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University Affairs Committee discusses faculty, diversity and addiction recovery

Old Well

The Old Well is a fixture of McCorkle Place.

In the Chancellor’s Ballroom of the Carolina Inn, the Board of Trustees met to discuss University affairs on Wednesday. The meeting was led by the Chairperson of the University Affairs Committee Charles Duckett. Here’s the recap: 

First, Employee Forum Chairperson Shayna Hill delivered the Employee Forum update.

The Employee Forum partnered with TIAA for the Plant a Tomato, Give a Garden event, said Hill. With 40 volunteers, they were able to distribute 250 tomato plants to the lowest paid employees on campus.

Through the Harris Teeter Million Meals Challenge, the forum put on a year-long food drive which culminated in the distribution of 14,355 meals.

The Employee Forum has many upcoming events as well. The 30th Annual Carolina Blood Drive will occur on June 5. Then, on June 8, the Forum will join Orange County Habitat for Humanity in building a home for a UNC housekeeper and his family.

Then, Leslie Parise, chairperson of the faculty, gave the faculty update.

Parise has served as faculty chairperson for almost a year. She has strived to improve the campus environment for work-life balance and diversity, strengthen faculty recruitment, address budget challenges and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens.

Lastly, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp and Director of Student Wellness & Associate Dean of Students Dean Blackburn spoke on the Carolina Recovery Program, a program designed to assist students in recovery from addiction.

Blackburn started his presentation by recognizing the need to get rid of the stigma surrounding addiction.

“Let’s show that we truly care about our students and their families, and let’s embrace our campaign’s slogan of ‘For All Kind,’” Blackburn said.

He continued to talk about the wide-range of students the country’s drug epidemic effects.

“UNC attracts the best and brightest in the country, and this issue affects our best and brightest on campus. We have Morehead scholars, a number of honors students, some of our top athletes, that are affected by this.” 

Blackburn says the program is aimed at building “recovery capital.”

“Recovery capital are those assets that students need to be able to have a normal college experience here on campus,” he said.

Blackburn said that often this capital can come in the form of internal or external resources that one can bring to initiate and maintain one's recovery. Other forms of this capital can come from counseling, sobriety monitoring or providing substance-free housing. He said all of these forms of support are to make sure recovering students have a fair chance at an education.

“It’s really an opportunity to provide us a foreign environment in an educational-specific context that provides both support and accountability,” Blackburn said. “We’re not asking for anything exceptional or special for our students, just an opportunity to pursue and complete their educational pursuits in a safe environment.”

The program has been operating with grant funds, according to Blackburn. Moving forward, the program is working towards achieving sustainable funding. 

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