For many, recent news addressing UNC athletics and academics have been reduced to words printed on a page. But for UNC student-athletes, the emotional effects have been potent — something that was noted at Tuesday’s Faculty Athletics Committee meeting.
“We have many, many students who are feeling really hurt,” said Chancellor Carol Folt. “Every student-athlete here feels really targeted. We have that to deal with that.”
Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said witnessing students and coaches folding under scrutiny has been difficult.
“It’s disheartening to hear coaches having to be apologetic for athletes who have had to graduate late in sports,” Bubba Cunningham said. “On the positive side, we’re trying to push through as many things as we can.
“We have the Trailblazers which are honoring some of the pioneers in athletics here, the African-American people who have been outstanding in many ways.”
Exercise and sports science lecturer Deborah Stroman said part of the first two weeks of her entrepreneurship class are devoted to creativity exercises, one which led to the idea for the hashtag #HeelForward.
“I took that moment to ask how the class felt,” Stroman said. “I have a few student-athletes in the class, and they were really, really upset. And #HeelForward came forward.”
Sociology professor Andrew Perrin said continual recognition of the reform process is essential.
“It’s not just remaining positive, it’s paying attention to the fact, recognizing that there were major problems, and we need to keep up the process and not pay attention to these distractions,” Perrin said.