The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 27th

Faculty


DTH Photo Illustration. Professors are working to provide assistance to students during the current transition.

Students, professors use new methods to form connections through the computer screen

“For my Spanish class, my professor reached out to me last week because I forgot to take a quiz for that class,” said junior Jose Rodriguez Gomez. “He reached out to me to see if everything was fine and if I was doing okay and if I was facing hardships and that is why I forgot to take the quiz. After talking to him for a bit, he said that he would extend the quiz online for me.”

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(From left) Frank Baumgartner, Jennifer Ho and Sharon Holland discuss their collaborative "Intersectionality: Race, Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice" course at the Gray Squirrel coffee shop in Carrboro in 2016. Photo courtesy of Kristen Chavez, UNC College of Arts & Sciences.

Faculty of color consider leaving, cite lack of opportunities and toxic environment

UNC faculty said they have considered leaving the University for peer institutions due to a lack of leadership opportunities and a toxic environment for faculty who are people of color. “The work that we do is not valued as much as work that other faculty do,” Jennifer Ho said. Jennifer Ho was the associate director of the UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities — until she left in June 2019. “A lot of us were going to leave at a certain point because one, we couldn't get leadership positions, and two, who would want to stay in this climate?” Sharon Holland, chairperson of the Department of American Studies and ​Townsend Ludington distinguished professor, said.

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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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