The tense relationship between the University and the Board of Governors was the main concern of Monday’s Faculty Executive Committee meeting.
Provost Jim Dean addressed the committee’s concern that the Board of Governors doesn’t understand what is important to the faculty.
“The Board of Governors’ concerns are all of the universities at the same time,” Dean said. “This is one of the areas where there is some tension between our aspiration towards a great global public research university and their focus of serving the citizens of the state of North Carolina.”
Anthropology professor and committee member Vin Steponaitis asked if there was anything the faculty could do to ease the transition while the Board of Governors searched for a new president.
“I worry that the Board of Governors might be in their own bubble, and we might be in our own world here,” Steponaitis said.
Dean also stressed that members of the faculty should refrain from questioning the Board of Governors’ decision regarding Ross.
“They are dealing with a broad range of concerns, and it is their job to decide who serves as president of the system and how long they serve,” Dean said.
Steponaitis agreed that the faculty should avoid jumping to conclusions.
“We don’t know everything,” he said. “If we question the Board of Governors’ right to make these decisions, how receptive will they be to listen to us?”
The group also discussed the response to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools review.
“There has been a lot of change conducted by a lot of people working very hard,” Dean said.
He said the accreditors are more concerned with how UNC is changing and keeping from repeating mistakes.
Faculty Chairman Bruce Cairns said UNC can’t change what the public thinks, but the administration can control its actions.
“We say that we are the light on the hill, so we should be that, whether people see it or not,” Cairns said. “We cannot change how things are perceived, but we can stay focused regarding academic integrity and such because people are counting on us.”