The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday April 13th

Faculty And Administration


Signs promoting social distancing and safety at the Die-In Protest on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 as Jennifer Standish, a UNC graduate student in the Department of History, speaks outside of South Building on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. The protest called for UNC to transition to fully remote classes for the Fall 2020 semester after a letter of caution sent to Chancellor Guskiewicz by the Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart.

UNC employees sue the University system over workplace safety

Gary Shipman, a Wilmington-based lawyer, is representing UNC System faculty and staff in the midst of preparing a class-action lawsuit to delay in-person classes. In a response to Shipman, NCDOL General Counsel Jill F. Cramer and Deputy Commissioner of Labor Kevin Beauregard acknowledged the concerns of faculty and staff members. However, they stated it is the responsibility of the UNC System to develop policies and plans that reduce the risk of exposure of contracting COVID-19 — not the department. 

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Screenshot from the virtually Faculty Committee Meeting on Friday, June 19, 2020 to discuss the Carolina Roadmap.

'This road leads to a disaster': Faculty express reopening concerns in letters

UNC faculty have expressed concerns about the University's reopening, along with student leaders and campus workers. Through a public letter published in The Charlotte Observer and a letter from Chairperson of the Faculty Mimi Chapman, faculty have expressed their fears of returning to campus and of community spread of COVID-19.  “We are willing to do our part,” Chapman wrote. “But at this point, I believe that our University and perhaps the entire UNC System is being asked to turn straw into gold.”

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Graphic of Heel Talk podcast

Heel Talk episode 12: Faculty and staff petition UNC against return to campus

In this episode, host Evely Forte spoke to DTH reporter and incoming Assistant Copy Editor Sasha Schroeder and incoming Assistant Online Editor Praveena Somasundaram to understand why many UNC faculty members, professors and teaching assistants are petitioning UNC administration about the fall 2020 semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic, what the petitioners are really demanding and how they hope the University will implement potential changes. 

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Screenshot of the Faculty Executive Meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020, where there was discussion on racial equity in the upcoming school year.

Faculty Executive Committee discusses fall semester, racial injustice at UNC

Two UNC professors presented a roadmap for racial equity that has been in development for over a year at Monday's Faculty Executive meeting.  The roadmap calls for sustained actions over the course of three years, including renaming campus buildings in an inclusive process, establishing faculty advisory groups on racial equity and holding an annual UNC Board of Trustees meeting with Black and Indigenous faculty, and faculty of color. 

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The Graduate Student Petition and a previous Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF) Meeting in Kerr Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

Graduate workers continue to petition UNC, demand not reopen in-person instruction

In a petition published June 12, graduate workers have expressed concerns about the safety and logistics of returning to campus for in-person instruction this fall. Workers demanded that UNC not reopen in-person this fall, does not layoff or furlough staff and grant them a one-year time-to-degree extension, among other demands. The University has said the Carolina Roadmap was developed with feedback from multiple parties, are working to refine the plan and will make "whatever adjustments are needed in real time.”

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DTH Photo Illustration. A student sits at a desk on March 16, 2020. UNC students and professors are preparing for online instruction.

From jazz to LFIT, UNC professors plan how they'll take their classes online next week

With the transition to online learning coming up on March 23, UNC professors are planning on how to make their classes remote. For some areas of study like music and physical fitness, this online transition presents unique challenges.  The University has extended spring break by a week to give professors time to prepare for online learning. For some professors, this means figuring out how to teach instrumental music over Zoom. For others, this means seeking help from other professors across the country. 

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A plaque to honor William Alexander Graham, Confederate States Senator among many other titles, is pictured on display in Memorial Hall on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. After the UNC System's decision to give funding and perpetual rights to Silent Sam to the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, Carolina Performing Arts released a statement on how surprised they were about the decision. Though CPA's statement recognized the plaques as a reminder of Southern history, their future is unknown.

'Distorted and false version of history': CPA responds to Silent Sam settlement

On Dec. 20, Carolina Performing Arts released a statement in response to the Sons of Confederate Veterans settlement. Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser said CPA is "appalled at the agreement entered into on our behalf by the UNC System Board of Governors."  However, CPA is also dealing with its own place in history. Its primary venue, Memorial Hall, prominently displays plaques in remembrance of founders of the University and memorializing Confederate alumni. Now, CPA recognizes its role in addressing these difficult issues through art.

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Waitlists and frustrations grow as UNC's computer science department tries to keep up

Student participation in the computer science department at UNC has skyrocketed over the last decade, but issues have emerged from the department's inability to accommodate its newfound demand. While the number of declared or intended computer science majors has increased by more than tenfold since fall 2009, the department's faculty total has risen only 8.2 percent over the same time period.  While the University recently extended a hint of incoming relief, the expectation remains that class cuts, reduced enrollment availability and other restrictive measures will make life increasingly difficult for computer science majors.

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The Old Well, a popular UNC monument, pictured on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. 

'Blistering': UNC faces fines after federal safety, crime reporting violations

Nearly seven years after its investigation began, the U.S. Department of Education stated in a final program review report that UNC acted in violation of federal laws on campus safety and crime information throughout the department's review period while demonstrating a lack of administrative capability that “remains a matter of serious concern for the department.” Clery Act expert S. Daniel Carter told The Daily Tar Heel that the University is "certainly looking at six figures" in federal fines, and he called the department's description of UNC's administrative issues “one of the most blistering I’ve read in many years."

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