renner, Richardson, Rodgers, Schoenfisch, Stewart, Sunnarborg, Thorp, Tisdale, Toews, Van Tilburg, and Webster-Cyriaque,

The following 2 members were absent without excuse: Catellier and Verkerk.

Call to Order

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

Thomas Jefferson Award

Chancellor Holden Thorp presented the 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award to John Parkhill “Jack” Evans, Hettleman Professor of Operations, Technology and Innovation Management in the Kenan-Flagler Business School. The Jefferson Award was established in 1962 Mr. Robert E. McConnell. It is given annually to that member of the faculty whose teaching and personal life  most closely approximates the philosophy and conduct of Thomas Jefferson. Recipients are chosen by the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards. Prof. George Lensing read the citation. Prof. Evans responded graciously.

Chancellor’s Remarks and Question Period

Chancellor Thorp opened his remarks by speaking to the ongoing NCAA investigation of Carolina’s football program. He said that this is a sad and upsetting situation for him because it has distracted attention from the important academic work that we have to do. Chancellor Thorp pointed out that our National Research Council rankings are good; we rank 21st in the nation among research universities; we have an outstanding student body; and we have been quite successful in new faculty hires. All of these things are much more important than football, he said. While intercollegiate athletics are important, winning on the athletic field is not the primary work of the university. Educating our students is our primary work, he emphasized. The chancellor said that the meeting of the Faculty Athletics Committee earlier this week was good and productive. The discussion centered on what can be done to help create an environment where student athletes can succeed in the classroom without compromising academic integrity. He said that Dean Bobbi Owen and Mr. John Blanchard will be working on ways to make that happen. Chancellor Thorp then said “I didn’t want to stake this much of my career on intercollegiate athletics, but we are going to try our best to create a proper environment.”

The chancellor next turned to details of the NCAA investigation. He said that we began with fifteen student athletes who had been identified as potentially in violation of NCAA regulations. They did not travel with the team to the opening game at LSU. Some of those students are the subject of alleged violations having to do with improper contacts with athletic agents and receiving improper benefits. Others are involved in an investigation of alleged academic misconduct. The chancellor said that the University has turned over all information that has been uncovered involving academic misconduct to the student attorney general, who will investigate and prosecute cases before the Honor Court. Chancellor Thorp said that he is proud of how Carolina handles cases of this nature; we are one of a very few institutions who rely entirely on student honor courts to handle instances of academic misconduct. He said that some of the student athletes are involved in both aspects of the investigation. He observed that the most difficult question at hand is how to get to the end of the investigations, but there appears to be no happy or simple answer. One option is to bench everyone being investigated; another is to allow everyone to play. Neither solution is acceptable, he said. At this point, the NCAA has joined in the investigation of academic misconduct. The chancellor pointed out that the steps involved in a NCAA investigation are many and complex, and that we are closer to the beginning of that process than the end of it.

Prof. Lloyd Kramer (History) alluded to media reports about long-standing relationships between former Coach John Blake and a prominent athletic agent. He asked whether the University has a policy governing such relationships. Chancellor Thorp replied that we don’t receive information from NCAA investigators until they decide to pass it on. At the time Coach Blake was asked to resign, we did not have direct evidence of improper relations with Mr. Gary Whichard, the agent in question. Director of Athletics Richard Baddour said that we will soon have in place a policy designed to prevent recurrence of such incidents. Chancellor Thorp said that an appropriate follow-up question is why the head coach did not know what was going on. He said “we have a lot of work to do to find out why Coach Davis didn’t know about these contacts.”

Prof. Vin Steponaitis (Anthropology) asked Chancellor Thorp to comment on the broader issue of whether there is an imbalance between athletics and academics. The chancellor replied “that’s the thing that keeps me up at night more than the individual details. I want to decide what’s right for Carolina and what’s right for intercollegiate athletics. The hardest thing about this is managing a crisis while asking what is ultimately right for UNC Chapel Hill.” He said that he is most concerned about the environment for our students. His second concern is how to make sure that academic values come first. His third concern is how to keep the good parts of what we have. If we are to earn our way back to the leadership position we had, we have to remain competitive. Then, we will need to work out the economics of the situation. Chancellor Thorp said that our Olympic sports are very important both to him and to Mr. Baddour. He concluded by observing that addressing the question Prof. Steponaitis posed is like repairing an airplane in mid-flight.

Prof. Jay Smith (History) said that he was troubled by how little most of the faculty know about the Honor Court phase of the investigation. Specifically, he asked how the alleged academic misconduct came to light; can we be informed as to what courses were involved; may we know who is pressing the charges? Chancellor Thorp replied that students are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which requires that their identity not be disclosed without their consent—a protection that extends to all students, not just student athletes. He said that information about potential academic misconduct came to light when the name of the tutor involved was given by one of the students to an NCAA investigator. At that point, he said, we began to piece together which students had been in contact with her. He said that a number of faculty members have been contacted by those investigating the incidents, including the student attorney general. The chancellor said that faculty members are normally not present at Honor Court hearings unless they are called to testify.

The Secretary of the Faculty moved that the Council and General Faculty go into closed session pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6) to discuss a personnel matter. The motion was adopted.

The Council heard statements by the chancellor and the provost concerning the demotion and salary reduction for Prof. Bonnie Yankaskas (Radiology) as reported in the October 10, 2010, issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Prof. Yankaskas responded briefly.

The Council returned to open session.

Vice Chancellor Larry Conrad responded to several questions about information technology security issues.

Prof. Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology & Immunology) asked for comment on the state budget outlook. Chancellor Thorp said it is difficult to parse the situation due to a number of uncertainties: the anticipated shortfall in available revenue, the impending general election which could result in new leadership in the General Assembly, and a new administration at UNC General Administration. He said that Carolina will be working hard to be sure that any tuition increases remain on campus rather than being diverted to the state’s General Fund.

Provost’s Remarks and Question Period

Provost Bruce Carney that he has scheduled a series of meetings with the deans and major center directors to be sure he understands what impact a 5 percent or a 10 percent cut in state funding would have on their units. He said that the tuition task force is already at work, but it is difficult to proceed without knowing more about the overall state budget picture than we do at this point.
The provost also reported on the following items:

  • Dean Jean Folkerts (Journalism and Mass Communication) will be stepping down as dean this summer, despite efforts to dissuade her. A search committee chaired by Dean James Dean (Kenan-Flagler Business School) is being organized.
  • Associate Provost Archie Ervin (Diversity & Multi-Cultural Affairs) will be leaving Carolina to take a similar position at Georgia Tech.
  • A diversity assessment survey is being developed. It will survey all faculty, staff, and students.
  • Appointments to the faculty equity study committee have been completed.

Response to the Council’s Appreciative Inquiry Exercise

Prof. McKay Coble, Chair of the Faculty, reported on plans being formulated by the Agenda Committee to respond to suggestions generated by the Appreciate Inquiry exercise undertaken at the September Council meeting.

Annual Report of the Faculty Athletics Committee

Prof. Steve Reznik (Psychology), chair of the Faculty Athletics Committee, spoke to the committee’s annual report. He singled out for special mention the committee’s ongoing discussion of Thursday night football games, and the renovation of Kenan stadium. He pointed out that the committee’s mission is to inform the faculty and advise the chancellor on issues related to athletics. He said that the committee follows a standard format for each meeting. First, the committee invites formal remarks from the chancellor followed by remarks by the Director of Athletics. Then follows time for comments, questions, and suggestions by members of the committee. He said that the committee is currently working on plans to make elementary and secondary education and health sciences disciplines more feasible career goals for students engaged in intercollegiate athletics.

Prof. Jane Brown (Journalism & Mass Communication) said that she had recently learned that Carolina is one of the few institutions with a self-supporting intercollegiate athletics program. She asked for comment. Director of Athletics Richard Baddour responded that it is unusual for athletics programs to be self-sufficient, but there are no uniform accounting standards to support rigorous comparisons. For example, he said, we treat the student athletics fee as a revenue of the Department of Athletics and there is some state support for maintenance of the Smith Center.

Prof. Bachemeimer said that he understood that the Academic Support Center is a unit of the College of Arts and Sciences, not the Department of Athletics. He asked who supervises tutors engaged to work with players. Dean Bobbi Owen replied that in her capacity as senior associate dean for undergraduate education she oversees the heads of a number of units who work directly with students, including the Academic Support Center.

Prof. Paul Friga (Business) asked about logo licensing revenue. Mr. Baddour replied that all licensing revenue goes to the Office of Student Aid

Annual Report of the Faculty Athletics Representative

Prof. Jack Evans (Business) reported as the immediately preceding Faculty Athletics Representative since the annual report covers activities during his last year in that position. He reviewed in detail the functions of the position.

General Questions

Prof. Lloyd Kramer (History) said that graduate students in his department have questioned why they are required to pay the student athletics fee. He said that fees now total about $1,800 annually and can be burdensome on graduate students who generally have to be self-supporting. Chancellor Thorp said that the extent to which graduate students have an interest in  athletics “varies all over the map.” He said that the issue of whether graduate students should pay student fees for activities primarily of interest to undergraduates has been with us a long time. Our rationale has been that all students pay all fees, without regard to whether an individual student needs or wants all of the services for which the fees pay. He mentioned the fee for child care as an example of a fee of little interest to undergraduates. The chancellor thought it impractical to allow individual students to opt out of particular fees.


Its business having been completed, the Council adjourned at 4:47 p.m.

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty


Pdf of meeting materials

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