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Faculty Executive Committee proposes new athletics task force

The Faculty Executive Committee discussed the formation of another group tasked with examining the University’s athletic program at its meeting Monday. 

The Faculty Council asked the committee to form a group that would anticipate changes in college sports and work to protect the University from further damages to its integrity.

“We owe them a recommendation,” said Vin Steponaitis, chairman of the curriculum in archaeology. “For me to think about it, there’s things I want to read beforehand, and there are committees I’d like to talk to who have been working hard on this.” 

Steponaitis was appointed to structure the new task force, but he has his doubts.

“To me, a task force is something you create if existing structures can’t build something,” he said. 

Steponaitis and Bruce Cairns, faculty chairman, will meet to discuss the group’s founding. 

“If we deal with our reality with our athletics division, if the ACC decides at that level that they’re going to go global, it doesn’t matter what type of recommendation we make,” said Shielda Rodgers, an associate professor in the School of Nursing. “We don’t have that kind of control with this committee, so what’s going to happen with these recommendations?” 

Jim Dean, executive vice chancellor and provost, spoke to the group about Friday’s Faculty Council meeting. Among the issues the University had to consider in the past year, he said, were adjunct faculty salaries, student learning evaluations and the athletic-academic scandal. 

“I feel like we’re doing four things at once,” said Valerie Pruvost, senior lecturer in French. “As a cook, we’d have too many pots going at once.” 

The Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group was formed in 2013 to evaluate and publish findings pertaining to the intersection of student life, education and athletics at UNC. 

“I’m discouraged that it took so long,” Dean said. “But there’s a lot of really busy people on that.”

The working group examined 21 processes, including recruitment and admissions, and will publish its findings online. Dean said one of the advantages of the working group was that he had the ability to make immediate changes.

“If the group decides the provost needs to do something, the provost does it,” he said.

While the group will disband at the end of this year, he plans to institutionalize a new, smaller group that would meet every year to review the same processes.

university@dailytarheel.com

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