The UNC Board of Trustees discussed the June 29 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn affirmative action, as well as updates to the School of Civic Life and Leadership and the School of Data Science and Society, at its July 27 full board meeting at the Carolina Inn. The BOT also passed a non-discrimination resolution.
- Board Chair David Boliek said he believes the University was prepared for the Court's decision on affirmative action and that the BOT has begun working with the University's administration to comply with the decision while still providing equal opportunity.
- Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz also said the University will comply with the Court's decisions, including through new training and editing the application review process.
- John Preyer, one of the trustees, said the Court's decision should be a moment of humility for the University — after $35 million of spending, UNC's admissions processes were found to be in violation of the 14th Amendment.
- "You need to have a moment of, 'Why did we do that?'" Preyer said. "'Was that the right thing to do? Would have been better spending that $35 million on providing tuition at no cost or reduced cost, as opposed to trying to litigate a position that was found to be in violation of the law?'"
- Student Body President Christopher Everett, in his message to the Board, said people of all backgrounds deserve to belong at UNC, and that he hopes the members of the BOT keep UNC in reach for students. He said financial background should not be a barrier to attending the University.
- "Students across our campus deserve to feel that they belong at Carolina," Everett said. "Our University has always created servants, advocates, learners and the next generation of leaders to solve the world's greatest problems."
- Guskiewicz announced a plan earlier this month to give free tuition and fees to students whose families earn less than $80,000 starting with the incoming 2024 class.
- Graduate and Professional Student Body President Lauren Hawkinson said the graduate student government will be revising its onboarding process for incoming members to make a more inclusive experience for those who don't have experience in student government.
- She said she is hopeful the new process will create more engagement and committee involvement.
- With former GPSG Student Body President Theodore Nollert announcing his candidacy for the Chapel Hill Town Council earlier this month, Hawkinson said she is glad to see graduate students becoming more involved in local government.
- Hawkinson also said she is interested in a revision of the contracts graduate and professional students receive when beginning their work as assistants.
- "I believe there's an opportunity to improve clarity and accountability for both students and faculty regarding their research and teaching expectations, the hours committed to each of those, as well as pay and benefits that are provided," she said.
- The University has hired 15 faculty members for the new School of Data Science and Society, Guskiewicz said.
- Some of the new faculty hold joint appointments in other schools across campus, he said.
- The first seven tenure-track members of the faculty of the School of Civic Life and Leadership should be appointed from the College of Arts and Sciences in the coming weeks.
- The initial faculty group will hire an interim director and develop a hiring plan for other faculty and a permanent director.
- The Board passed a resolution of non-discrimination introduced by Board member Marty Kotis, which Board member Ralph Meekins said could cause legal problems and goes beyond the legal expanse of the Supreme Court's recent decisions.
Who is on the BOT?
- The BOT is comprised of 13 members. Eight members are selected by the UNC Board of Governors, four are appointed by the N.C. General Assembly and the UNC student body president serves as an ex-officio member.
The Board will meet again on September 27 and 28.