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Meeting of the Faculty Council

Friday, October 31, 2014
3:00 p.m.
Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Wilson Library

Chancellor Carol Folt and Professor Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty, presiding

Room diagram for seating

Twitter hashtag: #FacCouncil


3:00  Call to Order

  • Prof. Joe Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty

3:00  Opening Remarks

  • Prof. Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty

3:05  Chancellor’s Remarks

  • Chancellor Carol Folt

3:10  Provost’s Remarks

  • Provost Jim Dean

3:15  Open Discussion: Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“Wainstein Report”)

Supporting Materials

5:00 Adjourn

Storify of Tweets and Media Coverage

For a sense of how the meeting unfolded live, please see our Storify of tweets and immediate media coverage of this meeting.


Journal of Proceedings of the Faculty Council and General Faculty

The Faculty Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convened October 31, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room at Wilson Library.

The following 78 Council members attended: Able, Aikat, Anthony, Baumgartner, Beck, Berman, Boettiger Cooney, Brown, Bunch, Cairns, Caren, Chapman, Chavis, Cox, Cuddeback, Dean, Divaris, Dobelstein, Dolan, Drake, Ferrell, Filene, Fisher, Folt, Furry, Gilligan, Giovanello, Gucsavas-Calikoglu, Guskiewicz, Hackman, Halladay, Hannig, Heitsch, Hirsch, Houck, Howes, Irons, Ives, Jones, Joyner, Koomen, Koonce, Kris, Kurtz-Costes, Larson, Leonard, Levine, Loehr, Melehy, Metz, Miller, Mitran, Mohanty, Moon, Moracco, Moreton, Palmer, Parise, Parker, Paul, Persky, Rial, Rodgers, Salyer, Segars, Stavas, Stenberg, Steponaitis, Sturm, Swift-Scanlan, Swogger, Thompson, Waterhouse, Watson, Webster-Cyriaque, Weight, Willett, Williams, and Yaqub.

Members absent with excuse: Beltran, Birckhead, Chera, Cook, Day, Edwards, Fry, Gerhardt, Gulledge, M. Hobbs, S. Hobbs, Hsu, Kang, Kim, Mayer-Davis, McLaughlin, Pertsova, Pruvost, Pryal, Tepper, Viera, Wang, Welty, and You.

Members absent without excuse: Boxill and Walker.

Call to order

Professor Bruce Cairns (Surgery), chair of the faculty, called the meeting to order at 3 p.m.

Chair of the Faculty’s comments

Professor Cairns welcomed the Faculty Council and members of the General Faculty. He gave an overview of the Faculty Council’s powers as they are outlined in the Faculty Code of University Government. His full comments are transcribed in Appendix A.

Chancellor’s remarks

Chancellor Carol Folt said that the past few weeks have been a difficult time, but the release of the Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (herein referred to as the Wainstein report) has brought resolution and the desire to make the university better going forward. She stressed the need to accept this report and reminded the faculty that “the strength of who we are is how we will define ourselves.”

The chancellor said that the Wainstein report is an opportunity to grow and recognize the athletics reforms that have already been put in place over the past four years.

Provost’s remarks

Provost Jim Dean said that the events in the Wainstein report do not reflect the aspirations of Carolina and its faculty. He regrets that the report’s findings have impacted the experiences of faculty. He said commissioning the report was the right thing to do, and he thanked the chancellor and President Tom Ross for trying to understand what happened and why.

The provost said that the administration will address the factors that allowed academic misconduct to occur. They have identified new reforms based on the Wainstein report. He and the chancellor are asking the university community for ideas, help, support and patience. He stressed the need to come together as one university.

Harmonyx performance

Professor Cairns surprised the Council with a performance by the Harmonyx a cappella group. They sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the African American National Anthem by James Weldon Johnson.

Open discussion of the Wainstein report

Professor Cairns reminded the Council to keep those students’ voices in mind as discussions about the Wainstein report develop over the course of the meeting. He instructed the Council to get into groups and come up with issues that they want to discuss. After a few minutes, the groups took turns reporting their discussions.

Professor Paul Jones (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) said that his table had five questions and concerns regarding the role of race, the role of athletics, pressures on new departments, general oversight of departments, and the role of faculty and non-faculty whistleblowers.

Professor Frank Baumgartner (Political Science) said that his table has observed that the University has been in a defensive posture, and he asked if UNC could take a leadership position at the national level to reform special admissions for athletes. He suggested creating a national conversation to move the University into a forward-thinking posture.

Professor Jan Hannig (Statistics and Operations Research) thanked the chancellor and provost for commissioning the Wainstein investigation. He is concerned about the report’s impact on Carolina’s international reputation and the value of students’ diplomas.

Professor Nancy Fisher (School of Medicine) said that faculty want oversight and transparency. They want oversight in coaching and transparency with regard to athletics spending. Faculty want to strengthen the relationship between student government, faculty and administration. She mentioned a recent forum with student-athletes where she came away with the conclusion that the University needs to take better care of student-athletes as students, not just athletes.

Professor Hassan Melehy (Romance Studies) commented that the time demands on student-athletes don’t leave room to study enough. He said that while the NCAA sets time commitments, UNC may need to restrict the time limits. If it were the consensus among general faculty that Carolina should reduce those hours at the price of losing its competitive edge, then it should be done.

Professor Cary Levine (Art) said bigger systemic problems in the relationship between athletics and university life must be addressed or abuses will happen again. He encouraged the administration to lead the national conversation outside of Chapel Hill.

Professor Vin Steponaitis (Archaeology and Anthropology) said that oversight and making sure that people feel empowered to report misconduct are two important issues.

Professor Beth Moracco (School of Public Health) asked whether the athletics department recognizes the far reaching impact of the academic misconduct that occurred. She asked how the reforms will be monitored.

Professor Erianne Weight (Exercise and Sport Science) said that she believes the surrounding culture in athletics drove good people to make bad decisions. Some advisors may have been trying to keep players eligible, while others were trying to help student-athletes. She said some athletics programs give credit for classes in sports and leadership.

Professor Brian Sturm (School of Information and Library Science) said that he would like to see an open discussion of how to define what is best for student-athletes. He said that while there have been changes in managing athletics to make sure misconduct doesn’t happen again, there are issues of influence and power that need to be clarified. He said that goal should be to create an ethos where academic misconduct wouldn’t happen.

Professor Dorothea Heitsch (Romance Studies) said many faculty don’t know what’s like to be a student-athlete. It is helpful for faculty to understand students’ day to day schedules. She asked if there are models for classroom management that help students who are struggling. Because student-athletes tend to miss class to travel, a cap should be considered for the number of athletes allowed in a class.

Professor Harry Watson (History) read a statement of six considerations from the Athletic Reform Group. The full statement is included in Appendix B.

Chancellor Folt responded that the discussion was helpful and that she’s heard many of the same questions and concerns. She said that the University needs to do a better job of publicizing reforms.

The chancellor explained a number of reforms that have been implemented. In the past, the five-year administrative reviews of department chairs were conducted by the Graduate School. Because the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Department (AAAD) did not have a graduate program, and it’s chair didn’t undergo a the regular five-year administrative review. This loophole has now been remedied.

Chancellor Folt also pointed out that Carolina instituted a post-tenure review system many years ago, but the review applied only to faculty whose “primary duties” were teaching, research and service. This was interpreted as exempting department chairs. This loophole has also now been remedied. Chancellor Folt said that if either of the two systems had been in place for the AAAD department, there may have been a different outcome. In addition, reporting for independent studies was done inconsistently. The Office of the Registrar now has procedures to catch course clustering.  The goal of the reforms is to ensure that all departments and administrators are following policies. The administration will evaluate the 70 reforms that have been put in place to make sure they are followed.

Changes have been made to the special admissions process, and it has been used less frequently to admit student-athletes. Last year only nine student-athletes were admitted through the process. The chancellor said that she wants to make sure all students who are accepted to Carolina have a chance to succeed and have the opportunity to take different types of courses.

Provost Dean said reforms in special admissions have been extensive. Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham will be charged with revisiting admissions reforms to ensure that the reforms are exhaustive.

He said that he takes the responsibility of overseeing the ASPSA seriously and that the Faculty Athletics Committee will review the time that student-athletes are committing to their sports. He has consulted with organizational behavior specialists in School of Business to figure out how to do oversight well, but there is still work to be done. People questioning the value of their diploma troubles him the most. He saw on Twitter that a Carolina alum posted a picture of an empty wall where his diploma used to be. He emphasized the importance of coming together and not blaming a department, students or colleagues.

Professor Jay Smith (History) was concerned by the initial response to the Wainstein report because he felt that it focuses on finding people to blame. He said the academic fraud was not the result of “a cabal of evil people, but good people who thought they were acting ethically because they were working within an unethical system.” Removing those people will not solve the systemic issues.

Professor Hodding Carter (Public Policy) said that he supported Professor Smith and was surprised at how Council members reacted in the past when Professor Smith expressed his concerns. He urged the Council to have the courage to oppose administrative policies when they undermine the institution. He questioned the extent to which coaches lacked knowledge about the academic fraud and encouraged the faculty and administration to issue an apology to Mary Willingham, a former learning specialist who has spoken publically about lowered academic standards for student-athletes.

Professor Susan Bickford (Political Science) asked if there are plans to investigate any fraternities that had large numbers of students enrolled in fraudulent courses.

Professor Emeritus Eliot Cramer (Psychology) agreed that the Council owes Mary Willingham an apology because she was slandered. He doesn’t agree with all of her claims, but he has corresponded with outside experts the university hired to review Willingham’s research. He said the researchers asserted that they were provided with very little information, and the data they were given was not the information on which Willingham based her claims.

Professor Mark Driscoll (Asian Studies) spoke as President of UNC Chapel Hill’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) members. He said some problems are the result of not having collective bargaining. He said that Carolina needs a strong union to provide an independent space for faculty to speak out without fear of reprisal.

Professor Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld (Archaeology and Anthropology) read an email from page 284 of the Wainstein report. A student-athlete taking a computer class wrote to his professor to request an independent study to fit with his athletics schedule. Professor Colloredo-Mansfeld said that since that email, competitive pressures have only increased for student-athletes. Students are working more hours outside of class now as a result of active learning initiatives. With the reforms, all of the pressures have been brought on top of the athletes. He suggested the need to rethink student-athletes’ career paths to get them into classes that will spark their true academic interests.

Professor Steponaitis said that a lot of the immediate problems have been fixed, but the pressures of big-time sports still remain. The source of pressure is money spent on athletics for entertainment. He said that those pressures may be increasing and becoming unsustainable. Professor Steponaitis responded to Professor Carter’s comment and said that it is unfair to assert that the Faculty Council is a rubber stamp. He said the Council’s response would have been different if they had known the information that came out in the report earlier.

Professor Sue Estroff (Social Medicine) said that she is troubled by a lack of trust in the foundations of the faculty and the university. She felt betrayed by the faculty and administrative leadership. She said that faculty must give each other trust, respect, and integrity.

Professor Nancy Fisher (School of Medicine) asked if there is a way to lessen the burden on student-athletes by lowering the time commitment or having fewer games.

Professor Joy Renner (Allied Health) gave a brief overview of the Faculty Athletics Committee’s work over the past few years. The first year, the committee assessed what happened. The second year, the committee focused on communication across units and changes that have been put in place. This year, the committee is monitoring reforms and making additional recommendations. The committee will take up the issue of time commitments.

Professor Renner said she is most worried about the students on campus. The faculty have the responsibility to protect, educate and advocate for all students regardless of their situation. She has heard that some faculty have made it difficult for student-athletes to take their class. She emphasized the need to welcome and embrace all students.

The Faculty Athletics Committee is also looking into ways that time commitments affect student-athletes’ selection of majors and if required courses could be taught on different days and times each semester so students have an multiple opportunities to fit the course into their schedule.

Professor Renner said that the committee is working on a process through which people can submit concerns and have committee members vet them and report the findings to the public.

Professor Lloyd Kramer (History) said he was on the Faculty Athletics Committee when the paper courses were at their peak. The committee members are good people, and he respects them. He noted that they didn’t ask the right questions, because they trusted their colleagues in athletics. He asked Professor Renner if academic advisors are still allowed to be in a position to assign grades. He asked the chancellor about the amount of money that has been spent on public relations for the university. He asked where the funds are coming from.

Professor Renner said that there are no faculty employed by ASPSA. Graduate students can be employed as tutors, but they cannot tutor their own students. Academic advising has both faculty and non-faculty advisors.

Chancellor Folt added that they are trying to go back through all the findings to make sure that prevention mechanisms are in place. The chancellor responded to Professor Kramer’s question and said that when she came to the University, many of the top leaders had left or left shortly after her arrival. During that time, there was a deluge of public records requests and accusations in the media that Carolina was not transparent. To address those the problems, she created the position of Vice Chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs.

Provost Dean remarked that he has supported an increase in teaching and graduate assistant stipends for the past two years.

Professor Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology and Immunology) said that he hopes the administration will work for reforms at the national level. He responded to Professor Carter’s earlier remarks and said that Faculty Council members have been engaged over the years in asking difficult questions. He said the 2012 Faculty Executive Committee subcommittee report was the beginning of a conversation that has led to today.

Professor Wayne Lee (History) asked that the University reconsider decisions that are based on increasing revenue for sports. He asked that faculty consider having a response to future situations in which revenue considerations conflict with the academic mission.

Professor Emeritus Anthony Vogt (Government) supported Professor Lee’s comments. He encouraged the Faculty Council and Faculty Athletics Committee to take a stronger role in setting standards for academic integrity. He said he was on the Faculty Council when it voted unanimously against allowing first-year students to be eligible to compete in their sport.

Professor Heitsch said that faculty governance could be strengthened by establishing shorter term limits to get new faculty to serve.

Mr. Andrew Powell, student body president, thanked Professor Renner for her support of students. He echoed her concerns that student-athletes are treated differently in the classroom and asked that faculty not project their frustration over athletics issues onto student-athletes.

Professor Andrew Perrin (Sociology) said that the faculty must acknowledge that institutional pressures don’t excuse academic misconduct. He also reminded the Council that the Faculty Athletics Committee and the Faculty Council have affirmed in the past that academic integrity trumps the importance of wins, championships, and recruitment. He encouraged the Council members to reaffirm that commitment.

Professor Hassan Melehy said that when he joined Faculty Council, he was struck by its insider culture. The Faculty Council tends to support the administration even if there are dissenting voices. He believes that faculty governance elections aren’t open because candidates are selected by a nominating committee that is not directly elected by the faculty. He suggested that the entire voting process be reexamined.

Professor Kathy Perkins (Dramatic Arts) said that she is bothered by the media coverage of the African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies (AAAD) department. She asked if the faculty in that department have received support from the University.

Professor Harry Watson observed that how we deal with the past shows how we will face the future. He asked if the University is willing to apologize to Mary Willingham.

Provost Dean responded that Ms. Willingham has brought a suit against the University, the chancellor, and the provost. He is unable to respond or comment on the situation. The provost visited with the AAAD department to express his support, and he is concerned about the reputation of the department. He thanked the faculty for their civil tone and respectful dialog.

Chancellor Folt said that since she started her position, she has learned a lot about the long history of faculty and student governance. She acknowledged that many people and the media have brought athletics problems to light in the past and have been working to find solutions over the past few years. She thanked the faculty and Professor Cairns for generating a productive and helpful discussion.

Professor Cairns thanked the chancellor and provost. He explained that the Faculty Council has a number of progressive features that some other universities do not share. The chancellor is the presiding officer of the meeting, but she defers to the faculty and the chair of the faculty to run the meeting. At some places, the chancellor and provost do not attend the meetings. Professor Cairns thanked Chancellor Folt and Provost Dean for engaging the faculty, the faculty council members, and the Office of Faculty Governance staff.

Secretary of the Faculty Joseph Ferrell reminded the faculty that governance is only as strong as the people who are willing to run. He encouraged those who don’t currently serve to respond to invitations to run in the faculty elections.


Having completed its business, the Faculty Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathryn Turner
Executive Assistant

Joseph S. Ferrell
Secretary of the Faculty

Appendix A: Chair of the Faculty’s comments

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the second Faculty Council meeting of the 2014-15 academic year, and the first Council meeting since the release of the Wainstein report.  The Agenda Committee met earlier this week and decided to devote the entire meeting to consideration of this report and the issues surrounding it.

We thought it was important to start by reminding all of you the powers of the Faculty Council as outlined in the Faculty Code.

  • 2-8. POWERS

(a) The Council exercises the legislative powers of the General Faculty:

1) to determine the educational policies of the University and the rules and regulations under which administrators and faculty will conduct the educational activities of the University;

2) to prescribe the requirements for admissions, programs of study, and the award of academic degrees by the University in the context of the basic educational policies of the University and the special competencies of the faculties of particular colleges and schools;

3) to recommend persons for honorary degrees and special awards; and

4) to advise the chancellor and other officers of administration and the student body in matters of student conduct and discipline, and to approve any rules and regulations governing student conduct that affect academic standards or performance.

(b) The Council also has power, concurrently with the General Faculty:

1) to provide for such standing and special committees as the Council may deem necessary or useful for the effective and expeditious conduct of its business;

2) to act upon reports from and to make recommendations to the General Faculty, faculty committees, colleges, schools, institutes, and other units of the University;

3) to request information and reports from and to give advice to the chancellor and other officers of administration with respect to any matter affecting the life of the University; and

4) to discuss and resolve upon matters relating to the life of the University.

We will leave them up on the screen so that you can read them during the meeting.

But it essentially boils down to this: the faculty are the foundation of the University. We determine the University’s educational policies, the requirements for admissions and degrees, and we have a duty to advise the Administration. These roles and many others, now more than ever, are crucial in determining the future of the University.

My goal today is to begin what will undoubtedly be a difficult, challenging yet ongoing conversation about what we are going through.

As Chair of the Faculty, I would also like to give you, very briefly, my perspective:

What has occurred at Carolina over a nearly 20-year time period is simply unacceptable. As a University, we have let down our students and ourselves. I believe at this point the task of the faculty and the Faculty Council is to address the issues embodied in the report and to do everything we can to restore trust and confidence in the University and Faculty Governance.

I believe that process begins with 1) reiterating our absolute commitment to academic integrity and 2) fulfilling our obligation to our students, fellow faculty, University and the people of North Carolina, the Nation and World.

I personally believe these principles are embodied in our University Motto- Lux et Libertas (Light and Liberty) and the North Carolina State Motto- Esse Quam Videri (To be, rather than to seem).

We simply cannot flinch nor hide from the disturbing implications of the Wainstein report, but I submit to you that these issues do not define the character of the vast majority of 3,600 faculty and countless students who have committed themselves to the University of North Carolina.

So as Faculty Chair, I need your help and you have responded. I have heard from numerous faculty over the past week. Thanks to all of you who have contacted me and participated in the campus wide Town Hall meeting last week.

I think what I have heard falls into four categories:

1 . What has happened (why, how, who),

  1. what have we done about it (reforms in policies, procedures and oversight),
  2. what it means for our university (academics, athletics, admissions),
  3. and what does it mean for faculty governance and our role.

With this particular issue in mind, I think we need to decide how Faculty Council and our committees can most effectively respond to these issues, or — in many cases — continue to build on the good work many are doing.

For the next two hours, I’d like us to have an open and respectful conversation about the report and surrounding issues.  I recognize this is a difficult and emotional time, but again, I ask you to please be respectful.  As moderator, I intend to let the discussion be as open as possible, with some structure but no overt scripting or control.

As a matter of logistics, when I am finished, Chancellor Folt is going to speak for about five minutes, followed by Provost Dean.

When they are done, we will ask each table and the faculty to take five minutes or so to talk with colleagues about the two or three major issues that you think we need to address related to this report.

Please use the cards provided to make a few notes and identify a representative to speak for each group.

We plan to spend about 3-4 minutes at each table and hear what you each group has to say and how you use that time is up to you.

Since we have 10 tables, I anticipate this discussion will take about 45 minutes and should be completed at 4 p.m.

This will leave us an hour to open the floor for the General Faculty, to say what’s on their minds, and respond to what their colleagues in Faculty Council have said.  I will make every effort to call upon as many people as possible.

I promise we will finish at 5 p.m. and again, please remember this is just the beginning of our dialogue.

Appendix B: Statement on behalf of the Athletics Reform Group read by Professor Harry Watson

In the wake of the Wainstein report, which shows a corrupt academic-athletic relationship geared toward maintaining eligibility for academically weak athletes, the Athletic Reform Group urges bold faculty and administrative action. It is time to transform the state of UNC athletics and to cleanse the institution of this stain.

We urge:

1) That head coaches, deans, faculty athletic representatives, and compliance officials be asked to explain to faculty how they failed to exercise the responsible leadership expected of them.

2) That the University issue a formal apology to Mary Willingham, who told the university for free what the Wainstein report confirms and documents in excruciating detail. Had UNC embraced her leadership in 2012, the institution would have been spared years of humiliation and untold financial costs.

3) That the University voluntarily vacate any championship won with players kept eligible through the vehicle of paper classes.

4) That the University discontinue the athletic special talent admissions process.

5) That the academic support program for athletes be dissolved and that all student advising be moved to Steele building or some other suitable location in the center of campus.

6) That in order to protect the academic interests of athletes, and to position the institution for the Big-5 and post-O’Bannon era, a new faculty-led and faculty-chosen task force be formed to examine the academic implications of Big-5 autonomy.

Video recording

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0 Responses to “October 31, 2014”

  1. Put out an APB for leaders, stat | Paper Class Inc

    […] What the DTH recently said about the University’s “weak-kneed” response to the Tom Ross situation applies equally well to the entire athletic-academic scandal. First, administrators ran for cover (or actually helped to cover); more recently, administrators have decided to farm out responsibility for openness and accountability to PR firms and lawyers. Rick White–a newly hired associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs–has become the most visible spokesperson for the University, even when the institution is being challenged on fundamental academic issues that would seem to be in the wheelhouse of the Chancellor or the Provost. Where is the will to lead? At the Faculty Council meeting that immediately followed the release of the Wainstein report, the Chancellor was asked by Political Science professor Frank Baumgartner if UNC would now seek to provide leadership in the national movement for athletic reform. The Chancellor evaded the question and asserted that the University “needs to do a better job publicizing reforms” already in place on our own campus. Inspiring words indeed. […]

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