“There’s great work on our campus being done in this area — every school could talk about the way in which they are working in this space,” Guskiewicz said. “We need to find a way to bring it together so that we can really work in a more collaborative way. It’s a little, right now I think, inefficient, the way we’re handling data science.”
The committee also discussed focusing more on the impact the research being done at UNC is having through restarting the Tar Heel Bus Tour, possibly under the name the “Listening and Learning Tour.”
The committee also spoke about the events of March 16, when a Confederate came to campus, some carrying weapons. Though not the only inciting incident, this event helped facilitate further discussion among committee members about the creation of a public safety commission, in effort to help those on campus feel comfortable voicing their opinions about law enforcement.
“The objective is to provide a sounding board for our campus community when they feel we could be doing something different, and or saying that, ‘I witnessed an event on Saturday and really like the way it was handled,’ and, ‘Let’s make sure that if a situation like that shows up again, let’s model what we did the last time,’” Guskiewicz said. “So, it goes both ways.”
Faculty At-Large member Malinda Maynor Lowery expressed concern about what she has heard from students who feel there is a lack of transparency.
“There’s the issue of who to complain to and will they be heard, but then, if a complaint is logged, what happens after that not being communicated back?” Maynor Lowery said. “So, part of the commission’s charge is to also communicate back. Again, it’s not explicit oversight separate from the chain that already exists — it’s a way for people to participate in a dialogue that, I think, makes us understand that we all have a voice in how these concerns are addressed.”
Guskiewicz said this concern would be a big part of what the committee is about. Faculty At-Large member Richard Myers also brought up the concern that those who are put on the committee could really affect its success.
“I think the level of training and understanding of the people who are going to participate in it could make it good,” Myers said. “And I think with the wrong people, it’s going to be an absolute disaster.”
Joy Renner, the chairperson of the Advisory Committee, then brought conversation to the question of who will replace Leslie Parise, who announced she was stepping down as chairperson of the Faculty on March 25. Renner had to leave the meeting and left Faculty At-Large member Laurie McNeil to serve as chairperson for the rest of the proceedings.
Vin Steponaitis, secretary of the Faculty, spoke about what was done in two other instances when the chairperson could not complete the term. The committee talked about looking at former chairpeople or those who have run in the past and discussed the qualities and criteria they think should be considered.
The committee moved to a closed session in the last 15 minutes of the meeting to discuss the names of individuals for consideration for the interim chairperson of the Faculty position, Joy Renner said.