Tuesday, September 18, 2012
4:00 p.m.
Nelson Mandela Auditorium
FedEx Global Education Center, 301 Pittsboro St.

Professor Jan Boxill, Chair of the Faculty, presiding

Twitter hashtag:  #GenFaculty

Agenda

4:00 pm  Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks

  • Prof. Jan Boxill

4:10 pm  Remarks from members of the Faculty Executive Commmittee

  • Prof. Mimi Chapman
  • Prof. Greg Copenhaver
  • Prof. Michael Gerhardt
  • Prof. Leslie Parise

4:20 pm  Introduction of Resolutions

Resolution 2012-13.

The General Faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, convened in special session September 18, 2012, affirms its support for Chancellor Holden Thorp and respectfully requests that UNC President Thomas Ross decline to accept Chancellor Thorp’s announced resignation.  We believe that, despite the difficulties of the present moment, Holden Thorp remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times.  With the university’s Faculty Executive Committee, the College of Arts and Sciences Council of Chairs, and other campus groups, we urge that President Ross, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, and the UNC Board of Governors continue to provide the support the chancellor needs to remain in office.

  • Presented by the Faculty Executive Committee, Prof. Boxill, Chair
4:55 pm  Final Announcements
  • Prof. Boxill
5:00 pm  Automatic Adjournment

Minutes

Journal of Proceedings of the General Faculty

Pursuant to the call of the Chair of the Faculty, the General Faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened in special session in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium of the FedEx Global Education Center at 4:00 p.m. on September 18, 2012.

Call to order

Chair of the Faculty Jan Boxill called the meeting to order. She stated the purpose of the meeting to be consideration of a resolution proposed by the Faculty Executive Committee with respect to Chancellor Holden Thorp’s announcement that he intends to resign as of the end of the 2012-13 academic year.

Chancellor’s Remarks

As Chancellor Thorp entered the auditorium, the faculty rose in an extended standing ovation. He thanked the faculty for their support and said that it was a moving experience to see so many colleagues assembled. He reiterated that no one asked him to resign and that he came to the decision on his own with input from his family. He said the decision to resign was the hardest decision he has ever had to make and it has been a tumultuous time for the university and for his family. He said he has been overwhelmed with support and that his students also gave him a standing ovation in his class on entrepreneurship. “There are a lot of things about the past two years that I would do differently,” he said, “but it’s an enormous challenge to be the great research university that we are and to operate in the environment in which we find ourselves.” He said that he had discussed his decision with UNC President Tom Ross, who had tried to talk him out of it. In the end, President Ross agreed with the decision but asked him to stay on until a new chancellor in in place, which he has agreed to do. He paused and said that right now his plan is “to sit out there with you. It looks really good to me right now.” The faculty gave the Chancellor another sustained standing ovation as he left the meeting.

Chair of the Faculty Remarks

Prof. Boxill said the Faculty Executive Committee had met in an emergency meeting at 4:00 pm on September 17, 2012, in response to a resolution passed by the Council of Chairs of the College of Arts and Sciences in support of Chancellor Thorp’s continued leadership. The resolution “asks the Chancellor to reconsider his decision to resign; and … respectfully urge[s] the UNC President, the Board of Trustees, and the Board of Governors to continue providing the support the Chancellor needs to remain in office.”  The resolution also praised Chancellor Thorp for providing extraordinary leadership in difficult economic times, championing innovation and entrepreneurship, increasing external grants, defending the academic mission of the university, and handling controversies related to academics and athletics. (See Appendix A.)

Prof. Boxill said that the Faculty Executive Committee discussed the Council of Chair’s resolution and drafted a similar statement in support of the Chancellor which states that the faculty have “found the chancellor to be thoughtful, engaged with the faculty and its elected leadership, receptive and open, and highly responsive to faculty concerns about protecting the integrity of the university’s academic mission.” The statement also commends Chancellor Thorp for his ability to steer the university in a difficult economy while minimizing the impact on faculty and students.  (See Appendix B.) The Executive Committee also advised the call of a special meeting of the General Faculty to consider a formal resolution calling on Chancellor Thorp to reconsider his decision to resign.

The Chair of the Faculty asked members of the Faculty Executive Committee to stand and give comments about Chancellor Thorp’s leadership.

Prof. Mimi Chapman (Social Work) said that the Chancellor’s speech shortly after he took office has served as her inspiration. He spoke about the university’s duty to solve the world’s greatest problems and outlined an ambitious “to do” list. She said that the Chancellor shouldn’t leave because he feels he is not needed, but instead we need to continue working on his “to do” list.

Prof. Greg Copenhaver (Biology) stressed that the Chancellor embodies the best of UNCs values and whoever is Chancellor following Thorp’s resignation should embody the same values. He said that the university is much more than an athletics program and sports teams.

Prof. Michael Gerhardt (Law) said that the Chancellor has never bent on his commitment to academic integrity and no one has ever been as receptive and open to faculty input as Chancellor Thorp. He said that the Chancellor has shown confidence in the faculty and the mission of the University.

Prof. Leslie Parise (Biochemistry and Biophysics) praised Chancellor Thorp for seeing the University through a period of economic difficulty.

Employee Forum Chair Remarks

Employee Forum Chair Jackie Overton reported that the Forum’s Executive Committee passed a statement earlier in the day in support of Chancellor Thorp at their meeting. The statement outlined many of the policies that Chancellor Thorp has put into place during his tenure that have had a positive impact on staff. Those policies included raising the minimum wage for university workers, addressing longstanding problems in the housekeeping department, and funding the campus community garden to benefit the lowest paid university staff members. (See Appendix C.)

Retired Faculty Association Representative Remarks

Prof. Emeritus Jonathan Howes read a resolution of support adopted by the Retired Faculty Association acknowledging and thanking Chancellor Thorp for his leadership. (See Appendix D.)

Resolution 2012-13. On Support for Chancellor Holden Thorp

Secretary of the Faculty Joe Ferrell called for a motion to suspend the rules to allow consideration of a resolution without 24 hours’ notice. The motion was adopted and the rules were suspended.

On behalf of the Faculty Executive Committee, Prof. Boxill laid before the General Faculty the following resolution:

Resolution 2012-13. On Support for Chancellor Holden Thorp

The General Faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, convened in special session September 18, 2012, affirms its support for Chancellor Holden Thorp and respectfully requests that UNC President Thomas Ross decline to accept Chancellor Thorp’s announced resignation. We believe that, despite the difficulties of the present moment, Holden Thorp remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times. With the university’s Faculty Executive Committee, the College of Arts and Sciences Council of Chairs, and other campus groups, we urge that President Ross, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, and the UNC Board of Governors continue to provide the support the chancellor needs to remain in office.

Prof. Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld (Anthropology) said that he is concerned that athletics have dominated Chancellor Thorp’s tenure and that we must be sure that issues surrounding athletics do not dominate the future Chancellor’s time at Carolina as well. He said that the dominance of sports is the real problem and that we need to grapple with this issue. Chancellor Thorp has shown that he is attempting to deal with athletics, but cannot do it without the support of the faculty.

Prof. Sue Estroff (Social Medicine) said that the faculty did not take responsibility soon enough for the making the university a place that the Chancellor would want to lead.

Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser said this meeting sends a strong signal about the character and values of UNC as a university. He stated “the Carolina Way is not a myth. It is not a cynical joke. It is real and the faculty today have demonstrated that.”

Prof. Jane Thrailkill (English and Comparative Literature) lauded Chancellor Thorp for challenging the notion that faculty cannot lead the university. She said he demonstrates flexibility of mind with his appreciation of the arts, sciences, and humanities. She wants to push against the notion that faculty governance leads to problems of leadership. She expressed anxiety about the “Blue Ribbon Committee.”

Prof. Boxill (Philosophy) reiterated he support for Chancellor Thorp, calling him a “real humanist.”

The resolution was adopted.

Adjournment

Having no further business, the special meeting of the General Faculty was adjourned at 5:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted
Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

 Appendix A
A Resolution in Support of Chancellor Holden Thorp by the Council of Chairs, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC-Chapel Hill

Whereas  Chancellor Holden Thorp has provided extraordinary leadership to UNC-Chapel Hill through very difficult economic times;

Whereas  he has set the university on an intellectually exciting course through his championing of innovation and entrepreneurship;

Whereas  external grants have increased significantly during his brief tenure;

Whereas  he has strongly affirmed and defended the academic mission of the university;

Whereas  his integrity in handling the recent athletic and academic controversies has been exemplary; and

Whereas  the General Faculty, at its meeting last week, unanimously passed a resolution supporting his actions in response to these controversies.

Therefore, be it resolved

that the Council of Chairs in the College of Arts and Sciences respectfully asks the Chancellor to reconsider his decision to resign; and

that we respectfully urge the UNC President, the Board of Trustees, and the Board of Governors to continue providing the support the Chancellor needs to remain in office.

[Passed by the Council of Chairs, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC-Chapel Hill, at its meeting on September 17, 2012.]

Appendix B
Faculty Executive Committee statement on the resignation of Chancellor Holden Thorp

The UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Executive Committee passed the following statement in emergency session, Monday, September 17, 2012.

We the members of the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Executive Committee were dismayed to learn earlier today of Holden Thorp’s decision to resign as our chancellor as of June 30, 2013. We have worked closely with Chancellor Thorp for many months as he has dealt with the unfolding academic scandal emerging from the investigation into UNC athletics, and we have found the chancellor to be thoughtful, engaged with the faculty and its elected leadership, receptive and open, and highly responsive to faculty concerns about protecting the integrity of the university’s academic mission. In particular, Chancellor Thorp without hesitation supported the efforts of our own faculty subcommittee to dig deeper into the problems that may have contributed to the academic scandal. Thus, our own experience working with Chancellor Thorp has been entirely positive.

In emergency session this afternoon, we observed that:

The Council of Chairs in the College of Arts and Sciences today passed a resolution supporting Chancellor Thorp and urging him to reconsider his decision to resign.

The Faculty Council and General Faculty, meeting on September 7, endorsed a strong resolution of support for the steps and actions Chancellor Thorp has taken in response to the revelations of recent months and the various studies and reports that have been undertaken.

Chancellor Thorp is a devoted, accomplished member of Carolina’s faculty who has demonstrated, time and again, his understanding of, respect for, and support of the critical role of the faculty in Carolina’s success.

Chancellor Thorp has been an approachable, accessible, sincere partner with faculty in our efforts to make Carolina better.

Chancellor Thorp has demonstrated integrity, vision, thoughtfulness, and intelligence in considering the university’s challenges and has done his best to make informed, reasoned decisions under very difficult circumstances.

In regularly seeking the counsel of the faculty’s elected and appointed representatives and in demonstrating that their advice makes a difference in his decision-making, Chancellor Thorp has shown himself to be a strong believer in shared governance of the university.

In the flurry of coverage of these tumultuous events, Chancellor Thorp’s inspiring vision for an innovative, flexible, responsive university, and his many significant accomplishments (including shepherding us through the recent financial troubles while minimizing impact on faculty and students, championing academic freedom, and making a strong case for the university’s affordability and accessibility) have been overlooked and underemphasized.

In sum, we believe that Chancellor Thorp has far exceeded expectations and stands as an example of exactly the kind of leadership that we—and all of public higher education—need at this time. We are convinced that all of his actions, including the sad announcement today, have been taken with the best interests of Carolina at heart.

On behalf of the faculty, the Faculty Executive Committee respectfully requests that Chancellor Thorp reconsider his decision to resign. We believe that, despite the difficulties of the present moment, Holden Thorp remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times. With the College’s Council of Chairs, we urge that UNC system President Ross, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, and the UNC System Board of Governors continue to provide the support the chancellor needs to remain in office.

Signed,

Members of the Faculty Executive Committee

Jan Boxill, Chair of the Faculty (Philosophy, Committee Chair)
Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology and Immunology)
Mimi Chapman (Social Work)
Gregory Copenhaver (Biology)
Jean DeSaix (Biology)
Jo Anne Earp (School of Public Health)
Joseph S. Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty (School of Government)
Michael Gerhardt (School of Law)
Kevin Guskiewicz (Exercise and Sports Science)
Laurie Maffly-Kipp (Religious Studies)
Timothy McMillan (African and Afro-American Studies)
Leslie Parise (Biochemistry)
Shielda Rodgers (Nursing)
Sarah Shields (History)

Appendix C
A statement by the Employee Forum Executive Committee concerning the resignation of Chancellor Holden Thorp

In response to Chancellor Holden Thorp’s resignation, we feel compelled to voice our strong support of Chancellor Thorp and to express our heartfelt dismay at his decision to resign. This news has incited us to make this impassioned plea on his behalf.

The Employee Forum, which represents the interest of all staff (almost 12,000) has served the University and its chancellors since 1992. We have found a true friend in Chancellor Thorp since he began working with us in 2008. Chancellor Thorp is a leader and visionary who has greatly improved working conditions for staff.

Recognizing that many employees earned far below a living wage, Chancellor Thorp increased the minimum wage for the University early in his term. He has been a strong advocate for staff salary increases to reward employees for dedication and hard work.

He funded the Campus Community garden which has grown over 10,000 pounds of produce that has benefitted more than 90 employees and their families in the past 18 months.

Chancellor Thorp took action to redress longstanding problems that had plagued the housekeeping department by bringing in an outside consulting firm to study the problems and recommend solutions. Importantly, he appropriately included housekeeping staff in the planning process of rebuilding the department.

Chancellor Thorp instituted the Carolina Counts initiative, which has been a national model for increasing efficiency of operations in a campus setting.

Chancellor Thorp has provided UNC staff with unprecedented access to him and his office and has forged strong relationships with the Employee Forum.

He has sought staff representation on University committees. This inclusion has created a sense of ownership and has increased staff morale and efficiency in University operations.

When controversial matters such as personnel flexibility became an issue of concern to staff, Chancellor Thorp has engaged with us by answering unscripted questions from all staff at open meetings, thereby promoting an environment of trust and transparency.

During his tenure, he has championed employee advocacy, listening to the concerns of employees and acting on our recommendations.

We concur with the sentiments expressed by the Faculty Executive Committee’s statement in emergency session, passed Monday, September 17, 2012.

On behalf of the almost 12,000 staff of this great University, the Employee Forum respectfully requests that Chancellor Thorp reconsider his decision to resign. We believe that, despite the difficulties of the present moment, Chancellor Thorp remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times; we therefore urge UNC system President Ross, the UNC Board of Trustees and the UNC System Board of Governors to support our Chancellor and to encourage him to remain in office.

Signed,

Jackie Overton, Chair Dan Barmmer, Vice Chair
Myra Quick, Secretary
Tammy Cox, Treasurer
Valerie Madill, Parliamentarian
Kittie Allen
Tim Burke
Gena Carter
Jill Crowder
David Fraley
John Gullo
James Holman
Carleta Long
Arlene Medder
Chris Meinecke
Danny Nguyen
David Schwartz
Alpa Vaghani
Alia Wegner

Members of the Employee Forum Executive Committee

Appendix D
Retired Faculty Association Resolution

Adopted by the UNC Retired Faculty Association on September 18, 2012.

We the assembled members of the University of North Carolina Retired Faculty Association hereby offer our wholehearted support to Chancellor Holden Thorp for the leadership and vision he has provided the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chancellor Thorp has led our University through difficult times with a forthright confrontation of problems that have been bothering this campus for several years. He has set his own high standards for academic integrity as objects of aspiration for the entire University and as a result, the intellectual stature of the University has been elevated to even higher levels. We are particularly grateful for the respect he has shown retired faculty, for his efforts to maximize the contributions of retired faculty, and for his commitment to help retired faculty become better integrated into the life of the University. While we urge Chancellor Thorp to remain our Chancellor and we would welcome his return to the faculty, we respect his decision in full recognition of the contributions he has made to our University and to the people of North Carolina.

Presented to the special meeting of the General Faculty by Jonathan Howes, September 18, 2012.

Response to General Faculty Resolution

Storify of Tweets and Other Media Coverage of General Faculty Meeting

 

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