UNC faculty discuss pay inequality and changes in governance

As the university nears the end of the spring semester, its faculty members have continued to discuss important issues and issues — such as privacy, pay inequality, and governance — in recent faculty council and faculty board meetings.

Here’s a look at some of those discussions:

Faculty salary inequalities

  • On April 8, the Faculty Council passed a resolution focused on promoting gender and racial pay equity at the university.
  • The resolution, presented by Linguistics Chair Misha Becker, is a joint effort of the Committee on the Status of Women, the Faculty Welfare Committee and the Temporary Faculty Committee.
  • The resolution includes components such as regular annual reports and analysis of gender and racial pay equity on campus, the formation of a faculty pay oversight committee, and the creation of a publicly viewable dashboard that would track pay trends at UNC over time.
  • At the April 4 faculty board meeting, Becker said the pay equity resolution would require the faculty board to receive a report on campus pay equity every year, as well as a report every few years on overall pay equity trends.
    • “The point of the resolution is to codify what we see as a beneficial way forward – a range of efforts that the university could undertake which we believe, if well implemented and resourced, would be able to do so in the long term would lead to more fair wages,” said Becker at the BEV meeting.

E-mail request from the faculty

  • Faculty members discussed an investigation conducted in August at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media into emails sent by faculty members.
  • The UNC investigation solicited faculty emails regarding the 2019 $25 million fundraising agreement between the university and Walter Hussman Jr., which was revealed in a News & Observer article in July.
    • The Hussman donation agreement document outlined the payment schedule and other terms of the $25 million gift.
  • Deb Aikat, an associate professor at the journalism school, said the university is trying to find out whether a faculty member shared the agreement published in the N&O.
    • “They were conducting an investigation and as part of that investigation they had — without the faculty members’ permission — seen their emails,” Aikat said at the FEC meeting. “…And they were trying to find out how or if a faculty member had shared the agreement published in The News & Observer.”
    • Eric Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics, said he wanted to understand the university’s exact rules regarding email review.
    • Muller said the faculty have been told their emails are public but subject to certain regulations. He added that a statement from the university about who has access to faculty emails would be beneficial in addressing some of the faculty’s concerns.
    • At Friday’s faculty council meeting, the floor opened for questions to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Chris Clemens related to the investigation.
    • Ryan Thornburg, associate professor at the journalism school, asked about the justification for examining employee emails.
      • Clemens responded that the inquiry was never intended to investigate faculty or staff misconduct, but “an investigation for a specific purpose related to the security of records.”

leadership decisions

  • At the faculty council meeting, the Provost Office requested the creation of a new position in their office – first vice provost for faculty advancement and success.
    • According to Clemens, the university hopes to have this new person on by the time Executive Vice Provost Ronald P. Strauss leaves the office in June.
  • Clemens also explained any new upcoming changes in the UNC leadership.
    • The university has scheduled interviews for the director positions of the UNC American Indian Center and the Carolina Women’s Center. The process will be led by Joseph Jordan, vice provost for academic and community engagement, Clemens said.
    • Joseph is also leading the search for a replacement for his role as director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
    • The university is nearing the end of interviews for dean candidates from the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
    • UNC is also conducting interviews with candidates for the academic leadership of the new School of Data Science and Society that the university hopes to establish by the end of the year.
    • The University has formed selection committees for the positions of Dean of the UNC School of Government and Vice Chancellor of University Libraries and University Librarians.
    • Negotiations for the Deans of UNC Adams School of Dentistry and UNC School of Nursing are in the final stages. Clemens said UNC hopes to make those announcements soon.

What’s next?

The FEC will meet virtually on April 18 at 3 p.m. The faculty council will not meet again until the autumn semester.


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