February 27, 2015
Meeting of the Faculty Council and General Faculty
Update 9:10 am, February 27, 2015: In light of the university’s announcement that we will return to Condition 1 this afternoon, and in consultation with Chancellor Folt and Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns, we have decided to HOLD this meeting as originally scheduled.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Chancellor Carol Folt and Professor Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty, presiding
Twitter hashtag: #FacCouncil
3:00 Call to Order and Opening
3:05 Moment of Silence in Memory of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha
3:10 Chair of the Faculty’s Remarks
- Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns
- Faculty Elections Interest Survey Data
3:15 Chancellor’s and Provost’s Remarks
- Chancellor Carol Folt
- Provost Jim Dean
3:40 Resolutions Related to the Recent Actions of the UNC Board of Governors
Both submitted by the Faculty Executive Committee
- Resolution 2015-7. On Oversight Authority of Centers and Institutes (approved 2/23/2015 by the Faculty Executive Committee)
- Resolution 2015-8. On Endorsing a Faculty Assembly Resolution on Transition in Leadership and Direction of The University of North Carolina
3:55 Contextualized Grading: A Conversation with Students
- Ms. Eliza Filene, Undergraduate Representative to Faculty Council
- Mr. Wilson Parker, Undergraduate Representative to Faculty Council
- Mr. Kyle Villemain, Student Body Vice President
- Students’ PowerPoint
4:10 Resolutions Proposed by the Athletics Reform Group
All submitted by Professor Jay Smith (History)
- Resolution 2015-3. On Admission Standards for Athletic Recruits
- Resolution 2015-4. On Fully Integrating All Academic Support Services
- Resolution 2015-5. On Composition of the Faculty Athletics Committee
- Resolution 2015-6. On a Task Force to Examine the Implications of Impending Changes in College Sports
4:25 Committee on University Government Annual Report and Proposed Faculty Code Amendments
- Prof. Vin Steponaitis, Chair
- Resolution 2015-1. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Change How Elected Seats in Faculty Council Are Apportioned
- Resolution 2015-2. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Establish the Committee on Fixed Term Faculty
4:35 Informational Presentation: The Library Research Hub
- Ms. Jill Sexton, Head, Digital Research Services, UNC Libraries
- Ms. Sexton’s PowerPoint
4:50 Committee Annual Reports by Title
- Chancellor’s Advisory Committee (Prof. Peter Mucha, Chair)
- Faculty Information Technology Committee (Prof. Jim Porto, Chair)
4:55 Concluding Remarks
- Prof. Cairns
Storify Collection of Tweets and News Coverage
We’ve collected the Twitter conversation and news coverage of this meeting in a “Storify” you can read here.
Video of Council Meeting
UNC News videotaped the meeting and has posted it here on YouTube.
JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL AND THE GENERAL FACULTY
The Faculty Council and the General Faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened on February 27, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room at Wilson Library.
The following 52 Council members attended: Able, Aikat, Anthony, Baumgartner, Beck, Birckhead, Brown, Cairns, Caren, Chavis, Cox, Day, Dean, Dobelstein, Drake, Ferrell, Filene, Fisher, Folt, Fry, Furry, Gerhardt, Gilligan, Giovanello, Guskiewicz, Hannig, Irons, Jones, Kim, Koomen, Koonce, Kris, Kurtz-Costes, Loehr, Melehy, Metz, Moracco, Moreton, Palmer, Parker, Persky, Pruvost, Salyer, Segars, Steponaitis, Sturm, Thompson, Watson, Webster-Cyriaque, Weight, Welty and Willett.
Members absent with excuse: Beltran, Berman, Boettiger, Bunch, Chapman, Chera, Cook, Cravey, Cuddeback, Divaris, Dolan, Driscoll, Edwards, Gucsavas-Calikoglu, Gulledge, Hackman, Halladay, Heitsch, Hirsch, M. Hobbs, S. Hobbs, Houck, Howes, Hsu, Ives, Joyner, Kang, Larson, Leonard, Levine, Mayer-Davis, McClanahan, McLaughlin, Miller, Mitran, Mohanty, Moon, Parise, Paul, Pertsova, Porto, Pryal, Rial, Rodgers, Stavas, Stenberg, Swift-Scanlan, Swogger, Tepper, Viera, Walker, Wang, Waterhouse, Williams, Yaqub and You.
These are abbreviated meeting minutes. A full transcript is included in Appendix A.
Call to order
The Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell called the Faculty Council to order at 3:03 p.m.
Chair of the Faculty Bruce Cairns welcomed the faculty and thanked them for coming to the meeting despite the weather conditions. He explained that he had just come from a Board of Governors’ meeting in Charlotte with Chancellor Folt and that she would arrive later in the meeting.
Professor Cairns gave a brief overview of results from the faculty interest survey. He said that only 17 percent of the faculty responded to the survey and that number could be higher. The most popular committees included the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, the Faculty Executive Committee, the Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty, Community and Diversity Committee, and the Committee on the Status of Women. Professor Cairns said that he appointed four faculty members to the Nominating Committee: Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies), Valerie Ashby (Chemistry), Eileen Parsons (Education) and Larry Chavis (Business).
Committee on University Government annual report
Professor Vincas Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology), chair of the Committee on University Government, presented the committee’s annual report.
Resolution 2015-1. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Change How Elected Seats in Faculty Seats in Faculty Council Are Apportioned
Professor Steponaitis presented the resolution to the General Faculty and Faculty Council. He explained that the resolution would bring the apportionment process in line with current practice and would shorten the interval for apportionment from five years to one year. There was no discussion or dissent. The resolution passed the first reading and will appear on the agenda of the next meeting for a second reading.
Resolution 2015-2. On Amending the Faculty Code of University Government to Establish the Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty
Professor Steponaitis presented a resolution to amend the Faculty Code of University Government to make the existing Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty a permanent committee of the General Faculty rather than an ad hoc committee. He explained that the resolution would allow the chair of the faculty to appoint any member of the Voting Faculty to the committee, rather than only members of the Faculty Council, and the term of office would be three years rather than one. The resolution passed the first reading and will appear on the agenda of the next meeting for a second reading.
Resolution 2015-7. On Oversight Authority of Centers and Institutes
Professor Joseph Ferrell, secretary of the faculty, explained that the Faculty Executive Committee had passed a resolution between Faculty Council meetings that pertained to the Board of Governors’ (BOG) decision to review and recommend the elimination of some centers across the UNC system. Professor Ferrell moved that the Faculty Council confirm the actions of the Faculty Executive Committee. The resolution was adopted.
Chancellor’s and Provost’s remarks and question period
Chancellor Carol Folt arrived from the Board of Governors meeting in Charlotte. She invited members of the Muslim Student Association to speak briefly about the recent shooting of UNC student Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. The chancellor called for a moment of silence.
The chancellor gave a summary of the BOG meeting. She described how the review of UNC-system centers and institutes was initiated by the legislature and how she and Provost Jim Dean helped the BOG understand the function of centers and institutes.
Provost Dean provided an overview of the review process and explained that out of the initial 80 centers that were under review, 78 were reaffirmed by the BOG, and one center, the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, was discontinued.
Chancellor Folt said that she was happy with the BOG’s decision to look into increasing funding for the Carolina Women’s Center. She explained that the BOG wants to explore funding models that allow centers to reduce the amount of state funding they receive. She disagreed with and was disappointed by the decision to close the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.
Provost Dean said that the chancellor had convened a working group over a year ago to examine the issue of poverty in North Carolina. He said that the group intends to continue that work despite the closure of the Center.
Chancellor Folt noted that Professor Gene Nichol, director of the Center, has received public and philanthropic support for continuing the work now being undertaken by the Center.
The chancellor and provost answered questions from Professor Deborah Mayer (School of Nursing), Professor Vincas Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology), Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies), Professor Beth Moracco (Health Behavior) and Professor Jim Peacock (Anthropology).
Professor Joseph Jordan (African, African American, and Diaspora Studies), director of the Stone Center for Black Culture and History, expressed his appreciation for the support that the Stone Center received from the administration, faculty and chair of the faculty.
Professor Ted Shaw (Law), director of the Center for Civil Rights, said that he is proud of the students who are advocating on behalf of the Center for Civil Rights. He invited the faculty to read a statement on the Center’s website.
The chancellor and provost answered more questions from Professor Michael Gerhardt (Law) and Professor Eric Muller (Law). See Appendix A for the full discussion.
Resolution 2015-8. On Endorsing a Faculty Assembly Resolution on Transition in Leadership and Direction of The University of North Carolina
Professor Cairns introduced Resolution 2015-8. The resolution was passed by the Faculty Assembly and expresses appreciation for President Thomas Ross’s leadership of the UNC system. The resolution calls on the BOG to explain their rationale for requesting his resignation.
Professor Ferrell explained that the resolution is to endorse the Faculty Assembly’s resolution. There was no discussion or debate. The resolution passed without dissent.
Contextual grading discussion
Professor Cairns introduced members of Student Government to lead a discussion about contextual grading. Eliza Filene, undergraduate representative to the Faculty Council; Wilson Parker, undergraduate representative to the Faculty Council; Andrew Powell, student body president; and Kyle Villemain, student body vice president; addressed the faculty.
Ms. Filene and Mr. Powell reviewed the reasons for the contextual grading policy: less grade inflation, more meaningful instructor-student feedback and less pressure on faculty to assign high grades.
Mr. Parker said that many students believe the contextual grading policy will not be effective. He said that contextual transcripts will “stigmatize below median performance” and fail to reduce the number of grade appeals. The schedule point average creates an incentive for students to seek out less challenging classes in order to outperform their peers.
Professor Andrew Perrin (Sociology) said that the contextual grading policy has been vetted through student government, faculty committees and past student government administrations. He said that the policy had been developed through a careful process, and he didn’t think that it was appropriate to have a conversation about the policy at Faculty Council while it was being reworked by the Educational Policy Committee.
Mr. Parker said that he has been working with the Educational Policy Committee, but that regardless of the process that led to the adoption of the contextual grading policy, the policy itself should not be enacted without the approval of the current student body.
Athletics Reform Group resolutions
Professor Harry Watson (History) briefly summarized the four resolutions.
Resolution 2015-3. On Admission Standards for Athletic Recruits
Professor Watson explained that Resolution 2015-3 proposes to eliminate Tier 1 candidates from admission to the university.
Resolution 2015-4. On Fully Integrating All Academic Support Services
Professor Watson said that Resolution 2015-4 proposes to integrate all advising systems for student-athletes and nonstudent-athletes.
Resolution 2015-5. On Composition of the Faculty Athletics Committee
Professor Watson explained that Resolution 2015-5 requests a revision of the Faculty Code of University Government to require that a majority of the Faculty Athletics Committee members are from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Resolution 2015-6. On a Task Force to Examine the Implications of Impending Changes in College Sports
Professor Watson said that Resolution 2015-6 proposes the creation of a task force to examine ongoing reforms to intercollegiate athletics.
After discussion of the resolutions (see Appendix A), Professor Vincas Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) moved that Resolution 2015-3 be referred to the Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions for discussion and recommendations at the September 2015 Faculty Council meeting. He moved that Resolution 2015-4 be referred to the Student Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group for discussion and recommendations at the September 2015 Faculty Council meeting. He moved that Resolution 2015-5 be referred to the Committee on University Government for discussion and recommendations to the Faculty Council no later than September 2015. He moved that Resolution 2015-6 be referred to the Faculty Executive Committee for further discussion.
Professor Ferrell explained that Professor Steponaitis’s motion is one motion that applies to four separate resolutions and requires only one vote.
After debate on Professor Steponaitis’s motion to refer, the Faculty Council voted by a majority to adopt the motion.
Professor Cairns reminded the faculty that there are numerous issues the university is facing, and he is proud of how the chancellor and provost have represented the university to the Board of Governors and the public. He said that the faculty must continue to be vigilant, especially on the issue of athletics.
Chancellor Folt said that she is proud that students and faculty are addressing important issues across campus and having open discussions.
Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:03 p.m.
Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty
Appendix A: Full Transcript
FERRELL: The faculty will come to order.
CAIRNS: Good afternoon everyone. Obviously this is a very extraordinary time for us as an institution and I’m going to apologize for many things and I’m also going to warn you that I’m going to have to apologize probably later on as the meeting goes along as well but let me start with first of all thank you all for coming. It’s great to see this attendance. It really is a reflection of how much people care about the University.
The decision to have the meeting and then cancel the meeting and then have the meeting again was entirely mine so, therefore, feel free to send the appropriate tweets in my direction for this. I will share with you that number one, it wasn’t made in a vacuum. We were trying to talk to people about what to do and number two, there are really extraordinary issues that are affecting the University in a way that really is unprecedented. Certainly in the last several decades we haven’t had the kinds of challenges that we’re facing today as you all know and we’re going to address some of those in our council meeting today. Obviously I’m referring to the Board of Governor’s meeting today as well as the results of the working group of Centers and Institutes and the decision about Tom Ross as our University System President and I literally just got back from the Board of Governors’ meeting in Charlotte. Again, it was extraordinary and you would be very proud of our students and our faculty who were there representing us and expressing our voice in a way that reflects truly a commitment to academic freedom.[Applause]
CAIRNS: You’ll get a chance to hear more about that. I mean the meeting was supposed to be done at 11:15 and it didn’t really – I left early when I could get out of the room around one o’clock. Don’t do the math of how long it took me. The Chancellor wasn’t able to leave at the same time and so I know that she wants to be here and she will address you personally. I will tell you – I was thinking about when to tell you this but I’ll just tell you this parenthetically, you would be awfully proud of her when she had an opportunity to address the Board of Governors. I’ve worked with her a long time or it feels like it. I’m sure she feels that way and I can tell when she really believes in something deeply and is unhappy and she expressed that quite clearly and I know that that is something that matters to all of you and for me I was quite proud to have her as our Chancellor at that moment.
Nonetheless, what we’re going to do is we’re going to proceed with the agenda in a scrambled way so again I’m apologizing upfront. The reason is that as soon as the Chancellor comes in and I think it will be in about ten to fifteen minutes, we’re going to interrupt whatever we’re doing and we’re going to let her take the agenda and allow her and Provost Dean to talk about these very extraordinarily important issues and then you’ll notice that there are a number of other really important issues on the agenda and the reason that we wanted to hold the meeting today is because there’s so much going on and because it is so important to all of you. If we don’t do it this week, it would be very hard to do it next week. We’d be at spring break the week after that and that’s just too long. Again, I can’t do anything about the weather but I did think that having the meeting was important and clearly all of you feel the same way and that’s why you’re here.
With that what I’d like to do is perhaps – can we just show the – one of the things that Professor Melehy talked about that interests us is that – go ahead with the next line – this is for trying to make sure everybody is represented on Faculty Council or that you have an opportunity to participate. We’re very open and transparent of our process. Nearly thirty-five hundred surveys were sent out and we got a volunteer rate of seventeen percent. That’s pretty good but that means eighty-three percent didn’t so we can always work on that number. Go ahead. Next. That’s really important because that’s how we make sure that faculty governance works for you.
What are the interests of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee? Not terrible surprising, we all want to spend time with the Chancellor and it’s a very valuable committee. The Faculty Council, the Faculty Executive Committee which is the Legislative Committee, Faculty Grievance, that’ makes sense. All of them make sense of course. [05:00]. Faculty Athletics, that’s great because that means we really want to have an interest in this very important issue for us as a University. Educational policy – all of these are important, honorary degrees, library, employment, promotions, tenure and so forth.
Next slide. This is the appointed committees. More than fifty percent of the faculty are fixed term so fixed term faculty is at the top, the status of women, community and diversity. They’re at the top. The Research Committee, Faculty Welfare Committee, these are all really important to the University so we’re glad to see that. Next slide. So then these are the general interests that we have – diversity, gender equity, faculty conditions, research issues, fixed term faculty, athletics and academics, educational policy and so forth. These are all media issues that Faculty Governance really should be involved in.
Next slide. I think we’ll probably be done with the data. There’s more data that Ann has generated. She put hours of work into this and we have twelve slides but I think we’ll just move along now.
WHISNANT: It’s linked on the agenda page now if people want to go through the rest of it.
CAIRNS: The key is that we were supposed to have a Nominating Committee meeting this morning, correct? It was canceled because we were closed and we have four ad hoc members that were – help me. . .
WHISNANT: Appointed by you.
CAIRNS: Appointed by me. You can tell how much trouble I’m in.
WHISNANT: Hassan Melehy.
CAIRNS: Hassan Melehy, Professor Melehy.
WHISNANT: Valerie Ashby.
CAIRNS: Valerie Ashby is in the back.
WHISNANT: Eileen Parsons.
CAIRNS: Eileen Parsons.
WHISNANT: And Larry Chavis.
CAIRNS: Larry Chavis. Those are the folks that are appointed to the Nominating Committee and they will represent the faculty as we have. The other Chairs of the committees will be on this. My brain truly is scrambled so I apologize but that’s why Ann is here to help me with this. This is a very important process. We will begin the Nominating Committee and then we will get back to you as to how that’s going.
I think we have a few minutes. I’d like to let Vin Steponaitis. . .[Inaudible background response]
CAIRNS: No. She’s going to do that. When the Chancellor arrives, we’ll – Vin, go ahead. We’re going to go to – we’re skipping, I apologize, we’re skipping to the resolution on the faculty code.
STEPONAITIS: Thanks, Bruce. I’m here on behalf of the Committee on University Government which I’m sure you all know is the committee that oversees the process of faculty governance and specifically the code of faculty governance which is in effect our bylaws and you have our report linked to the agenda. You can see we had a busy year. We considered a variety of issues but in the interest of time and hoping that we can get this done before the Chancellor arrives, the main item of business today are two proposed amendments to the code that our committee is bringing to Faculty Council so let me go and just briefly talk about each one.
The first resolution that we’re going to bring to you is 2015-1 on amending the faculty code of University government to change how elected seats in Faculty Council are apportioned. Essentially, this is a technical amendment to the code that has to do with how seats are assigned in Faculty Council through the various electoral divisions and it really is just kind of bringing that section of the code up to date and streamlining it. The way it is now in the code, these reapportionments happen every five years and the reason for that five year span is that up until recently, it used to be very, very hard to get a list of all the voting faculty. It was laborious as conducting the census. Now we can do that – at least we could do that before PeopleSoft with a few mouse clicks and hopefully we’ll get there gain. In effect, we could really do this every year and so the span between reapportionments has been shortened from five years to one year. Essentially we can do it each year. We’re also just streamlining how the reapportionment is handled in the code. In the current code the way it is now, the reapportionment essentially has to be enacted as a code change and right now it’s just basically a mathematical calculation. It’s approved by the Committee on University Government and then reported to the faculty. Nothing will change other than our lives will be easier and it’s sort of bringing the code in line with current practice and what we can do with current technology. The Committee on University Governance strongly endorses this proposed code change and recommends that you vote in favor.
FERRELL: Since this is a code change and this is a meeting of the General Faculty as well as the Faculty Council, any member of the voting faculty is eligible to vote on this matter whether you are a councilmember or not. If approved on this reading, [10:00], it will remain on the calendar for a second reading at the next meeting of the General Faculty which we will probably do in either March or April.
STEPONAITIS: Is there any discussion? Any questions? All those in favor, please vote aye.[Group responds aye]
STEPONAITIS: All opposed? The motion passes.
M: On the first reading.
STEPONAITIS: On the first reading. That’s right. We’ll revisit this at the next meeting. The second resolution we’re bringing to you, Resolution 2015-2, is on amending the faculty code of University Government to establish the Committee on Fixed Term Faculty. As you know, we already have a Committee on Fixed Term Faculty so let me give you a little bit of background on this. Back in 2005, the Council passed a resolution. Not a code amendment but a resolution to establish what was essentially an ad hoc committee, the Council Committee on Fixed Term Faculty. It was set up as a subcommittee of Faculty Council meaning that the members of this committee had to be members of Faculty Council. Members couldn’t be drawn from the entire voting faculty but only from this body and the committee members served only on a year to year basis and had to be reappointed each year.
Now obviously that committee has had a big workload and has done a lot of important work since it was founded now nine years ago and in speaking to members of the committee and to its past members and past chairs, what we learned was that the way the committee was set up was really making their work a lot harder. First of all, the fact that people had to be reappointed each year sort of led to a lot of turnover and it sort of made it harder to have continuity in the committee’s work and also the fact that they could only draw on people who were sitting members of Faculty Council was also a problem because somebody might be heavily involved and working on an issue and they cycle of Faculty Council, they had to cycle off this committee as well even if they wanted to continue serving. It became clear to us that it really made sense given that this committee still has an awful lot of work to do and is heavily engaged in lots of important issues, in fact it was the top selling committee in that poll we just saw in the graph a short while ago. We decided that it was a good idea to give this committee three year terms like most other faculty committees have and to make its members or the pool of potential members be the voting faculty and not just Faculty Council.
Once we decided to make those two changes, three year terms and allow any member of the voting faculty to serve, it was just like any other standing committee of the General Faculty and once we saw that it made sense to make it a standing committee. Essentially the other thing this resolution will do is it rescinds the original resolution that created the Council Committee on Fixed Term Faculty and replaces it with a code amendment that essentially takes the charge of this committee and makes it part of the code of Faculty Governance. Essentially, it becomes a much more permanent committee. That’s the resolution before you. In developing this resolution, we had extended discussions with the current and past Chair of the Fixed Term Faculty Committee. The current Chair brought this proposed resolution to our members and they have endorsed it and so our committee, the Committee on University Government, also endorses this resolution and urges you to vote in favor.
Are there any questions or comments or discussion on this resolution? Yeah.
M: I was wondering, it wasn’t clear to me if this needs to be voted on like some of the other committees or just appointed by the – the members of the committee, are they going to be appointed or are they going to be voted on by the. . .
STEPONAITIS: Yes. That’s a good question. So currently the current committee is appointed by the Chair of the Faculty and if this resolution were to pass, the members of the new committee would also be appointed by the Chair of the Faculty and the size and the shape of the committee remains the same. We’ve reworded the charge a little bit to kind of maybe make it a little bit broader but it’s essentially the same committee with essentially the same charge and appointed the same way as it is now by the Chair of the Faculty just for three year terms instead of one year terms.
Any other questions or comments? Hearing none, are we ready to proceed to a vote? All those in favor, please say aye.[Group responds aye] [Crosstalk]
STEPONAITIS: Pardon. I did it on the last one, I’ll do it now. All opposed? The motion passes on first reading. Thank you very much.[Background conversation]
FERRELL: Let’s do Bruce with 2015-7. That’s just a technicality. [15:00]
CAIRNS: What is 2000?
FERRELL: That’s confirm the resolution on Centers and Institutes. I can explain that.
CAIRNS: Okay. Would you like to do that? I was going to include all of that in one wrapped up deal after the Chancellor spoke.
FERRELL: Well we’re sort of [crosstalk]. . .
CAIRNS: Okay. I was going to – do we have an ETA?
M: I got a text and they said it should be. . .
CAIRNS: Soon. Okay. So you can tell we’re going by the fly. You’re wondering what’s going on, aren’t you? So the next couple of items that we have as options would take too long and we would interrupt them in the middle of that. Go ahead, Professor Ferrell. I like that idea very much.
FERRELL: The Faculty Code provides that the Faculty Executive Committee can exercise the legislative powers of the council when prompt action is required and if it does that, it must report that action to the council at its next meeting and ask for confirmation of that action. On Monday, the Executive Committee met and adopted a resolution calling on the Board of Governors not to change the Board of Governors’ code to remove from the trustees’ authority to decide whether Centers and Institutes would be continued or not and so the Executive Committee adopted this resolution. Section 1 urges the continuation of the current UNC System policy on Boards and Center and Institutes and Section 2 urges that they leave the question of whether to discontinue the Poverty Center to the local Board of Trustees and not take that on as a Board of Governors’ matter. This is. . .[Applause]
FERRELL: We transmitted that resolution to the Board of Governors on Tuesday morning. It was sent out and it does appear on their website so this is asking you to confirm that resolution. If you choose not to confirm it, I will write to the Board of Governors and say we take it back. I move that the council confirm the action of the Executive Committee in adopting Resolution 2015-7.
CAIRNS: Would you like to take the vote?
FERRELL: Those in favor of the motion will please say aye.[Group responds aye]
FERRELL: Those opposed, no. The resolution is adopted.
CAIRNS: Thank you.[Applause]
CAIRNS: Perfect timing.
FOLT: I heard the clapping.
CAIRNS: And that was for you.[Background conversations]
CAIRNS: We’ll let the Chancellor get settled a bit. As I mentioned, it’s an extraordinary day and there’s been extraordinary efforts to try to get to those all of these things and she made it quite clear at the Board of Governors’ meeting that she needed to come back and speak with her faculty at this council meeting and so it has been a very busy time and we know that there has been a great deal of work done on behalf of the institution and the principles that we stand for but I think I will go ahead and let Chancellor Folt have the floor.
FOLT: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. It’s true. We have so many important things that we want to talk about today but I actually want to talk about the thing that is actually the most important to me of all the things that have been happening here and I think that’s true for everyone and that, of course, is remembering and honoring three amazing students who were killed just over two weeks ago, Deah, Yusor and Razan.
I think that probably all of you participated in one way or another in the amazing vigils. I had chances to spend a whole day here in vigils. I was at NC State where we were able to attend a beautiful service and also we had vigils. We had busloads of our students going over to the NC State campus. We had busloads of students from NC State, from Duke, from NCCU all coming together and maybe what made me most proud really throughout this time were example that we saw from our Muslim Student Association. I think two of our students are here today. I learned so much from Dr. Arif Sheikh who is the advisor to that student group. We worked together with [20:00] Imam Abdullah who came over from Duke and spent at least two or three days with everybody here and also from these incredible families and I don’t know that any of us could ever have maybe experienced a time when we saw people take something so tragic, something so hateful and talk about turning it into moments of peace and kindness and learning and building an incredible legacy. I think before we do anything. . .
CAIRNS: Tazeen and Nicole, would you like to come up and speak for a bit?
FOLT: Will we get to do a moment of silence after? Okay. Thank you.
FAROOQUE: Good afternoon. My name is Tazeen and this is Nicole Fauster. We’re here today to relay to you the gratitude of all the students from the Muslim Student Association for your support in light of the recent events. The deaths of Deah, Yusor and Razan sent shockwaves and anxiety amongst the Muslim community on campus. Their passing impacted everyone on different levels which included grief, fear, anger and some who simply just didn’t know what to make of all their emotions but I’m here to tell you that we are really, really grateful for all the support we’ve gotten. Every delayed assignment, every delayed exam, it really does mean a lot to each and every one of us. We really appreciate all the steps you’ve taken to support our community.
FAUSTER: With that we would also like to remind you that for many students, this is an ongoing struggle, one that manifests in different ways. The Muslim students on campus are working to support one and other and we invite the faculty to reach out to their students if they need more than just academic support.
As we move forward, we hope to shed light on the realities and dangerous stereotypes of Muslims through a monthly Islamophobia teaching series to which we encourage all students and faculty members to be in attendance. The first of such teachings will take place on March 5th in the Great Hall at seven o’clock so please take note of that date.
We also intend to honor the legacy of Deah, Yusor and Razan by just continuing to do the community service and just be examplaries of the amazing legacy they left for us to follow. With these events, we hope to take this tragedy and move forward into a brighter future. Thank you.[Applause]
FOLT: Just today when I was at the Board of Governors, I was talking quite a bit with Chancellor Woodson and also Chancellor Debra Saunders-White. At her institution, she actually has the greatest number of Muslim students and at NCC State is the largest mosque in the state that was actually built by gifts from the graduate students there and as we said at the time and I listen to you and I think one of the biggest lessons that we all feel is that this is a chance for us to really work together community to community. This is a time for us to reach across to partners at all of the universities so we’re going to continue to work with you on that too so thank you. We would like to ask everyone to join us for a moment of silence in honor of Deah, Yusor and Razan. Thank you.[Moment of silence]
FOLT: Thank you, everyone. [25:00]
CAIRNS: At this time, Chancellor, we have jumbled the schedule around a little bit in anticipation of your arrival and we thought that we would let you and the Provost have the floor to talk about the issues that you all would like to address with us and the issues that we’ve been facing here.
CAIRNS: If that’s okay.
FOLT: Yeah. That’s good. Jim and I think we’re both going to try and talk with you a bit and I don’t know that we want to give long speeches because again, I do believe that this is an important time for people to be able to talk about what’s important. We want to hear from all of you as well. I think we can give you a little bit of background. I don’t know how many of you were able to view some of the Board of Governors’ meeting. I know some of that was broadcast so some of you saw it and I’m sure there will be many other things written about it but, of course, as you know, I think what we’re particularly talking about today – there were many things actually decided at the Board of Governors today and a couple of them were really relevant to us as well.
In particular, they have been working for quite a while on education and what we can do as a state to improve the education system, both the training of teachers but also how we can start addressing income disparities in education and they actually did pass a number of resolutions following a summit on that that I think are actually going to be very relevant for us. They also have been working very, very actively on other processes. In particular, they also approved our physicians’ assistant program and a number of other things so I do want to remind everyone that actually there’s a lot that happens at those meetings but I think people here in particular want to hear about the culmination of the six month long process on Centers and Institutes.
Now Jim even more than I has been deeply involved in it because when it first began, we were basically looking at all of the centers and institutes at Carolina as being under investigation. I think you all know that there was a legislative statute that required the Board of Governors to do this. The first time they did this was actually under Erskine Bowles when he required centers and institutes to be reviewed at the level of the Board of Governors but this one came through as a legislative statute and they began that process. Jim might talk. I think you should hear a little bit about that but it was at the very beginning when we started creating the data and really were a bit concerned that every one of our centers and institutes was actually being scrutinized in a way that made us concerned first of all that people did not understand what happens in centers and institutes. They didn’t understand what they do and they also didn’t even understand that well how they were funded or reviewed and so we took it as a very important part of our job to make this an enormously big and significant educational opportunity while answering all their questions. Jim really spearheaded that. I think there were seven public meetings and a number of other areas about it but could you talk a bit about that?
DEAN: Sure. Well thank you. As Carol said, we started out with all of our centers, eighty centers, under investigation, under scrutiny I guess you would say and we were given an assignment of having to return a lot of information to the Board of Governors in a relatively short period of time and I really don’t deserve much of the credit especially for the first part. Ron Strauss who is here, Barbara Entwisle as the Vice-Chancellor for Research did a tremendous amount of work, Carol Tresolini, Vice-Provost in my area, pulled together a tremendous amount of information in a really short period of time to try and help the Board of Governors understand what these centers do, how much they cost, how many people are involved and so on and I’m sure we could write a book someday but it sort of started at eighty and then it went down as various kinds of criteria were applied to them and it culminated I guess it’s fair to say with the review in which we still had, I think it was nine centers or eight, something like that that were still under investigation.
We were down at GA to talk about that. There were presentations made by each one of the Center directors. The Chancellor had asked me to lead off talking about in sort of a comprehensive way the value of these centers, what they provide to the University and I think in each one of those we made a lot of progress and so of the eighty, we decided to discontinue one of the centers because our decision was it was one of the law school centers that we thought there was nothing that was going on in that center that couldn’t be done without the nomenclature of a center so we decided [30:00] to withdraw that and that worked out well with the blessing of the Senate Director. The other seventy-eight were reaffirmed effectively by the Board of Governors and then, of course, as you know, the Poverty Center was the one that they have instructed us to discontinue.
A little bit of a good news/bad news or a glass half full/glass half empty kind of thing but it is worth saying and I think it’s important that we were able through pretty significant efforts both public and behind the scenes and it’s important that you understand both of those that we were able to show a lot of support for all of the centers and we supported every single one of the centers and we were able to continue almost all of them.
FOLT: And we’ll come back to the Poverty Center in a moment because I know that is really what we really want to talk about but in addition, they did recommend today, in fact I’m required to come back to them in a couple of months with a proposal for potentially increasing resources to the Women’s Center and I’m really happy about that. I think that was a really good [applause], it was an excellent outcome and I think you probably have heard but I was in Berkeley speaking at a national conference on sexual assault just before this where we were talking a lot about that need and I think that actually a big concern at that meeting was for many universities trying to explain the importance of this issue, what it takes to really do it and in a lot of cases, their own concern that their own boards may not understand what is necessary to look at things like sexual assault, sexual violence on campus and so I was very pleased with that and again, it’s because of the work of the people presenting but quite honestly there was a good faith listening that was going on. It was really important and how we take that forward is important.
We were also asked to try to find other ways to support the centers, all the centers and institutes other than state funds but that does not mean that they’re all required to remove state funds. I think we did a pretty good job explaining that sometimes you have centers and institutes because that’s a way to increase philanthropic funding so we spent a lot of time talking about funding models. Many, more than half of our centers and institutes don’t receive state funding but we were asked and we will continue to try to find ways to work with the centers to increase philanthropic dollars. That’s fine. We’ll work on that. We may not always be able to do it in which case we’ll continue to try to fund these as we have with a whole range of sources but that was also part of it.
They’ve also put in a more structured review process that does proceed through the university and stays within the university. Most of our centers, Jim again is in charge of this one with Ron and others, have been reviewed and will continue to be reviewed. They haven’t all been reviewed in this kind of robust cycling but I believe that was one of the main issues. I think those were the key issues.
We also then did receive the information that they have decided to close the Poverty Center and they have included their criteria for it. The primary reason that was given at this meeting was really that they are looking and have tasked us to find ways that things that do not need to be in centers are not in centers. There are a number of examples of this. One discussion was about the Women’s Resource Center. Why does it need to be a center? Why isn’t it part of a department that oversees student affairs? We’d actually been pretty good at talking about the fact that it requires reaching out across all schools and all departments and that we were trying to really make a place that had that name that was the center and focus of that activity and we were not successful in all cases at arguing that.
I think I’ve said and I think Jim would say that we are very disappointed. We disagreed with it and in many different circumstances we argued publicly to not have that decision of closing the Poverty Center. I think that I just want to say that it’s very obvious to all of us and I expressed it at that meeting that the faculty and the students not just here at Chapel Hill but in many places, we’ve all been hearing from people across the system, there were many people at the Board of Governors that weren’t just from our campus, really are concerned that this closing or the decision to close has a serious chilling effect on work in the area of poverty but also on voices that speak out on critical issues like that and I do think that we’ll talk in a moment that we all agree that that is really important and I said to the Board of Governors and I really do think it’s important that we need to continue to affirm not only that we’re going to work on issues like poverty, great issues of our time but that we’re also going to affirm the need with real actions that we support that work [35:00] and the diverse opinions that come with doing such work and I think at our own campus, we have to do everything we can to make sure that we keep that action going and that we really do make sure that we are holding ourselves to that and that we’re also seeing these things thrive.
I thought I’d want Jim to sort of give his opinion about that but also before we turn it over to you, tell you a little bit about what you may be hearing that we have many initiatives going on poverty and that’s not being offered up as don’t worry, we have other issues on poverty. It’s being brought forward in fact because we’ve been talking as a community about how do we get even more effective working on big, critical issues and poverty was one of the main issues that came forward as an issue that we could bring together people from all our schools to do something even better than what we’re already doing.
DEAN: Thank you. So it has been striking as we’ve looked around the campus how many things are already going on in virtually every school and so I’m not going to list them out but I’ve done even recently an additional screening just to look at all of the various schools that have some activities going on poverty so this has been an important issue for this University as far back as anybody can remember or as far back as we can tell and it’s really striking both the depth and the breadth of this.
The Chancellor constituted a group more than a year ago to think about what are some of the big questions that we need to address and maybe we’re addressing them and maybe we could do more and clearly poverty came up very quickly as one of them. Based on that, I’ve convened a group which has representation and I think the meeting that the most people came to was about twenty-two different people. We’ve now formed a smaller group to look at how can we do even more. How can we provide research and intervention across the University that not only takes the talents of people in their individual disciplines but combines them into something that can really make a difference in terms of addressing poverty and opportunity within the State of North Carolina? The work that is already going on will continue. We hope to expand that work. We probably will put some money behind that work including the work that’s going on in the law school and I think one of the things that may be has been not completely understood in the public commentary about this issue is that the work that’s going on in the Poverty Center is work that goes well beyond what Professor Nichol himself is doing. Others in the law school have been involved with that and others outside the law school have been involved with that. I heard Chairman Fennebresque quoted today as saying that this work can continue with or without the framework of the Center and we intend to find a way to continue that work.
FOLT: We have and I think probably many of you have seen the letter that was sent out by Professor Nichol that he’s actually receiving quite a bit of increased interest in financial support for the work and even from the start, we actually began working with the donors that have already supported that work to make sure that that work can continue through the Law Center without constraint and so I feel like that’s going to be very important and I do know that everybody in this room really wants that to happen and so we really do appreciate that.
I think what we might like to do now is just open the floor to your questions or your comments. This is really important.
CAIRNS: Yes, please. Just tell us your name and your department.
MAYER: Deborah Mayer, School of Nursing. It’s my understanding that that was the recommendation and a campus decision to accept or not the recommendation so why aren’t we deciding?
FOLT: It’s not. There was a message sent around to everybody. It was a decision and as it turns out, there was a lot of question about that looking at the authority. They do have the statute of authority to do this and that was checked by lawyers and was brought forward so when they acted today, they acted to do it. We don’t have an immediate timeframe and I’m sure we’ll take our time to kind of work that through but it wasn’t given to the individual universities to decide, not the other two universities that had a closing or to Chapel Hill.
CAIRNS: Yes sir. Vin and then Hassan and then who was – I’m sorry, Vin next.
STEPONAITIS: Vin Steponaitis, Archeology and Anthropology. First of all, thanks for everything you all did. I know that you really worked hard and the good news is that most of those centers are still there but the bad news is that one of them isn’t and one of the things that really concerned me when I read the report of the working group and that wasn’t really covered in the news was that it wasn’t just about which centers stay open and which centers close but there was also a proposed changed in the BOG policies regarding centers and as I read the policy, the current policy basically leaves those decisions [40:00] in the hands of the individual campuses but the recommended change in policy essentially says most things having to do with centers and institutes still remain at the campus level but the Board of Governors and the President can overrule a campus at any time. There’s no provision in the policy for even stating a reason for overruling the campus. I guess having just gotten my power back about three hours ago, I wasn’t following what was happening this morning in Charlotte but I wonder if that policy change was also endorsed by the BOG and what that might mean for our campus.
FOLT: Thank you. Actually, I’ll tell you how I understand it and we’ll do some more work on that because this was happening in real time. They say that they did not change the policy. They have always had the right and in fact, sometimes are given the mandate. They were given the mandate by the legislature. They have that in their policy and in fact, it was debated quite a bit by members of the Board. That was one of the big conversations was we don’t want to start developing a policy where we micromanage and if we do it, it’s going to be very rare. It’s going to be in response to unique circumstances that we’ve made this decision but we don’t intend to do that so the review policy is back. It’s going through me.
I imagine I have to clarify this. When they ask me to provide information about the Women’s Resource Center, I think I will be showing them what we intend to do to increase it so there’s a little bit of I don’t know all the details of that but there wasn’t a vote on change of policy.
CAIRNS: And my understanding is as well, David Parker sent us the General Assembly statute that reiterates what the Chancellor said about the Board of Governors’ authority and we can get more details on that.
MELEHY: Hi. I’m Hassan Melehy from the Department of Romance Studies and the thing I think that’s most disturbing about this is how clearly it seems – circumstantial evidence suggests very, very strongly that it was directed against certain types of speech, certain things that are being said against Gene Nichol and that there may have been some vindictiveness here, some response to Gene Nichol having criticized. Certainly I mean I think it’s a very good thing that we can continue all the activities as we’re saying but I mean if we’re looking at this kind of response, it’s something to be worried about especially if it’s in connection with something that’s very, very clear in the documentation that was reviewed by the Board of Governors at the same they’re reviewing this which is rewriting parts of the UNC System Policy Manual prohibiting activism and political activity, meaning support or opposition to an elected official or a policy made by the state government, prohibiting that on the part of employees meaning faculty members.
Now this would directly compromise the work of some of our colleagues. I mean for example, the Department of City and Regional Planning. Part of what some people do is work on legislation very specifically. I myself have written articles critical of certain government policies. I have written articles that might fall under that rubric that do appear on my professional activities. Now I could always claim that I’m doing it on my own time but how long will it be before somebody says we’re going to evaluate whether you’re doing it on your own time? I mean this really seems very much to be the direction they’re going in and yes, I really appreciate what you’ve done to secure the activities of the center, to protect the campus from this kind of thing but as long as they have the ability to tell us what to do on this level to the point where they can say you potentially could be dismissed for making political criticisms that’s a very, very – I mean the language in the rewritten document says almost exactly that. That’s very, very chilling and I’d like you to address that.
CAIRNS: Thank you.[Applause]
CAIRNS: We want to give everybody a chance to speak and, of course, this is going to be an ongoing conversation. We’re not going to get everything addressed and it’s still evolving but thank you. That was very well said. Chancellor or Provost?
FOLT: I mean we’re going to listen to people. I would not want any of those things that you said to be true and I think we’re all going to continue in every possible way to speak against that. I’m going to just tell you, it is my understanding that no new policy was written and in fact, what they did was not write a new policy. There already is advocacy policy in our rules. There already is policy and this is moving quickly and so we’re going back and looking at it and they did not vote on new policy or new language on that today.
MELEHY: But it is in the documentation and it’s a proposed draft.
FOLT: It’s not. I’m just saying that was not passed today and we will turn to all of you as we’ve been in every one of these things to come up with these thoughtful – these are really important things. [45:00]. What you just said was really important and we’re not finished on that.
MELEHY: Yeah. I understand that.
FOLT: And I appreciate that.
MELEHY: I am not the first to say sometimes we can’t respond to what they haven’t done. I have said they haven’t done. I know that but the evidence is that it’s coming.
MELEHY: We have to be thinking about it.
FOLT: I think what you’re saying, I mean standing back, after we learned that people don’t understand centers and institutes, it taught us a lot about how to be advocates for what we do and in part we’re all busy. We’re trying to be advocates for a million things but this is really critical and what you’re talking about that is deeply important to us so we don’t have to wait always to be asked before we start presenting these cases and I think that’s really important.
CAIRNS: I’m trying to make sure we get plenty of time so we’ll go here and then Professor Peacock and then Professor Jordan and then Professor Muller. Just keep in mind, we still have issues on the agenda so please try if possible to make your point.
MORACCO: Thank you. I’m Beth Moracco and I’m from the Department of Health Behavior in the School of Public Health. I am I think like everyone else here, very disappointed in this decision. We in public health know that poverty and inequality are inextricably linked to physical and mental health and that we need interdisciplinary approaches to address it and I’m glad that the work is going to continue but I am very disturbed by the outcome but equally if not more disturbed by the process by which it occurred. I have been following and I actually read all seventy-four pages of the report and printed it off on my own. I’m not using state resources. I want to make that clear. But at our previous meeting and I think you are correct in saying this that this is an opportunity for the centers and institutes to really showcase what we do and to really educate and explain and that we should take this as a good faith effort that with good intentions that the Board of Governors really just wants to find out more about what these centers and institutes do and how they run and there was a tremendous amount of effort.
I work with Lynn Blanchard with the Center for Public Service and of course the Center for Faculty Excellence and all these centers do excellent work. It was really disconcerting to read in the report really no good rationale for discontinuing the three centers. In fact, they went through a lot of detail in the process, the three phases of review, what those criteria were, what the criteria were that they were looking at. Also, they included in the attachments or the appendices the information that the centers provided so there was a lot of information and then there’s one page in Attachment 2 that gives the rationale for closing the three centers, about six bullet points each and each of the bullet points says something like based on the information provided, there’s inadequate rationale for supporting a center structure for these activities. That’s not really good evidence. If a student of mine turned in a paper with this as their rationale, I would give them a terrible grade. [Applause]. I think that is what is so disconcerting is that we aren’t getting good rationale or evidence or even information. It’s very similar to the process by which the President Tom Ross was ousted and so that is my concern is that these processes are happening. They’re isn’t transparency. The information was that they didn’t even discuss the report at the Board of Governors’ meeting and so that is something I think that this could just happen again and again and again.
CAIRNS: Thank you.
DEAN: I think it’s pretty clear that a lot of people have expressed those concerns. If you read any of the coverage that came from any of the newspapers, people have expressed variations on those concerns. They don’t report to us so we’re not in a position to tell them to do their business differently. However, what we are concerned about is can we preserve academic freedom on this campus? That’s really important to the Chancellor. It’s really important to me and we will preserve it. We are interested in research and teaching about poverty. We will preserve those things and I think those points that you made have been made pretty forcefully. I’m sure they’ve heard them.
FOLT: I was really disappointed. When I spoke to you before, I thought we got them all. I’m just going to tell you that and I think a lot of you were in the rooms on all those. I really did and I do think they all did a spectacular job and so we are going to continue to work with people. I think we do. We’re creating new openings. I think this faculty and others have been very strong in advocating for more faculty voice in critical issues including searches for presidents and, in fact, one of the things they did vote on today was to put more [50:00] student voice in on things. We are in a constant move and we are going to continue to work on all of those issues.
I think it’s exactly what you see and I think we’re trying as much as we can as we move through the process to tell you along the way where we think we are and try to marshal in as much of the activity, the support, the help for people to get that information out and I think that’s what we will continue to do.
CAIRNS: Professor Peacock.
PEACOCK: This is repetition but seeking clarification of one point and that is the response, if any, by BOG to the FEC recommendation. FEC recommends not changing the policy. The policy put authority with boards of trustees and campuses as FEC read it. BOG in the working report proposed to shift authority to BOG. Now I still haven’t heard whether BOG either formally or informally responded to the FEC proposal which we applauded by the way before you came in. It’s just another request for clarification. Thank you.
FOLT: What happened was that the General Assembly, the UNC System, responded by putting forward their legal reading that said they were not changing the policy and they had the authority and so I believe that was the response to that request but we will go back and clarify and ask for more.
CAIRNS: The report we got back from General Administration is and I could be wrong and I’m not a lawyer but essentially the Board of Governors doesn’t have to adhere to the policy that it made. It has authority to do whatever it chooses to do and so that was the discussion that we had with Faculty Assembly, with the faculty councils and I can tell you, I was there with the Chancellor today and like I told you, it was quite an experience to be there with the students and so forth literally banging on the door and talking, maybe a little bit more than talking, but a lot of the points that you made, I heard the Chancellor make but the process is still evolving – to the Board of Governors that is about being disappointed about process, about the need to do poverty, this issue of it being a chilling effect. All of those things I heard among everything else that I was listening to and as far as what we’re going to do moving forward with the Board of Governors, we’re going to have to continue as this thing rapidly evolves and figure out how we’re going to respond with the FEC and elsewhere. Thank you for that. Professor Jordan and then Professor – we’ll do Mike because he’s the Vice-Chair of the FEC and then Professor Muller so we don’t have two law professors at the same time. Go ahead, Professor Jordan.
JORDAN: Thank you. I just want to say I’m not sure – I’m the Director of the Stone Center, one of the centers that was under review and I also teach in African/African-American and Diaspora Studies. I’m not sure that in this kind of forum I’ll be able to address it in this way again so I want to say it now. First of all, thank you, Bruce, for having written the letter of support that you wrote for us before this entire presentation took place in front of the Board of Governors. One of the other things that I wanted to say to folks here was that behind the scenes and what wasn’t seen is that an extraordinary effort took place and that effort was sort of instigated at the direction of Chancellor Folt.
Those of us who were to present to the Board of Governors were given the opportunity to hone our presentations. She directed her vice presidents to sit with us to make sure that our messages were very sharp and very clear and I appreciate that and it wasn’t one session. It was an ongoing thing that happened behind the scenes and I appreciate the fact that we had vice presidents from across the campus, provosts from across the campus who sat in a room with us.
The other extraordinary thing is that as centers were taken off the list, those centers volunteered to come into those sessions with us to help us hone the message. I’m not saying that I’m happy that this took place. I’m still angry that we had to go through a process of this type. As far as I’m concerned, you could have called me on the phone and I would have answered the questions that you had but the fact that we had to go through it and that this kind of support came from throughout the campus, I want to thank all of you for having done that.
Now having said that, [55:00], I still don’t feel that we’re off the hook. I’m hoping that those folks who say that they’re interested in seeing the Center for Poverty continue its work, well let’s do so. They’ve already said they’re going to continue in some way. Let’s come out of our pockets and help them. I wish I was like the Women’s Center and was designated to get more money but I wasn’t but be that as it may, the Women’s Center deserves it. My other colleagues, some of who are here, also deserve it and I think all of us here want to say to each of you that signed those letters, that sent letters that we don’t even know about, thank you for stepping forward, thank you for standing up for us, thank you for showing that you support what we’re trying to do.[Applause]
CAIRNS: So actually I’d like to – who is surprised, I’d like to interrupt things and do things a little bit differently. I’d like to actually have a different member of the Law School speak. Not to put you on the spot, Professor Shaw. I just saw you walk in. I don’t know if you’d be willing to address our group here. In addition to Professor Jordan, you also presented in front of the Board of Governors and gave a very compelling discussion about what your center does and why it matters so much. I’d don’t know if you’d be willing to speak to us on behalf of your work in the process that we’re going through here as a university.
SHAW: Well thank you. As some of you know, I’m new to Carolina. I got her in June and had a very warm, official welcome in December from the Board of Governors. The Center for Civil Rights as you know was the inspiration of Julius Chambers and he was at one time my boss. He was a colleague and a friend and the center has been doing very effective work. The staff of the center is very dedicated. I’ve been conscious through this whole process that they are the ones who really have the Sword of Damocles hanging over them. We did come through this for the time being at least because I know that some folks just don’t go away and I don’t expect them to but we came through it. I am not grateful for it because I don’t think that we should have been in this position in the first place and I don’t want to seed the kind of legitimacy to the process that being grateful would suggest. I’m relieved but not grateful. I think that the – not I think, I know that the Board’s action with respect to the Center on Poverty just goes to the core of the academic mission and the values of the institution so this is the stuff of the soul of the University as I’m concerned.
I won’t say a whole lot more except to say that I do have something that is being posted on the center’s website and rather than talk about the work of the center in detail, I just invite you to go to the website and check out what we do and why. Advocacy is an essential part of legal training. This notion of advocacy having no place in the University is deeply misguided and that’s the kindest way I can describe it and this whole issue of partisanship is a phony issue. It’s a false issue and so the statement that I made also speaks to that and I just invite you to read it. I thank all of you for your support but I think the most important thing that’s beginning to happen now is that the faculty and the community, the students who frankly and I must admit, small C conservative, as I get older perhaps I find myself more small C conservative and so I sat there and watched the students and I had mixed feelings. One was I want to hear what this Board has to say as it does it work but these students were magnificent. [Applause]. They were acting within a great tradition that makes us proud.
Finally, I think for all of us top to bottom throughout the University, this is one of these defining moments about our values and who and what we are but it’s also an opportunity. The rest of the state is watching. Higher education is watching public and private and we know [1:00:00] because you’ve seen the articles that the nation is watching and we don’t want to come out of this wanting. I think that when we stand up, we just can’t go wrong even if there’s some risk. It really is an opportunity and I’ve always said or I’ve long said anyways that if you fight, you may win and you may lose but if you don’t fight, you can’t win.[Applause]
CAIRNS: I would like to [background noise] Professor Shaw and his work, Professor Jordan and his work and all of the centers, I’d like all of us to stand up in a sign of unity and give them a round of applause again.[Applause]
CAIRNS: Thank you very much for that. So we have time for two more questions and so we’ll let Professor Gerhardt and. . .
Gerhardt: I’m sure it’s a coincidence there are three law professors in a row speaking here. One thing the Board of Governor’s enterprise investigation is supposed to have revealed that may be a surprise to a lot of you here is that we actually have a law school. It just got a lot of attention but I want to just for a very brief moment sort of really applaud my extraordinary colleagues Ted Shaw, Eric Muller, Gene Nichol and also Tamar Birckhead who is on the Faculty Council for all the work she’s done to bring attention to all these issues. As Ted just said, yes, surprise, surprise, we have a law school and there are advocates there.
I really just want to ask a question at this point and that is throughout the entire sort of effort that’s been undertaken by the Board and the University’s response, one thing that I think that at least has been perceived in the Law School is how often the facts seem to have not be absorbed by the Board of Governors. Even up until this last weekend, I know the Dean of our Law School, Jack Boger, who has also been quite exemplary throughout all of this, was rather amazed to discover things that we thought were a part of the record still were not yet digested or understood by members of the Board. I just want to ask a question that may have two parts. Was that your perception and to what extent was that something that you all were able to address or to what extent do you all think that’s a problem for the future?
DEAN: Thanks for the question. I had said earlier that I think whatever you think of the overall process, one of the opportunities that it gave us was to help inform the Board of Governors about the great things that go on in these centers first on paper with the AD and then eventually in presentations about the last ones that we did and I think in many cases, when the Chancellor and/or I were in conversations and we would make points about the centers, you would see that we were helping the Board to understand. They were being asked to absorb – what was the total number, four hundred, four hundred centers or some number like that, hundreds of centers. I mean who understands – two hundred and seventy. We got the official answer. I mean who understands two hundred and seventy centers? Nobody. We did as the process went along have the opportunity to better explain them and I think that the Chancellor’s example before that one of the outcomes of that was that they were sufficiently enthusiastic about the Women’s Center that they were looking for more resources. At least it’s just an anecdote but I that is a sign that what you’re saying actually did take place.
FOLT: Well and also I think we do have an awkward structure being part of a large system. You have a Board of Governors. They actually meet a lot but we sit and this was one of many subjects that you go through and you might be surprised but chancellors rarely speak in these. We have working groups. You have working committees. You’ve got a brand new Board of Governors. You’ve got lots of new people dealing with many issues so I think it’s absolutely true on virtually every issue that nobody knows as much as we do and in fact, Jim and I learn more from sitting in and really great, wonderful things that we learn that are actually helping us in every way.
I think, Mike, one of our challenges and it’s a big one for me, I spend a huge amount of time on it is getting more access so that I have an opportunity when the questions come up – I want my phone number to be the one that people have when they don’t know something so that they’ll call me so that I can start giving information and Jack responded instantly when there are things that people didn’t know. Again, it’s not perfect. Not everybody understood it. I think there were things that we kept trying – we produced documents ourselves. There were stacks and stacks. Trying to get it better – my main thing I was saying to the Board at the end is that we need to double our efforts to get this information, do it better and really make real what we learn and be more effective at communicating but it is a challenge in a multisystem board that has a lot of issues that they’re dealing with. We can do better. People did learn a lot and there [1:05:00] was a lot of activity but clearly all of the things that we know were not all known.
MULLER: Eric Muller from the Law School and also the Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence just downstairs from us here. I wanted to second what Joseph Jordan said about the support that the center directors that were on the chopping block received from the administration in the lead up and the build up to the big hearings back in December. We even got several hours, Jim, of your time personally reviewing our presentations and that was deeply, deeply appreciated. We also had a lot of support from students on the day of the event. I actually was moved to tears when I showed up that morning and saw lines of students outside the General Administration Building holding signs and chanting and it was just magnificent.
I wanted to emphasize something that my colleague, Ted Shaw, said but Ted said it subtly. I’m going to say it much less subtly. There is a group within the Board of Governors, it’s hard to say what its size is, that believes that there should be no litigation being done by a unit of the University that’s affiliated with the Law School or at a minimum that the Civil Rights Center should be barred from suing the state or political subdivisions of the state which when you’re a civil rights litigation center kind of removes many of your defendants from the scope of what you might do.
The question that I wanted to ask both of you is now finally there’s been a crescendo finally I think from the faculty who were largely absent from the room back in December when we were all down there sort of fighting for our centers’ lives and it’s wonderful to have that now. I’m wondering how you think about the issue of the role that the faculty can and should play in continued discussions about these kinds of issues. One might ask the same question about the ouster of President Ross as well. I would just love to hear how you think about how the faculty in addition to the students and in addition to the administration can and should play a constructive role in these ongoing conversations.
DEAN: I moved the mic over to her.
FOLT: First I want to say about the litigation, we’re already working on that. I think that’s really important. I’ve already been talking quite a bit to Ted and had lots of conversation and there are a number of Governors who actually have an open mind and want to talk about that so I do think that in spite of the difficulties, we have actually created a lot of good relationships and there are people willing to work and listen to us and so I am actually grateful for that. I do understand that it might feel difficult that they ask questions that we don’t understand but I am grateful for the attempt and the listening and so I think that’s a very high priority for us.
I mean I just think that we’re always proud of faculty who have voice. You have collective voices. You have opportunities to work through the various governance issues and we have opportunities to speak but I don’t necessarily think that I can channel a single voice of the faculty. I try as much as possible to give a perspective of all the voices of the faculty so I think our faculty does its best work when it’s actually working on the most meaningful things and I think we have a room here where we frequently don’t always work on the most meaningful things. We have an opportunity with our Executive Council to pick the issues that really matter. We have a chance to work on strategic positioning and our issues that we think are important as we go forward to work on campaigns and you also have an opportunity one on one or in voices that we suggest to actually talk with boards of governors.
Right now, I’m sorry, I just don’t have in my mind a set of five things to say that the faculty should do because my inclination is to turn to the faculty and say well, let’s think it through together because I think that’s what we’re going to do best. I don’t know. Jim, you might have a better. . .
DEAN: I doubt very much that it’s going to be better. I mean one of the great things that university faculty do is to really reflect thoughtfully about issues and then express themselves in a variety of different ways. I mean that’s one of the things that makes the University great. How we do it, when we do it, what structure, those are all up in the air as the Chancellor said but continue to think about these things and continue to articulate your thoughts about them. I think we need that and feel free to articulate them to us as well. I mean this issue that we’ve been talking about for however long it’s been, thirty minutes, is one really, really important issue. We probably have another half dozen issues behind that that are perhaps similar in the level of importance and to be able to grasp all of them at the same time is really quite a challenge so if you have a particular knowledge about a particular issue, inform us. Let us know. We’re always happy to hear from you on them. [01:10:00]. You look like you want to call this to a close so do it.
CAIRNS: I wanted to know if you all had a closing remark before we move on to the next resolution. Did you have anything you wanted to say? I know this is an ongoing conversation. Was there a final comment on this?
FOLT: I think we just want to say thank you.
FOLT: Absolutely and we will absolutely be wanting to talk more about it and individuals of you or groups, we’re going to find ways to continue to deepen the relationship because this really has to be an opening for us to have a better conversation across the state. Thank you.
DEAN: Thank you.
CAIRNS: Well thank you. So we’re going to move on to another resolution. This relates to Tom Ross. It’s somewhat related to the discussion we’ve had. You may have heard last time when Steve Leonard, who is the Chair of the Faculty Assembly, was here. We talked about a resolution commenting on the fact that the decision about Tom Ross’ leadership as President of the University System and there was a resolution if you scroll down that was passed by the Faculty Assembly Executive Committee and then forwarded to all of the institutions and I think nearly all of them have passed this resolution and I hope you all had a chance to read it because we’re not actually voting on this specific resolution where it talks about the wonderful work that Tom Ross has done and we express thanks to Tom Ross and that we endorse President Ross continuing to lead the system and we call upon the Board of Governors to articulate the rationale for their stated need for a transition in leadership, a transition that implies a change in direction that has neither been discussed nor vetted with campus leadership, faculty or the people of North Carolina.
The resolution we’re proposing to pass today is to endorse this statement that the Faculty Council endorses the resolution of the Faculty Assembly adopted January 24, 2015 and this was submitted by the Faculty Executive Committee. Professor Ferrell, would you like to call the vote or if there is discussion about this of course?
FERRELL: Is there any discussion or debate? If not, so many as favor the resolution will say aye.[Group responds aye]
FERRELL: Those opposed, no. The resolution is adopted and will be enrolled.
CAIRNS: Thank you very much. We have three more issues on the agenda item and we have I think about forty-five minutes. This next one is a little bit of an unusual discussion and what it is, is it’s a student led discussion on contextual grading. As you all know, the discussion about contextualized grading on the transcript has been in development for probably fifteen years if not longer, nearly twenty years and multiple iterations of the Educational Policy Committee have discussed this and in fact, the Faculty Council passed a resolution on this policy in 2011 with the goal of implementation. I think it was last year and not even this year and it was delayed for technical reasons. Then you may recall that those same issues and we had talked about the Registrar about this, the administration decided to delay this. Ultimately that was approved by the Chancellor and then referred back to the Educational Policy Committee chaired by Jennifer Coble for further discussion.
The student representatives on the Faculty Executive Council, Eliza Filene and Wilson Parker, as well as the executive branch of the Student Government, Kyle Villemain and Andrew Powell, came to the Agenda Committee of the Council to present their perspective on contextual grading and this will not in any way, shape or form change the process that we have. I see Professor Leonard has come in. Did you have anything that you wanted to add or are you going to run on the previous issue? Why don’t you think about it?[Inaudible background response]
CAIRNS: Think about it. It’s important to stress that even though we’re going to have the students on this issue, it’s not going to change the process that we have in place and what we have voted on. This will still go back to the EPC, still go back to Jennifer Coble. I would say two things though.
On this day when our ability to express our opinion has been challenged at the highest level of the University, I think that if our students want to come and talk about an issue that will primarily affect them and that they want to come and speak to us and give us their opinion that we should give them that chance. This is the best way to send to them that we know what academic freedom is all about is to give them a chance to express it themselves. With that, I will ask whoever – I don’t know what is going to happen next but I’ll let them go.
FILENE: Hello. Thank you so much, Dr. Cairns. My name is Eliza Filene and I’m an Undergraduate Representative on behalf of the Student Government to the Faculty Council. I am joined today by Wilson Parker, another representative, [01:15:00], Kyle Villemain, Vice President to the Student Body, and Andrew Powell, President to the Student Body. Before we begin, we would like to thank Faculty Council for allowing us to speak on what we know is an extremely busy day. Also, we are aware of the long history of research on this topic. From the [tertiary? 01:15:18] report to the achievement index to now contextualized transcripts, this topic has been contested for a long time but we also believe that there are some keys areas that remain unexamined and today we want to shed some light on those areas.
We appreciate the work that has gone into this from so many different actors, especially the EPC and the conversations that they’re having there and we see this as an opportunity to present student thoughts and concerns to the larger Faculty Council so that your input can inform the EPC conversation.
At the end of last semester, like Dr. Cairns said, we asked for a delay in the contextualized transcripts implementation in order to take a critical look at the policy. With this year coming to a close, we see now as the time to expedite this conversation. This issue is a serious one, one with far-reaching implications for twenty thousand undergraduate students as well as the entire campus community. We’ve been conducting a large amount of research through focus groups on the student reactions to contextualized transcripts. We’ve also been taking an in depth look at the ramifications behind the policy and a critical look at its ramifications for students, faculty and the University as a whole. Most importantly, we want to revisit the reasoning behind the policy given the relatively recent University decision to emphasize and invest in collaborative and high engagement learning. In particular, we want to ask if contextualized transcripts put our University on the right path for the present and the future where the classroom is a space of exploration and collaborative where all students are rewarded for hard work.
POWELL: Thanks for that intro, Eliza. I think with this presentation we’d like to start by laying out first the argument as we understand it best for contextualized grading. Grade inflation obviously is recognized as a large problem across the nation at many of our elite universities. Grade inflation, grade inequality and grade compression all make it harder to differentiate between students especially among the top tier students. Grade inflation is bad for students. We recognize this. It reduces our ability to get meaningful feedback from grades. We understand that with inflated and compressed grading the value of an A can be diluted and inconsistent which makes it harder to recognize truly exceptional work. In a grade inflated world, student success is not fully recognized. The grading status quo also seems bad for faculty. We recognize that faculty are under significant pressure from students like us to award high grades and this pressure interferes with your ability to do your job of giving meaningful, fair feedback through grades.
Contextualized transcripts intends to fight grade inflation by giving faculty a better way to resist this pressure to increase grades perpetually. They would also be able to argue not to increase one student’s grade because it would dilute the schedule point average for all the other students in the class which would be unfair. This policy also aims to gauge student performance more accurately. The policy is intended to reduce the perverse incentive for students to look around for the easiest classes to improve their GPAs. Contextualized transcripts also may reward students for taking hard classes by putting their performance in context. For example, if a student who takes a truly difficult class let’s say has a median grade of a C and performs somewhat above average, they would have a better SPA than a student whose performance is subpar but takes a class with an A minus average. That as we understand it is the reason basically behind contextualized grading and others can fill in a lot more detail beyond this simple overview. Less grade inflation, better measurement of student performance, less pressure on faculty to award high grades and more students taking hard classes.
PARKER: Thanks, Andrew. So as we’ve been researching the subject, we’ve come to doubt the reasoning behind contextualized transcripts. Perhaps most importantly, we no longer believe that the policy will actually fight grade inflation. Whether they’re being assessed against their peers or against just on their own individual merits, students have the same incentive to focus on raising their individual grade so contextualized transcripts are unlikely to actually lessen pressure on faculty and may in fact increase the pressure. Now students in a class with a median grade of an A minus will have less reason to be content with a B plus because contextualized transcripts will stigmatize below median performance. It is simply not true that students will be content with their contextualized grade and will stop appealing.
We also don’t believe that contextualized transcripts will do a better job of measuring student performance. Sometimes a student will perform in the bottom half of an extremely talented class of peers and still have done amazing work that should be recognized by a higher grade. This is especially true in honors classes and in [01:20:00] upper level classes within majors. We cannot effectively measure student performance by looking at classroom peers because classes themselves differ wildly in terms of the level of academic performance in them.
Finally, we don’t believe that contextualized transcripts will eliminate the current perverse incentive to take easier classes to increase the chance of a high grade which we know is a concern. Rather the introduction of an SPA simply gives students an additional perverse incentive to find classes where their classmates will not be as capable to increase the chance of ranking highly and getting a good SPA. With contextualized transcripts, some students will look for peers they can perform well against the same way they look for professors that grade them generously so SPA doubles down on perverse incentives for students. It doesn’t eliminate them.
POWELL: Our research has not only cast doubts on the effectiveness of contextualized transcripts to achieve its stated goals, we’re also concerned with the unintended consequences of the policy. One of the great success stories at UNC is the redesign of the course curriculum and the ability of active learning models. Student learning outcomes are dramatically better and the achievement gap is closing rapidly. Active learning models rely on peer to peer collaboration in the classroom and contextualized transcripts threaten that collaboration that enables active learning success as students will view the classroom environment as more competitive when they are being assessed against the performance of their peers and not just on the merits of their own performance.
More broadly, contextualized transcripts turn classes into mechanisms that sort students based on performance against each other. While contextualized transcripts may be new, this model of rating students is rapidly becoming obsolete. If UNC wants to be a leader in higher education, we should be moving towards classes that emphasize mastery of context through active collaborative learning, not cutthroat battles that sort students based on competitive prowess.
Often times we’re told that fears like these are imaginary and perceived but they are prevalent among the student body and they come up often in our conversations with students and perception defines reality and fears carry tangible consequences. Over the past few weeks, Student Government has begun leading focus groups with students of many different majors and years and these same concerns are coming up time and time again. There are also enormous technical and logistical challenges. We’ve not put these transcripts in front of the Graduate School reviewers or employers to see how they interpret an SPA or view this new transcript or even whether they can understand it. How will employers view a contextualized transcript side by side with say UVA’s non-contextualized transcript? Many students fear it will be viewed poorly. Additionally, we don’t have a plan to properly grandfather students into this system without creating two competing official transcripts that are out and we still are not confident that our transcript will be a hundred percent accurate or that the SPA data that we have can be processed by other schools, none of which have this same sort of data.
In sum, the student perspective is that contextualized transcripts present profound risks that outweigh the potential benefits and the strongest potential benefit, the ability to further differentiate the top five percent of the student body, is at odds with the gravest potential consequence, the weakening of peer to peer learning and active learning models which benefit underrepresented and disadvantaged students and we believe that at an elite, public university, we should draft policy that’s not directed at our top five percent of students but at those who need the help the most.
We’re all very grateful for this time in front of the Faculty Council to present student thoughts and concerns. Based on present data, we feel strongly that implementing contextualized transcripts is not the proper policy approach for UNC and our direction now. That said, we are excited to continue this conversation with members of the Faculty Council as well as EPC as we continue to talk with our fellow students as well. Dr. Cairns, we’ll turn this back over to you for any Q&A or follow up and thank you again for your time.[Applause]
CAIRNS: Well regardless of how we feel about the particular topic, I think it’s wonderful that our students can think about something that really matters to them and represent their colleagues, come and make an outstanding presentation. As I said before, this still has the policy. I see Professor Coble is here with the EPC and we’ve already voted on this. We’re going to move forward but I really am impressed that they would come and make the case for what they think matters which is really no different than what we were talking about when we go in front of the Board of Governors so I think there are a lot of analogies there. We have time for maybe two minutes. I see Professor Perrin. Can we get Professor Perrin a microphone? Yes sir.
PERRIN: With all due respect, there’s no good reason to be having this conversation right now. As many of you know, in fact the title of the slide is a misnomer. It is not a proposed solution. It is University policy [01:25:00] as a result of continued conversations through Faculty Council, the Educational Policy Committee, the Faculty Executive Committee and Student Government including former Student Body Vice Presidents David Bevevino and Holly Boardman and former Student Body President Mary Cooper. In fact, the reality is that this policy was made right through process and that the questions that the students have raised have all been heard through the process that is already underway to consider how to implement this policy correctly. Therefore, there is no reason to be having this conversation here because the Chancellor having delayed the implementation of the policy, produced a process that goes through the Educational Policy Committee and can actually be informed by information and not fear. Thank you.
CAIRNS: Yes sir.
GILLIGAN: Peter Gilligan. Don’t be afraid. That’s the first thing that I can say to you. I evaluate about four hundred medical school applications a year. I’m excited about this because it will allow you to take hard courses and get credit for it. For example, at this University, math majors we expect them to have lower GPAs when they come to our medical school to be evaluated than students who take other majors. We won’t name any other majors. Don’t be afraid. I think it’s a great idea.
The other thing is I want to ask you all a question. When you were in high school, how many honors courses did you take? How many advanced placement courses? Because at the high school level, it’s exactly what we’re talking about at the college level and I’m sure all of you because you’re very bright students, took honors courses and advanced placement courses and it’s not a lot different than what we’re talking about right here.
CAIRNS: Take just a second.
PARKER: Sixty seconds. So we’re excited to engage with EPC. We have been engaging with EPC on this discussion. We think this is important that this is something was passed four or five years ago. The Faculty Council is very different right now. UNC is very different than the way we were there and we would like everyone to come to their opinion and weigh in and I don’t think that this is something that we should – we should rest on process. We should rest on merit. I think UNC policies should be the best for the time that they’re in and not necessarily because they got passed through five days ago.[Applause]
CAIRNS: That’s great. Thank you. Certainly nicely done, gang, and, of course, don’t be afraid to come to Faculty Council because this is a time of difficult conversations at the University and you all are showing us how to do that so thank you very much. Speaking of difficult conversations, we have two more items on the agenda. I want you to know another reason why I thought we had to have this meeting today and that’s because of what we’re going to talk about next. You all have known about our efforts to engage the Athletics Reform group. Professor Watson has spoken up. I see Professor Smith is here. I apologize to them ahead of time that we only have fifteen minutes to discuss the resolutions that are being proposed here and so the conversations that we’re having about our relationships with academics and athletics continues to be an important one that we’re having. I have made a commitment to this group as well as to the Council in my role as Chair of the Faculty that we will continue this dialogue. We’ll continue this at the Faculty Executive Committee. We will continue this at Faculty Council. We will also continue this conversation in the various committees as well as administrative groups who are responsible for addressing the issues that we’re going to hear about today in these resolutions and so what I would ask, I’m not sure Professor Smith if you’re the one doing it is we have them in four resolutions, there’s actually quite a bit in this, if you could read them altogether so that we don’t procedurally have to go through each one. That would help us move things along and not tie down our conversation with process if you don’t mind. Is that okay?
SMITH: I’m not sure [inaudible 1:29:15].
CAIRNS: We divided the submission you gave us into four parts. If you could read the whole submission together as opposed to each individual resolution and have us vote on each individual resolution. Otherwise it will take too long. Joe, can you help explain this?
FERRELL: I think you mean speak to them as a group and not read them to us. We can read them ourselves.
CAIRNS: The floor is yours, sir.
SMITH: I thought I should take one minute to explain why we’re back again with a package of resolutions. You actually saw these resolutions in a different form back in October when we were just processing the Wainstein report. Why are we back? I’m going to take a minute to tell you that and then I’m going to hand things over to [01:30:00] Harry if that’s okay and then Harry can briefly go through the four. Okay?
We’re back here because we think it’s important for the faculty as a collective to assert emphatically its priorities, its values, and its vision of the future athletic academic relationship here at UNC in the wake of the Wainstein report and in the wake of our scandal. We’ve had four years of scandal. We’ve had nine reviews. We’ve now had four months to absorb the evidence of the Wainstein report. We don’t think a whole lot of additional reflection ought to be necessary for the faculty to assert very clear positions on very basic issues and so that’s why we’re proposing this set of resolutions for your consideration. If I could have somebody deliver the mic to Harry.
CAIRNS: Very good. Professor Watson is ready to go.
WATSON: I suppose my role here is not so much to read. I think you all are pretty good at that but perhaps briefly to state rationale for each one of these resolutions without taking a whole lot of time. Yeah. The first one proposes that the University should eliminate the admission of Tier 1 candidates. These are student athletes whose chances of success are not predicted to be high and the problem that we’ve had with paper classes and so on has been disproportionately involving this group. From time to time, it’s been said that changing our admissions policy here would hurt our diversity objectives. It’s our position the diversity is far, far too important to rest on such a small slice of our applicants – that is people with high athletic ability. That is why we are suggesting this resolution. Profe
Could I see the next one? Then there has also, of course, been a lot of concern about the advising system for athletes. We know that an advising system is extremely important for athletes and other students. We want to make sure that athletes and other students get the same quality of advice from advisors who are committed to the same fundamental academic goals and, therefore, we are urging that the two advising systems that we have now be merged and athletes and other students go through the process together.
Thank you. I thought I had this and so I didn’t. The third one is to rework the faculty code to ensure that the majority of the elected members of the Faculty Athletic Committee come from the College of Arts and Sciences, the source of most undergraduate teaching and the place where athletes most commonly engage with faculty. We don’t want to shut out anybody and this resolution, of course, leaves open seats on the Faculty Athletic Committee for people who are not in the College of Arts and Sciences but since it is Arts and Sciences that deal with undergraduate teaching matters most directly and most consistently, we wanted to be sure that the Faculty Athletic Committee – that the college is well represented in that committee.
Number four has to do with the future rather than the past. The whole structure of college athletics is changing drastically as we speak. The ACC is being reworked. The issue of autonomy is being put forward. What that means is that the ACC and the others of the Big Five athletic conferences would essentially making many of their own rules going forward having to do with pay for athletics and various other things. We would like to see a special taskforce to examine the academic and other implications of the changes coming to college sports and to see how we can protect the University’s academic integrity and the academic interest of athletes in that process. Thank you. [01:35:00]
CAIRNS: Very good. As you can see, there’s quite a bit there. We have a couple of minutes for any comments. Professor Melehy?
MELEHY: Yes. I would just like to add a brief point about Proposal Number 3. An objection was raised about that saying – well first of all, the justification for having a majority of arts and sciences faculty on the committee is that we have a great deal of contact with the student athletes. An objection was raised that many people in other schools teach a lot of the student athletes too but the thing is yes, it’s entirely true but the thing is most of them actually are doing their majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. They’re doing a lot of the gen ed requirements in Arts and Sciences. In my own department, all of the people who teach introductory to intermediate language classes, I don’t but many of my colleagues do, have many athletes in every – I mean you’re talking about five to ten sometimes in classes and they have direct contact with athletes in a way that I don’t think people in the other schools do. I mean they talk to athletes. They know how athletes are going through their classes. They understand the challenges that athletes face. I myself had a cross country runner. That’s the closest I got but I mean he actually asked me to be on his senior thesis committee because we had a long conversation about athletics. I mean I wish he’d said it was because of the class but he said it was because of that conversation. Anyway, yes, of course that sort of conversation can happen in some of the other schools but I think it’s more likely to happen in Arts and Sciences where the students are doing much of their coursework. Thank you very much.
CAIRNS: Yes, Professor Renner.
RENNER: Well we didn’t have time as a committee so I’m speaking [inaudible 01:36:42] Chair of FAC?], we didn’t have time to discuss these because we just got this yesterday but just a couple of comments from the committee members. We obviously can’t either endorse or not endorse any of the resolutions because we haven’t had a chance to talk about them as a committee but just to share some thoughts. One of them was the prediction formula we’re using right now for Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, we’re still collecting data on that. Obviously it’s not an absolute predictor because most of the students do very well and do better than what their predicted GPAs were. Also, some faculty said you can graduate from this University with a 2.0. Therefore, this University has declared that to be a success if you got your degree and this may indicate that we no longer think anyone who makes a 2.3 belongs at UNC so we’re concerned about that. Talking all steps to increase diversities. We strong support obviously that part of that one. On admissions, they think reducing the level of number one students is a good idea. It’s something we’ve been doing already but not sure we want to legislate absolute limits. There is already a great deal of faculty involvement in that process and there is some argument for delegating with oversight experts. This person said they recommended that resolution go to the Faculty Advisory Committee for Admissions.
On the one for integrating academics and advising, we actually just discussed this in one of our recent FAC meetings, we’re already moving toward that. It’s very much integrated now compared to where we were four years ago. As Professor Smith said, I don’t think we had four years of scandal. I think we had a scandal we discovered four years ago and over the past four years, we’ve been working toward making that situation not be true or possible to happen here again but we have been moving toward a very integrated system between academic advising and [inaudible 1:38:31] as well as with Michelle Brown’s shop down in Loudermilk so that’s already occurring pretty well but we all still think there’s room for discussion which we left it open at our last FAC meeting that there’s continued integration for resources and looking for some common ground and making sure that both sides share. Where the Learning Center finds ways that help students be more successful, they share that with Academic Support. Where Academic Support Program for Student Athletes finds particular ways to help a particular student population that that is shared with others as well.
In light of the claim that students be treated equally, I would love to hear justification for that idea since not all faculty are treated equally was another comment from a faculty member. Composition of FAC, we actually have discussed this one before as well and we’ve actually meet with University Government about that probably at the end of the year we’re going to have a recommendation on this coming out from the committee. It’s not as easy a discussion as it sounds as to what the composition should be. For one thing, the working group is finishing up its work right now and that will definitely play a role in us deciding what the FAC’s responsibilities will be going forward. If you don’t know what your responsibilities are going forward, then you don’t know who you need on the committee and what kind of broad thinking that you need but our current conversations were that it takes a diverse membership to strengthen fac. Our committee did vote that we thought that it was good to have a very diverse membership across campus. By not doing that, you are saying that people in other areas other than the college [01:40:00] we’re not interested in or had good information to share. One of the faculty members said that actually since she’s been on the committee, she’s had more athletes in her program than ever before and she thinks it’s because it’s seen as the professional schools being an option. They also ask if memberships on other faculty committees, how those are determined. Are those limited to only people in the college if there’s other things? They thought the University Government Committee could look at this probably the best because they know how all the committees are set up and that’s something that we would not know in our committee is if there are other committees that are limited.
Then lastly, on big college sports we kind of think that’s what FAC is about and ought to be doing. This is new ground. We’ve got some things still at play here in determining the future landscape. There have been some of the lawsuits settled and under appeal. In getting information, we get frequent updates on where we are with that. The NCAA for the first time in January sat their new structure and they’re working through their legislation. At our last FAC meeting, a significant amount of the time was spent on how we feel like we can influence and impact what’s happening nationally.
I know you need me to hurry up. Where we feel like our strength is going to be is not only just coalescing what we want to happen here at UNC but pulling in the other big players around the country because there is strength in numbers. I guess my question had been to the people of the NCAA, how do we get heard at that level and we’re going to build a [inaudible 1:41:26] [?of stuff there?].
CAIRNS: Thank you very much. I know everybody wants to leave at five. I certainly do. I think I saw, Professor Goldstein, did you raise your hand real quick? Was that Buck back there? Is that who that is?
CAIRNS: Would you like to say something? Yes sir.
GOLDSTEIN: A question for the sponsors. Since we have a Faculty Committee, would they accept a motion to table and let the Faculty Committee formally respond to these so that as a total faculty we’ve already created a structure to deal with this or do you feel like this needs to happen outside of the faculty meeting?
CAIRNS: Well let’s let Professor Steponaitis, here’s the Chair of the Government Committee and the Chair on University Government. He was already mentioned by Professor Renner and he is the one who is the master of all process. Sir.
STEPONAITIS: Thank you. Do I get to wear a special hat?
CAIRNS: Please do. Here, you can have this.
STEPONAITIS: Well let me just first say that I think all of these are worthy ideas. I mean they’re things we really should be looking at hard and we really should think about them and as Jay said at the beginning, I think these are all ideas – or most of them have been sort of on the table and floating around so you won’t be surprised to hear what Joy said which is that various committees are already talking about these things. In the report that I presented at this meeting on behalf of the Committee on University Government, I mentioned in that report even though I didn’t say it at the podium that we’ve already opened discussions on the third resolution in this list. In the interests of moving things along and I think acting in the spirit in which we usually do these things, I would like to move that we refer each of these resolutions to an appropriate committee and that these committees can then report back to Faculty Council and then we’ll have the benefit of that input before we’re asked to act on any of these items.
Specifically I move that we refer Resolution 2015-3, the one on admissions, to the Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and instruct them to report their findings and recommendations to Faculty Council at our meeting next September. That will give them some time to look at it, to think about it and to come back with some recommendations. Similarly, as part of this motion I move that we refer Resolution 2015-4, the one on advising, to the Provost’s taskforce, the Student Athletic Academic Initiative Working Group, because I know they’ve been working on this. I’ve heard some of the discussions about this and seen them on YouTube in fact and so we would refer to them and instruct them to report their findings and recommendations back to Faculty Council at our September meeting.
The third resolution deals with my committee, the Committee on University Government. As I said, we’ve already started discussions on this but we need more time and we’re having this discussion in collaboration with the Faculty Athletics Committee. Any time we propose a change in the code having to do with a given committee, we always consult with that committee extensively so that we make sure we do it right. Again, I would as part of this motion move that refer Resolution 2015-5 to the Committee on University Government again with the instruction to report their findings and recommendations to the General Faculty no later than the September meeting. The General Faculty because it’s the General Faculty that would vote on any code amendment.
Finally, with respect to Resolution 2015-6, [01:45:00], I move that we simply refer that to the Faculty Executive Committee for further discussion. Thank you.
CAIRNS: Thank you, professor. Our parliamentarian, Professor Ferrell, could you please comment on what Professor Steponaitis just proposed please in terms of a parliamentarian procedure.
FERRELL: It’s a motion to refer which is a motion in order and I take it he has a single motion that has four parts so only one vote is required and I think the instruction is to report back no later than the September meeting in 2015. If the committees are ready to report before that time, it would be appropriate to do that.
CAIRNS: Given the complexities of this issues, could you give us a personal recommendation? Do you think this is a wise maneuver to follow Professor Steponaitis’ advice?
FERRELL: I always follow Professor Steponaitis’ advice. No seriously. I think if we want to have in depth discussions of very complex issues, the Council needs to have all points of view analyzed, thought through and before us. We don’t want to try to do this in twenty minutes on a Friday afternoon. I personally think going the committee route is more likely to get some positive results than just abo
Facut anything else I can think of.
CAIRNS: Do we call for a vote on the move?[Inaudible background response] [Several responses of second]
FERRELL: Yes. It would be appropriate now for debate on the motion.
CAIRNS: Please keep in mind it is ten to five and we have the research hub I would like to be able to talk about, if possible, to consider but I see hands up. Yes, sir.
WELTY: Hi. I’m Jeff Welty with the School of Government. I understand the sense of referring these things to committee but I’ll also say that when I’m out in the community talking to people about this issue, what I hear most often is where is the faculty, where is the outrage and we didn’t refer the Tom Ross ouster thing to committee. We took action. We didn’t refer the closure of centers to a committee. We acted on it expeditiously and so I think there’s a strong argument to be made here for taking this issue up, addressing it and making a statement instead of sending it to a committee where we all know it will linger for months and come back to us, if at all, in a very attenuated form.
CAIRNS: I appreciate that. I’m going to just take the prerogative of the Chair to respond to that. I think every Faculty Council meeting we’ve had this year we’ve discussed this issue. I have no anticipation that anything is going to not come back and that this decision isn’t going to preclude continued and ongoing conversation. This is a complicated issue and so I just would say the idea – I’m just speaking from my perspective, the idea that we’re not going to talk about this some more, I can guarantee that is not the case. Professor Dobelstein.
DOBELSTEIN: I’m Andrew Dobelstein. I represent Retired Faculty and at the end of December, the Retired Faculty put together a rather lengthy statement based on a series of meetings that was held among Retired Faculty. I think we had three meetings and we had a group session to discuss some of the issues. We put together a rather clear and succinct statement in regards to the Retired Faculty’s position and we did distribute it to the Chairman, to the Faculty Council, to the Chancellor and to the Provost.
The sense of that resolution, that statement that we submitted was that we felt very strongly that present faculty needed to take back its responsibility for the academic standards of UNC Chapel Hill – to take it back. That it was basically the responsibility of existing present faculty. These resolutions to me and I think my colleagues would agree, represent an effort to take back the responsibility for academic achievement on the campus. I think, as a matter of fact, the first two resolutions we had specifically recommended in our statement. I think to put it off would be a disservice to the work that Retired Faculty have already put into this issue.
One perhaps final comment on this, we strongly have a sense of history [01:50:00] about how the University has come through a number of these trying times. I think it would be safe to say that passing these resolutions would in no way undermine efforts to study them further and to come up with more specific kinds of actions that would make sure that these kinds of resolutions were implemented but the thing that it speaks loudest to as far as I am concerned, is the notion that the faculty really want to take its responsibility for trying to make a difference in the way these things have developed. Thank you.[Applause]
CAIRNS: Professor Ferrell? What’s that?
FERRELL: Is there further discussion? Do you have time?
CAIRNS: I’m just. . .
RENNER: I just want to say one thing. Many that we’ve mentioned are made up of faculty. The faculty [inaudible 1:51:02].
CAIRNS: Thank you.
RENNER: [Inaudible] forty-five [inaudible].
CAIRNS: Thank you, Professor Renner. Professor Ferrell.
FERRELL: The motion is to refer. It requires a majority vote. Since these are council resolutions, only members of the Council are eligible to vote on the motion. Those who favor the motion to refer will please say aye.[Group responds aye]
FERRELL: Those opposed, no.[Group responds no]
FERRELL: Does anyone want to count?
DOBELSTEIN: Yes. I call for division.
FERRELL: Professor Dobelstein calls a division. Those in favor will please stand. Ann, can you – that’s obvious that a majority of standing. Does anyone dispute that? The motion is adopted.
CAIRNS: Thank you, Professor Ferrell. I hate to put you on the spot for two or three minutes. Would you like to come back another time?
SEXTON: I’ll come back.
CAIRNS: I think to give it and I see that our librarian is agreeing with us, we want to give it the time it deserves so I get to make an editorial. I think the key here is that this is one of the most challenging times in our University’s modern history. We’re addressing a whole lot of issues and we need to be deliberative and thoughtful about it, not afraid to discuss the issues that are on the table and I think that this has been, I’ll just speak for myself, a very emotional time. Driving down to Charlotte in the snowstorm to get there for the Board of Governors meeting and then watching the process unfold over the past couple of days and thinking about what we stand for and our principles and the centers and institutes and watching the Chancellor navigate the Board of Governors to ensure that it is made clear to them what we believe in and what we stand for – that is the Board of Governors and the Provost and the Chancellor and all of the Directors of all of the centers working very hard to make sure that those centers that are receiving state dollars aren’t – that there hasn’t been a decrease in their appropriation. Remember that was $15 million. We had eighty of those centers. That was a lot of money that potentially was on the table and then third, that they made it quite clear that the work of the University and the voice of the University and the people who speak will continue and I think that’s really important.
In the midst of all of that, we obviously have this issue that is brought to us and as I have always said about the issue related to athletics is we need to maintain our vigilance. This is also a challenging issue for us. We need to continue to have these conversations. We need to continue to bring it up. We started with the faculty interest survey and I remember Professor Melehy talking about the insider culture. I do believe it was on the front page of the paper if I’m not mistaken. We’re not afraid to talk about that. What’s that?[Inaudible background response]
CAIRNS: Earlier I thought when you were talking earlier that you were the cross country runner but I must have misunderstood. We’re going to have the Nominating Committee meet. It was canceled like I said and we’re going to all talk about this. We want you to stay engaged. The Faculty Council matters. The Faculty Governance matters. The faculty voice matters. The student voices matters. The Retired Faculty matters. The staff voice matters. All of us do. This is a really important time so again I apologize for the on and off again about the meeting but I can tell you how proud I am of all of you and the great work that you’re doing here and then in the midst of all of this, the terrible tragedies that have occurred this year. Remember the one that started our year in the summer with the loss of one of our faculty members and then now two of our students and we just have to remember what really matters and that we can all work together. I see we have a couple of minutes. [01:55:00]. I don’t know. Chancellor Folt or Provost Dean, this is such an emotional time for all of us here, would you like to make a closing comment or should we let them leave early?
FOLT: Thanks. I won’t take long. I do want to say it is interesting all the issues that we are facing and we’ve talked about them even since I came and I thought about it a lot when I was out at Berkeley at the sexual assault conference. All of the issues that we talk about here actually are the issues of the day. These are the biggest issues and they aren’t just at our campus. They are across the nation and I feel very proud that we are actually trying to address them in really direct ways. It’s not always easy. There are a lot of things we may agree or disagree on but we are trying to really take them on here and I’m really proud of that and I think it is really interesting when you step outside and you talk to colleagues at other schools about that, you’ll see there are certain places where we are far ahead where we’re doing really great things and then there are other places where we’ve got a long way to go and so I really do agree with Bruce that it’s a matter of pride that we sit in these rooms and we really do talk about these things.
I guess my last statement and maybe it’s driven by the meaning that we find in the students’ lives or the extent to which our students speak out here or they go to the meetings and put their voice forward, we all know that that’s our biggest mission is working with students and I think we have so much there to celebrate and be proud of that even on a Friday at 5:01, I think we do need to remember that a lot, most of what we do every single day is of very great impact and is really changing lives so thanks for letting me say that. Thank you.
CAIRNS: Thank you, Chancellor. Professor Ferrell.
FERRELL: I think that means he wants me to move that the Council do now adjourn.
CAIRNS: That’s correct. We are now adjourned. Thank you all very much.[Applause] [END AUDIO 1:57:10]
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