Margaret O’Shaughnessey: Measures under way

March 11, 2013 

Already under way

I attended the two-hour agenda-packed meeting of the UNC Faculty Council on March 8. Your March 9 article “Debate urged after scandals” focused on one 10-minute exchange. To many in the room, Jay Smith, featured in your report as a crusader, seemed like someone emerging from hibernation. Why did he not know that every Faculty Council meeting for the past two years has focused on problems with academics and athletics?

At an August 2012 retreat, Faculty Council had precisely the “intellectual conversation” about sports and academics that Smith is now requesting. Inspired by Chancellor Holden Thorp’s insistence that we address challenging issues and thanks to Faculty Chair Jan Boxill’s superb leadership, participants then and subsequently have aired perspectives thoughtfully and productively.

Smith’s remarks and your reporting failed to acknowledge faculty committees, such as Joy Renner’s Faculty Athletics Committee, that corrected system flaws when they came to light. By featuring Smith’s criticisms of UNC’s athletic programs, you’ve missed an opportunity to catalogue the proactive measures UNC has instituted to address problems, measures that may well prove to be models in a national conversation about the role of sports in academic institutions.

Margaret O’Shaughnessey

UNC Faculty Council Delegate, Department of English and Comparative Literature

Durham

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