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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC faculty talks salary inequities, administrative leadership changes


UNC's School of Journalism and Media bears the name of Walter Hussman, a top donor, who opposed Nikole Hannah-Jones' bid for tenure.

As the University approaches the end of the spring semester, its faculty members have continued to discuss key topics and issues — such as privacy, salary inequity and leadership structure — in recent Faculty Council and Faculty Executive Committee meetings.

Here's a look at some of these discussions:

Faculty salary inequities

  • On April 8, the Faculty Council adopted a resolution that focuses on furthering gender and racial salary equity at the University.
  • The resolution, presented by Department of Linguistics Chairperson Misha Becker, is a combined effort of the Committee on the Status of Women, the Faculty Welfare Committee and the Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty.
  • The resolution includes components such as regular annual reports and analysis of gender and racial salary equity on campus, the formation of a faculty salary oversight committee and the creation of a publicly viewable dashboard that would track trends in salary at UNC over time.
  • At the April 4 Faculty Executive Committee meeting, Becker said that the salary equity resolution would require that the Faculty Council receive a report summarizing salary equity on campus each year, as well as a report summarizing the overall trends in salary equity every couple years.
    • “The point of the resolution is to codify what we see as a beneficial way forward — a series of endeavors that the University could undertake that we believe if they are well implemented and resourced, would, over the long-term, have the ability to bring about greater salary equity,” Becker said at the FEC meeting.

Faculty email inquiry

  • Members of the faculty discussed an inquiry made into several faculty members' emails at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media in August.
  • The UNC inquiry requested faculty emails in reference to the $25 million donor agreement between the University and Walter Hussman Jr. from 2019, which was made public in a News & Observer article in July.
    • The Hussman donor agreement document outlined the payment schedule and other terms for the $25 million gift.
  • Deb Aikat, an associate professor in the journalism school, said the University was trying to figure out if a faculty member had shared the agreement that was published in the N&O.
    • “They conducted an inquiry, and as part of that inquiry, they had looked — without faculty members’ permission — their emails,” Aikat said at the FEC meeting. "... And they were trying to find out how or if any faculty member had shared the agreement that published in The News & Observer."
    • Eric Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics, said he wants to understand the exact University rules surrounding reviewing emails.
    • Muller said faculty have been told their emails are public, but were subject to certain regulations. He added that a statement from the University about who has access to faculty emails would be beneficial to address some faculty concerns.
    • At the Faculty Council meeting on Friday, the floor was opened for questions to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Chris Clemens surrounding the inquiry.
    • Ryan Thornburg, an associate professor in the journalism school, asked about the justification for the inquiry into employee emails.
      • Clemens responded that the inquiry was never meant to investigate faculty or staff misconduct, but rather was “an investigation for a particular purpose having to do with records security.”

Leadership decisions

  • At the Faculty Council meeting, the provost's office requested the creation of a new position in their office — the first vice provost for faculty advancement and success.
    • According to Clemens, the University hopes to have this new person in place by the time Executive Vice Provost Ronald P. Strauss departs from the office in June.
  • Clemens also detailed all of the new upcoming UNC leadership changes.
    • The University has candidate interviews planned for the director positions at the UNC American Indian Center and the Carolina Women's Center. The process is led by Joseph Jordan, vice provost for academic and community engagement, Clemens said.
    • Joseph is also leading the search for a replacement for his role as the director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. 
    • The University is nearing the end of interviews for dean candidates for the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
    • UNC is also conducting interviews with candidates for the academic lead of the new School of Data Science and Society, which the University hopes to establish by the end of the year.
    • The University has formed search committees for the UNC School of Government dean and the vice provost of University Libraries and University librarian positions.
    • Negotiations for the deans of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and UNC School of Nursing are in their final stages. Clemens said UNC hopes to make those announcements soon.

What's next?

The FEC will meet again virtually on April 18 at 3 p.m. The Faculty Council will not meet again until the fall semester.


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