After trying to ensure police accountability and improve campus-community relationships with law enforcement, the UNC Campus Safety Commission has dissolved. However, this should come as no surprise, as the commission was given virtually no authority to make decisions or directly influence campus leadership.
The University took the commission’s time and energy, using them as a public relations stunt to provide the facade that they were doing something positive, in the eyes of many commission members.
Frank Baumgartner, one of the commission's chairpersons, and other members of the commission wrote a letter to the chancellor where they expressed their sentiment that the work of the commission was not valued.
“These actions have undermined our efforts to build trust. Actions speak larger than words,” the letter said. “We have played virtually no role in the most significant threat to campus safety in a generation: University response to the Covid pandemic.”
Commission members told the Daily Tar Heel they felt used and unheard. It is inexplicable for the chancellor to create these committees and then ignore their advice.
This isn’t the first time administration has inadequately addressed the concerns raised by the committees they themselves created. In August, faculty chairperson Mimi Chapman expressed frustration to the chancellor that she was “in the dark” about the University’s COVID-19 plans for the fall semester. Chapman is a member of the Campus and Community Advisory Committee (CCAC), which was established by the chancellor to reflect on the Fall 2020 Roadmap.
“My own standing meetings with Kevin (Guskiewicz) have been rescheduled multiple times making me wonder whether the lack of communication is deliberate,” Chapman wrote in emails obtained by N.C. Policy Watch.
Chapman went on to explain her frustrations with the toxic positivity promoted by the administration, something the DTH's Editorial Board also views as problematic rhetoric.
UNC administration created these committees and solicited recommendations from both the CCAC and Campus Safety Commission, only to ignore their advice and leave them in the dark. When these well-intended groups aren’t given any teeth, their recommendations and concerns remain unaddressed by those with the real power.