Dear Campus Community,
It has been just over a week since the presidential election, and events that have unfolded on campus since then have demonstrated that emotions are still running high.
We want to assure everyone that the values that this great university upholds have not changed since Nov. 8. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a place that promotes and protects intellectual freedom and values and respects civility in discourse.
In the past week, we have heard inspiring examples of faculty using the opportunity to have students of differing political beliefs share their views and engage in respectful dialogue on what it means to be a democracy. We also have heard a few troubling examples in which students felt uncomfortable expressing beliefs that differed from the instructor’s or fellow classmates. We take all these matters very seriously.
We aspire to be a campus of inclusive excellence—a place for our faculty, our staff and our students to succeed regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation. Academic inquiry means freedom of thought and expression, and providing an atmosphere in which uncomfortable and complex topics can be explored with mutual respect.
We want to reaffirm our commitment to the core diversity values of the university and to the University’s policy statement on nondiscrimination.
People who visit Carolina often remark on what a close-knit community we have and how special that is. Let us take pride in the vibrancy that comes from being a home for people with a wide range of ideas, beliefs and backgrounds and commit to continue to make it better.
This will not be the last contentious event that we experience in our lifetimes. Let us make Carolina the place that prepares our community for civil debate, to respect differing beliefs, to advocate effectively and to work toward the change each of us seeks in the world.
Carol L. Folt
James W. Dean, Jr.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dean and Professor, School of Education
Dean and Vaughn and Nancy Bryson Distinguished Professor, Eshelman School of Pharmacy; Director, Eshelman Institute for Innovation
Dean and Kenan Distinguished Professor, School of Social Work
Dean and Professor, School of Law
Dean and Distinguished Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
Interim Dean and Professor, School of Nursing
Dean and John Thomas Kerr Distinguished Professor, School of Media and Journalism
Dean and Cary C. Boshamer Professor, School of Information and Library Science
Dean and Professor of Biology, The Graduate School
Interim Dean, School of Dentistry
Barbara K. Rimer
Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Dean, School of Medicine; Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs; and CEO of the UNC Health Care System
Douglas A. Shackelford
Dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation, Kenan-Flagler Business School
Michael R. Smith
Dean and Professor of Public Law and Government, School of Government
Jan J. Yopp
Dean, Summer School and Walter Spearman Professor
Published November 16, 2016.