Top four takeaways from the Faculty Council's first meeting
The Faculty Council members met Friday for the first time this school year, tackling topics like Silent Sam and the Center for Civil Rights.
1. The University’s Faculty Council approved a resolution at a meeting Friday to officially request the removal of the Silent Sam statue.
“We support President Spellings and Chancellor Folt in their request to lawfully remove Silent Sam from McCorkle Place and urge the Governor, the North Carolina Historical Commission, the Board of Governors, the Board of Trustees and the General Assembly to work together to make this move possible,” the resolution stated.
The Rationale section of the resolution mentioned many reasons for removing the statue, including not aligning with the school’s values, the discriminatory undertones many feel it represents and the public safety risks involved.
This resolution looks to convince the NC Historical Commission to negotiate repealing the Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act of 2015, which “prohibits state agencies including the University, from permanently removing any object of remembrance – defined as a monument, memorial, plaque, statue, marker or display of a permanent character that commemorates an event, person or military service that is part of North Carolina’s history.”
Although the vast majority of the faculty voted to approve the resolution, some members did not see it as a strong enough statement.
“I have to say this resolution is a one-off solution to a problem that will persist even after Silent Sam has been moved,” Stephen Leonard, associate professor of political science, said. “The problem here is the legislation, it’s not the fact that the chancellor is prevented from acting in contravention with the law, the problem is the law itself.”
2. The meeting addressed the BOG's vote to pass the litigation ban against centers and institutions at UNC, despite the council's urging the BOG to vote "no" on the bill in August.
This decision primarily affects the Center for Civil Rights, as may have said the Center could face termination if this proposal came to pass.
“The proposed policy makes it harder for campuses within the system to pursue their mission, places arbitrary and unjustified constraints on how we train our students, harms our university’s reputation, threatens our accreditation, and complicates the work of Centers and Institutes in ways that cannot be foreseen,” the August resolution stated.
3. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean bid farewell after four years in his position. Dean got emotional as he spoke to the applauding crowd of faculty.
“Faculty governance is an important tradition in American higher education, at UNC especially,” Dean said. “I encourage you to continue to share your gifts to the University in this way, and to ensure that the voice of the faculty is heard as a valuable one.”
4. The council honored Dr. Alice Ammerman, professor in the department of nutrition, by awarding her the Thomas Jefferson Award. This award is given yearly to recognize members of the UNC community who exemplify exceptional ideals through their work.
“I’m really proud to be a part of a university that values diversity and cares deeply about the people of our state, wrestles with difficult topics and allows me to follow my passions while still calling it a job,” Ammerman said.
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