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The Daily Tar Heel

Faculty Council opposes House Bill 2

The Faculty Council adopted a resolution Friday afternoon to affirm UNC’s existing non-discrimination policy and to encourage the N.C. General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory to repeal House Bill 2.

The resolution passed with no objections and no discussion among members of the council.

Chancellor Carol Folt said she felt it was important for the faculty to take a stand on the issue.

“We really want to hear the faculty and hear your voice in this place at this time,” Folt said.

Resolutions discussed

A total of five resolutions were on the agenda for Friday’s meeting. Four of these resolutions were passed, including the one taking a stance on House Bill 2.

A resolution clarifying and adding rules about passing resolutions was passed.

“We want to make sure that the process is transparent and works for everybody,” Faculty Council chairperson Bruce Cairns said of the resolution.

A resolution dealing with copyright policy for software created by faculty or employees of UNC was also passed.

Rumay Alexander, chairperson of the Community and Diversity Committee, gave a presentation on the importance of diversity and its educational benefits, which was followed by a panel on diversity and a resolution on the University’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.

There was some debate among members of the council as to whether or not the resolution was inclusive of all populations, namely, those with disabilities.

“This is under the larger rubric of inclusive excellence,” Alexander said. “(The resolution) names no specific groups at all.”

The resolution was passed unanimously, with the idea that it may be reworded in the future to be more inclusive of all groups.

Instead of voting on it, the fifth resolution was pushed to the next council meeting in September. The resolution would have made provisions for honoring faculty who had taught at UNC for milestone numbers of years, including 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. The council decided to refer the resolution to the Faculty Welfare Committee, who will report back to the council about the resolution in September.

Nominations and Awards

Folt presented Elizabeth Gibson, a law professor, with the Thomas Jefferson Award. The award is given to an active member of the UNC faculty whose academic accomplishments have reflected those of Thomas Jefferson.

“Professor Gibson has been a star since the beginning of her time here,” Folt said.

Gibson said she was surprised and honored when she first learned she would receive the award.

“I was shocked because prior recipients of this award are my university heroes,” Gibson said. “I have a list of people who I want to be when I grow up, and many of them are on the list of Thomas Jefferson award recipients.”

Peter Mucha, chairperson of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, announced that his committee planned to nominate anthropology professor Vin Steponaitis as the new Secretary of the Faculty, replacing the current secretary Joe Ferrell. He said the nomination was unanimous within his committee.

“We’re impressed by his long and broad experience at UNC-Chapel Hill and in faculty governance,” Mucha said.

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No other nominations were suggested, and the council unanimously voted Steponaitis as their new secretary.

Just before the meeting went into closed session, Michael Gerhardt, a law professor and member of the council, proposed a resolution to honor  Ferrell, saying that the council would always remember him and all he’d done for them.

The only person who said they opposed the resolution was Ferrell himself.