To the Editor:
The Student Body Campus President’s Council called an emergency meeting on Sept. 3 to talk about UNC’s COVID-19 policies, inviting the chancellor to attend. Despite his professed commitment to "raucous and rowdy debate," he declined to engage, saying that students were looking only for publicity.
The odd thing is that the University has thrown itself into the business of publicity, employing a year-round, highly-paid staff, including the vice chancellor of communications, whose salary is $359,155. One staff member even called the student meeting a “publicity stunt.”
We fear that the purpose of PR at the moment is to blunt criticism of the anything-but-normal situation on campus.
As of Wednesday, there have been 586 cases among students and employees since August.
Before classes began, 500 instructors signed a letter asking administrators to move to remote teaching for the first four to six weeks of the semester, given the transmissibility of the delta variant. The chancellor did not reply.
Perhaps PR experts recommend insulting students and ignoring faculty.
Anyone who listens to the recording of the President’s Council meeting will find that student leaders have done their homework, something we wish administrative leaders would do.
We all have good reasons to worry. Ventilation is crucial for mitigating COVID-19 transmission, and buildings vary in their capacity. UNC’s experts have told everyone to wear masks indoors, but what about the kind of mask?