During its meeting on Thursday, the UNC Board of Trustees discussed the state of University facilities and the impacts of the recent Tar Heel Bus Tour through the state of North Carolina.
The meeting was opened with remarks from UNC field hockey head coach and former player Erin Matson.
“I know what we do is more powerful because we do it together,” Matson said.
- UNC Student Body President Chris Everett addressed the current state of certain UNC facilities, including the Student Union and recreational facilities. Comparing UNC recreational facilities to those of UNC Charlotte, he said University resources do not adequately support students' needs.
- “We have too large of a focus on athletics to justify these facilities for normal everyday students,” Everett said.
- He also said because UNC undergraduate student fees fall behind “every other university partner” in the UNC system, tuition and fees paired with philanthropy can be used to ensure students receive adequate resources.
- Graduate and Professional Student Government President Lauren Hawkinson cited a survey completed by UNC Campus Recreation in which she said 86% of students surveyed this fall said that they felt facilities were “too crowded”.
- “Please know that there is support from students, both resident and nonresident, to increase that cost to ensure that the quality of our education, the facilities and the health and wellbeing resources meet the standards expected of our flagship university,” Hawkinson said.
- Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz spoke about University response to the local impacts of the Israeli-Gaza conflict.
- “While we have a commitment to allow groups to express their opinions under the First Amendment, we all deserve to live and work on our campus safely without fear of being targeted by hate speech,” he said.
- Guskiewicz said UNC programs, such as the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and the Program for Public Discourse, provide resources for students to better understand the conflict.
- Chancellor Guskiewicz also highlighted the Tar Heel Bus Tour, a program in which 53 Carolina faculty members and 22 senior administrators traveled to different areas of North Carolina to “partner with and serve the people of North Carolina.”
- The tour included 21 stops across 19 counties of North Carolina and allowed faculty to examine issues across the state.
- “This is why we do the Tar Heel Bus Tour, to give our faculty an appreciation and opportunity to partner with the communities our students call home,” he said.
- Guskiewicz said $100,000 has been awarded in grants to works by alumni of the tour to address different issues across North Carolina, including the prevention of opioid deaths.
- UNC Department of Health Sciences partners with the Mountain Area Health Education Center to advance rural health across Western North Carolina. MAHEC CEO Dr. William Hathaway spoke at the meeting about the continued partnership between UNC and MAHEC.
- Founded in 1974, Hathway said MAHEC’s purpose is to provide medical resources to typically underserved communities, specifically rural communities, by advancing “the supply and distribution of physicians.” UNC’s partnership with MAHEC was explored on the Tar Heel Bus Tour as faculty members learned about community-specific issues.
- MAHEC first partnered with the UNC School of Medicine in 2009.
- “Once you’ve seen one MAHEC, you have seen exactly one MAHEC. They are located across the country and they meet the unique needs of their individual communities,” he said.
Who is on the BOT?
- The Board of Trustees 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 of Trustees will meet again on Jan. 17 and 18, 2024.