The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Faculty Executive Committee discusses police presence on campus, gender pay gap

faculty executive committee

 Mark Porlides, a UNC graduate student in the department of history, and anti-silent sam activist, shows the faculty executive committee body cam footage of his  Dec 4, 2018 arrest while he was protesting Silent Sam at the committee's meeting on April 22, 2019. Porlides was showing the video in response to a memo written by history Professor Jay Smith regarding campus police conduct and student safety. 

The Faculty Executive Committee held a meeting on Monday to discuss the gender pay gap at UNC and a petition signed by 101 UNC faculty members concerning campus police. 

The memo on policing at UNC:

This week, Jay Smith, a professor in the Department of History, created the aforementioned petition and discussed his motivations, as well as the general consensus of the 101 signees. 

“I want to urge on all of you the need to take this very seriously and urgently with the problem of the relationship between campus police and student protestors, student anti-racist activists, who have been telling us in the faculty for many months now — in fact, virtually from the day that the Silent Sam protests began — that campus police have tended to regard the protestors as antagonists if not enemies, that they have been willing to resort to force seemingly unnecessarily and without provocation and they have engaged in seemingly unethical and even undercover tactics in order to infiltrate the student protests, while not doing the same with the white supremacists who are coming to campus to voice their views,” Smith said.

The petition calls for an investigation into the multitude of incidents which have occurred on campus such as the defacement of statues, “neo-Confederate activists” bringing firearms to UNC’s campus and the alleged "filing of false reports" against history graduate student Mark Porlides. 

Porlides was arrested by UNC police officers on Dec. 3 and charged with resisting arrest, striking an officer and attempted larceny.

“Essentially on the night of Dec. 3, I was arrested. I was approached from behind by a large group of officers in the dark; I didn't know they were coming. I was not given any verbal command that I could understand,” Porlides said. “A third charge, which I absolutely deny, I believe it was fabricated, was the attempted larceny of trying to steal a body camera from an officer. I flat out deny that.”

During the meeting, Porlides showed roughly one minute and 30 seconds of the arrest video, excluding the processing portion of the arrest which Porlides said he found disturbing, but due to meeting time restrictions, could not show. Porlides prefaced the video by explaining that he was not initially given the video by UNC Police.

“The video I’m showing you today is exculpatory evidence, and it was withheld from me by UNC Police," Porlides said. "My attorney, who did pro bono work for me, ended up subpoenaing that evidence.”

This case, as well as the March 31 defacement of the Unsung Founders Memorial by members of the Heirs to the Confederacy and the March 16 event where the same group brought firearms to campus, were just some of the reasons why Smith said he decided to create the petition.

The petition states, “In light of these events, the recent news that UNC campus police officers appear to have fabricated criminal charges against Mark Porlides, an anti-racist activist and graduate student, is simply intolerable. These facts, as they seem indisputable, require a transparent and thorough investigation.”

The petition calls for UNC administration to 

  1. “Conduct a transparent, public investigation of the above described events by an independent reviewing body empowered to ascertain the conduct of campus police and the response of all supervisors in the Office of Campus Safety and Risk Management.”
  2. “Dismiss any police officers who participated in the filing of false reports against Mark Porlides.”
  3. “Conduct an investigation into any and all connections UNC campus police may have with white supremacist organizations.”

After the creation and signing of this petition by many UNC faculty members, Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz sent out a formal notice to the UNC community stating that a commission made of a cohort of UNC-affiliated members would be created to look into campus safety. An “outside consultant” has also been tasked by the administration to look into the events pertaining to campus safety over the past weeks and months.

The Faculty Executive Committee ultimately constructed and passed a resolution surrounding the issues which states their support for the Chancellor’s actions, as well as requesting updates regarding the independent public investigation.

Gender pay gaps for UNC faculty:

Faculty representatives from Kenan-Flagler Business School and the UNC School of Medicine presented the findings from their respective studies on gender pay gaps at UNC. 

Elizabeth Dickinson, clinical associate professor at Kenan-Flagler, discussed some of the goals of the study their department conducted.

“Are there gender-based pay inequities at UNC? If so, why? What about across time?” Dickinson said. “One of our main takeaways here is that what methodological tools can we use to address the gender bias that underlies control variables.”

Dickinson said the major findings from their study included the discovery that men make on average 28 percent more than women in medical and dental schools, and closer to 20 percent more without medical and dental schools. 

“If you have a very high-paying department it tends to be male, if you have a very low-paying department it tends to be female,” said Noah Eisenkraft, professor at Kenan-Flagler. “The more women that are in a department, the less they get paid on average.”

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

The medical school representatives presented similar findings showing a gender pay gap and suggested many ways of resolving this issue.

The presentation of these findings led the Faculty Executive Committee to request that the respective departments draft their own resolutions regarding the pay gap to present to them in the future.