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Working group on ethics still yet to form

UNC said it would start the working group after the Wainstein report

After the Wainstein report was released in October, the University introduced several initiatives to address the wrongdoings it revealed.

One of those initiatives was a working group to recommend how to oversee UNC’s commitment to integrity and compliance with all regulations.

But the working group, though under active consideration, has yet to be formed.

“Plans for developing the working group are ongoing,” Mike McFarland, director of University Relations said in an email. “The chancellor and her cabinet have discussed expected outcomes from the ethics and integrity working group in order to charter and initiate action.”

The University will make information on the development of the group public once its initial structure has been completed, McFarland said.

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, interim director of UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics, said a proposal for the group has been prepared for Folt’s review.

“I believe it is undergoing revisions now,” Sayre-McCord said in an email.

He said it’s important to have clear, consolidated, confidential channels for people to raise concerns.

“More generally, I believe having a working group think about how the University might best support, encourage and protect integrity across the board is very worth doing,” Sayre-McCord said.

The group might resemble the Faculty Athletics Committee’s new review process for concerns specifically involving student-athletes and academics, said Joy Renner, committee chairwoman.

She said when someone reports a concern, it will be investigated, and a conclusion will be delivered to the individual who initially reported the concern.

“It makes sure that every question that gets asked gets the attention it should and that it gets fully vetted,” she said.

Renner said she developed plans to pilot such a process prior to the Wainstein report’s release.

“It’s important to have a mechanism so if someone feels, ‘Is this right? Is this in keeping with the University?’ they have a place to go ask that question,” she said.

Anyone within the University community can report, Renner said.

Renner acknowledged that developing a working group of this nature for the entire University will take more time and planning.

“Because of what we have done with the FAC so far in piloting our program — I see even more so the value of having this type of process where you take a question, it’s consistently evaluated, it involves multiple people across different areas so you make sure you don’t miss a perspective, and then there’s a formal reporting out,” she said.

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