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Faculty Athletics Committee talks Mizzou at listening session

The committee holds the open sessions to answer questions pertaining to student athletics from the campus community, said committee chairperson Joy Renner.

The committee addressed questions about how the University might react if athletes boycotted, as they recently did at the University of Missouri.

“What if that were here?” committee member Kimberly Strom-Gottfried said. “I think that’s put a different spin on the power of student-athletes.”

Committee member Deborah Stroman referenced student-athlete involvement in protests in 1992, when football players played a role in the activism that led to the creation of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

“I think at an institution, especially one like Carolina, that everyone should have power,” Stroman said.

“And if it means that there are those students who feel that something must be done, as in stop everything, then I think that’s warranted and very valid.”

Committee member Lissa Broome said UNC has spent a lot of money on athletics and related issues in the past.

“Look at all the money that’s been spent on the Wainstein report, redacting records to release public records,” Broome said.

She said the Wainstein report was an example of the University making a decision against financial interests.

“That’s a significant financial hit that the University is taking, but has taken to try to get to the bottom of what happened and be fully transparent about the investigative process and all the information that was uncovered in that process,” Broome said.

Renner said a group is being assembled to organize more campus conversations about student athletics.

Renner said time commitments are a focus of both the Faculty Athletics Committee and the ACC.

She said committee members look at the pressures that students-athletes in particular face and try to examine the balance between class and practice schedules from different angles.

“We’re trying to look at it holistically,” Renner said.

“An athlete who’s on the court at nine o’clock and doesn’t play particularly well, that’s got to go to class the next morning with everybody looking at them knowing they didn’t play particularly well.”

Renner said the committee is also looking at study abroad and internship opportunities for student-athletes.

“Is there something we can do to enhance their experience?” she said.

The Faculty Athletics Committee holds listening sessions once a semester. Committee members were present to answer questions for two hours.

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