Faculty Executive Committee discusses commitment to the free speech policy

Academic advising, free speech and events on campus were all topics of conversation at Monday's Faculty Executive Committee meeting.

What happened?

Provost Jim Dean opened the FEC meeting with a discussion of what events are going on around campus.

Dean talked about the Robertson Scholars banquet on Sunday night, the 10-year celebration of the Kenan Music Scholars Program last weekend and the Carolina Women’s Center’s giving of grants to people on campus who want to do research on issues that touch on women’s rights.

Dean said these events are a representation of the gifts that students bring to the University.

FEC members discussed the University’s free speech policy and concluded that the University is not able to regulate speech based on its content. The committee said students don’t have role models in the media for respectable communication. Members hope UNC’s classrooms are a place for effective and respectable communication.

The committee then talked about changes to the University's system of academic advising. The University is starting an initiative to better understand the quality of advising and offer more efficient student support.

Who spoke?

Professor Leslie Parise, chairperson of biochemistry and biophysics, asked about speech that could be considered dangerous.

“If something is likely to incite violent reaction, what would you do?” Parise asked.

The committee decided that the University should closely monitor any activity that may lead to danger.

The University is redesigning its general education curriculum in an effort to help students have a better understanding of what they want to do after college.

“We are really about helping the students on what they want to do,” Bruce Cairns, director of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, said. “We want to avoid a dream being squashed because they haven’t been given enough direction.”

Why was this meeting important?

Dean thanked the committee for its service, especially as it approaches the end of the year, and he noted that UNC is a much better institution because of the tradition of faculty governance that it has. The meeting notified members of the University’s free speech policy and how to answer questions about it. 

When do they meet again?

The Faculty Executive Council will meet again on April 17.

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