Many of my UNC-Chapel Hill colleagues have made reasoned and respectful responses to the actions of the Board of Governors’ decision to dismiss Tom Ross from his role as UNC system president. We have yet to hear a similarly reasoned explanation from the board to the most pressing questions: Why? To what end?
We encourage our students to ask “why” so that they learn. We explain as a matter of respect to those who ask in order to understand and contribute to further exploration. We teach students in the School of Medicine to engage in truth telling with their colleagues and patients as a matter of moral principle and out of respect. What we ask of the board is no more and no less.
As university faculty and residents of the state, we also reasonably expect that the board is accountable to us, as well as to those who appointed the members. None of our students would or should accept an explanation from us that did not contribute to their understanding, clarify a circumstance or lead to increased ability to be informed.
How ironic that those with the responsibility to guide us would not act in accord with these principles.
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Sue E. Estroff, Ph.D., Professor of Social Medicine, UNC-Chapel Hill, Durham