UNC-Chapel Administration Send Letter To Staff, Congressman Chimes In

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) is in a heck of a situation that combines protests, faculty actions, and student protestors.

Reports indicate that some professors might not release students’ final grades as part of a protest for amnesty for students that were arrested on campus.

In reaction to these events, UNC-Chapel Hill’s administration, including Provost Chris Clemens and Graduate School Dean Beth Mayer-Davis, sent out a critical letter to the university’s deans and department chairs. The letter informing them of disciplinary action if they refuse to do their job.

“Dear Deans and Department Chairs, we are asking you to please work with your faculty and graduate students to ensure that we follow exemplary practice in our work as educators,” Clemens and Mayer-Davis wrote. “We strongly support the right of faculty and graduate students to express their opinions freely but there are better ways to do this than hurting our students and abrogating our contract with the people of North Carolina who support our university.”

It added, “We are hearing concerns from students whose instructors have informed them they will withhold grades as part of a protest. These students depend on the timely submission of their grades for graduation, jobs, and athletic eligibility, and it is part of the required duties of all faculty and graduate TAs to submit grades by the registrar deadlines.”

“The provost’s office will support sanctions for any instructor who is found to have improperly withheld grades, but it is our hope we can resolve this matter amicably and without harm to students,” the letter states.

The letter was prompted after several faculty members, along with teaching assistants, fellows, and graders, planned to join the protest by also withholding grades. They expressed their solidarity through a message on the school portal, stating, “In solidarity with these students, I (along with many other faculty, teaching assistants, fellows, and graders across campus) have decided to withhold my reporting of final grades to the Registrar’s Office. On May 13, if the administration has not reinstated the suspended students, you will see a NR (for Not Reported) on your transcript.”

The situation has caught the attention of political figures as well. Representative Richard Hudson, R-NC, shared his thoughts on social media, suggesting that professors involved in withholding grades should be dismissed immediately. He emphasized that the faculty’s role should be to protect students from antisemitism and violence rather than supporting those he described as bigots.

More than 700 faculty and staff at UNC-Chapel Hill have signed a petition seeking amnesty for the disciplined students. 


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