The UNC Board of Trustees approved a final resolution restating the delegation of powers across campus and heard from University officials on new partnerships with telehealth and digital therapy services for students during their full board meeting Thursday.
- University leaders reaffirmed their commitment to mental health in response to several student deaths this semester.
- “The mental health crisis affecting our community is part of a national trend, a troubling pattern that was apparent even before the challenges of these past 19-20 months,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said. “We will not solve this generational crisis quickly or easily, but we will support our students in every way possible."
- The Board heard a presentation about how UNC would improve its mental health resources from Amy Johnson, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Samantha Meltzer-Brody, chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry.
- “University counseling centers and universities are now going to be asked to do things that they never were before,” Meltzer-Brody said. “And they're not frankly equipped or built to match.”
- Johnson announced that the University has entered into a contract with Uwill, a telehealth therapy company that will provide digital therapy services to UNC students. In addition, UNC will launch the Heels Care Network, which Johnson said is designed to instill a “culture of care and compassion at Carolina.”
- The University will also hold a mental health summit on Nov. 15 to “discuss how we can come together to implement best practices and listen to the needs of our students across campus,” Meltzer-Brody said.
- The Board approved a final resolution outlining the delegation of powers among various University and system leaders.
- The resolution was drafted at a special meeting last month, after the UNC System Board of Governors asked all of its member institutions to produce a comprehensive review of how power is distributed within the institution.
- UNC System President Peter Hans approved the review last week, but encouraged the BOT to remove the new provision that gave the Board final appeal authority for admissions.
- “While I understand and appreciate your Board's desire for meaningful oversight, the Board’s proposed new role in admissions appeals is sufficiently novel to warrant further study and discussion," Hans wrote.
- The provision was not included in the final resolution that the BOG approved.
- At last month’s meeting, BOT Chairperson David Boliek proposed a change to the delegation of powers that would give the Board the authority to approve any Tier II appointments, which include associate vice chancellors, assistant vice chancellors, associate deans and assistant deans. This authority was previously given to the University chancellor or a delegate of the chancellor.
- The resolution approved on Thursday affirms that the authority of Tier II appointments “is delegated by the Board of Governors to the chancellors and the respective Boards of Trustees of the constituent institutions.”
- Trustee Marty Kotis III proposed a motion at the end of the meeting regarding discrimination in the admissions process.
- “The University shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to an individual, group or company on the basis of race, sex, color or ethnicity,” the resolution read.
- Kotis said the motion was meant to assure that the University did not admit people to the school based on their race or other aspects of their identity. He expressed concern that admission standards would be lowered in the pursuit of creating a more diverse campus.
- “It’s my understanding that this incoming class has some of the highest — maybe the highest — academic achievement from a performance standpoint, and yet is extremely diverse,” Trustee Teresa Artis Neal said. “So I’m concerned with the notion that diversity brings a lowering of standards, and I think our admissions policy is fair and I think this motion is unnecessary.”
- The motion failed, with only two trustees — Kotis and Allie Ray McCullen — voting in favor.
- The BOG will meet again from Jan. 26 to Jan. 27.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the operating hours of Uwill, a telehealth therapy company that will provide digital therapy services to UNC students. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
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