In his opening remarks at Friday's Faculty Council meeting, Faculty Chairperson Bruce Cairns addressed tensions within the UNC system and suggested the council keep North Carolina voters in mind as they make decisions.
“As we deal with the issues, we have to remember, they are the ones who elected our legislators. The legislators are the ones who put in the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors are the ones who select the Board of Trustees, but ultimately, our chancellor,” Cairns said.
“There is a structure that we have to work with, whether we’re happy with it or not.”
New snow day policy
During her remarks, Chancellor Carol Folt fielded a question about the decisions that were made this past week about when adverse weather should cancel University operations.
Each closure UNC has had this year has been condition two, in which classes are cancelled and only mandatory employees come to work, while other employees must use personal time off unless directed otherwise, or condition one, when classes are held but non-mandatory employees may still use personal time off.
Folt said the University operating conditions policy has changed as of Jan. 1, making the qualifications for the University to go into condition three (complete closure) more stringent.
The new policy is statewide and applies to the UNC system as a whole.
“I, last year, created mostly condition threes, but I’m no longer allowed to do that,” Folt said. “There have been changes to the policy.”
Felicia Washington, vice chancellor for workforce strategy, equity and engagement, said in order for the University to go into condition three, there must be evidence of building instability, such as downed power lines, outages or utility issues.
“This is a rock and a hard place, and we have to go for safety first,” Folt said. “We’re working on it.”
Three resolutions unanimously passed their first read at Friday’s meeting, which means they will remain on the calendar for their second read at the next Faculty Council meeting.
The first resolution would clarify what would be done in cases of vacancies on the council, including that of the Faculty Chairperson — a situation that arose in the fall after Cairns suffered a heart attack.
It would create a distinction in procedure between temporary and permanent vacancies by calling for a new election in the case of a resignation or incomplete term, and calling for a selection by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee to make an interim appointment in the case of a temporary vacancy.
The second resolution would add three new elected members to the Faculty Athletics Committee and clarify its charge on campus. The committee will now focus exclusively on varsity athletics. Vin Steponaitis, chair of the Committee on University Government, said overall, the resolution was about the burden placed on the committee.
“It’s a workload issue,” Steponaitis said. "They just feel they need more members."
The third resolution would add two members to the Faculty Grievance Committee and mandate that three fixed-term faculty serve on the committee instead of one.
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