Carolina, our relationship has become complicated.
I never expected us to always agree on everything, but your behavior in recent years has certainly forced me to reexamine the nature of our 28-year union. As a university, you’ve let me down, to say the least. There’s been scandal after scandal, from the African and Afro-American studies department's "paper classes" to the mishandling of sexual assault cases and our Confederate statute, also known as Silent Sam, to some very questionable hiring practices. You’ve wasted millions of dollars on legal fees and outside consultants instead of looking to the expertise of your talented faculty and staff for solutions. And you failed to be truthful to your accreditation agency. Time and time again, you’ve placed the desires of your donors and special interest groups over the needs of your students.
And sadly, your top leaders have been nearly invisible, except for spouting empty platitudes in a few marshmallow-like campuswide emails that are sweet but of little substance. They continue to punt the hard decisions and try to please everyone. Bill Friday would not call that leadership.
I don’t expect you to be perfect, but I expect more from the "light on the hill."
And there’s your particularly nasty habit of attacking and silencing those who speak out about your faults. The list of the whistleblowers that’ve been fired or forced out is long and distinguished. The customary response to serious issues is to make scapegoats out of lower-level employees, while administrators and tenured faculty receive mere slaps on the wrists for their unethical actions.