UNC Must Ensure the Safety and Well-Being of Faculty, Staff, and Students During This Pandemic

Dear University of North Carolina System Leaders:

We write to add our voices to those of many concerned UNC system faculty, staff, and students regarding the return to campus in the fall semester. The alarm that each of us has about decisions made at our UNC institutions has led us to come together to formulate these requests.

We call on the UNC system and the administration of all campuses to:

1. MOVE ONLINE: Because the COVID-19 epidemic is not yet under control and because communities surrounding our campuses are put at risk by campus activities, it is unsafe for students and instructors to return to face-to-face instruction; online or remote teaching should be the default mode on all campuses during the Fall, 2020 semester.

2. BE TRANSPARENT: Increase participation of faculty, students, and staff in decision-making and improve communication between and among administrators, faculty, students, and staff.

3. PROTECT THE HEALTH AND ECONOMIC WELL-BEING OF THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY: Routinely test individuals, implement thorough and rigorous contact tracing, and provide protective equipment to all those who must be on campus. Ensure the continued employment of campus employees. We oppose all COVID-19-related furloughs and terminations of vulnerable workers and those who are essential to the core academic mission.

Sincerely,
David Ambaras, Professor of History, North Carolina State University
Beth Bee, Associate Professor of Geography, Planning and Environment, East Carolina University
Michael Behrent, Associate Professor of History, Appalachian State University
Wendy Brenner, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Belle Boggs, Associate Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, North Carolina State University
David Brannigan, Groundskeeper, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Daniel Buffington, Associate Professor of Sociology, UNCW
Cristina R. Cabral, Associate Professor of Language and Literature, North Carolina Central University
Frederick Cubbage, Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Research Professor, Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University
Chet Dilday, Associate Professor of Social Work, Fayetteville State University
Bob Edwards, Professor of Sociology, East Carolina University
Stefanie A. Frigo, Associate Professor of Language and Literature, North Carolina Central University
Carolyn Fulford, Associate Professor of Language and Literature, North Carolina Central University
Rachelle Gold, Associate Professor of English, North Carolina Central University
Isaac Hughes Green, Graduate Teaching Assistant in Creative Writing, North Carolina State University
Hal Herzog, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Western Carolina University
Mary Jean Herzog, Professor Emeritus, School of Teaching and Learning, Western Carolina University
Katie Hogan, Professor of English and Faculty Affiliate of Women's and Gender Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Maryrica Lottman, Associate Professor of Languages and Culture Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Martha McCaughey, Professor of Sociology, Appalachian State University
Kevin R. McClure, Associate Professor of Higher Education, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Sarah K. Miles, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Joshua Nadel, Associate Professor of History, North Carolina Central University
Nicole Peterson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Michael Schwalbe, Professor of Sociology, North Carolina State University
Alan Shapiro, William Kenan Distinguished Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jay M. Smith, Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Taylor Sykes, Visiting Lecturer of English, University of North Carolina Asheville
Blair Tormey, Coastal Research Scientist, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University
Chuck Tryon, Professor of English, Fayetteville State University
Lynn Wood Mollenauer, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Jim Westerman, Professor of Management, Appalachian State University
Laura Wright, Professor of English, Chair-Elect of the Faculty, Western Carolina University
Karin Zipf, Professor of History and President of AAUP Chapter, East Carolina University

Update #22 months ago
Please note that “default to online classes” includes ensuring the protection of our international students. We are fully committed to keeping our international students safe from deportation and/or discrimination, and we can and will do so under the demands of this petition. "Default to online" allows sufficient face-to-face course options to protect international students without compromising the health of our communities.
Update #12 months ago
Thank you for signing! Your comments are wonderful & heartbreaking. We have more than 1,000 signatures. Local & national journalists are paying attention. We’ll contact campus administrators again soon, asking them for transparent plans to better protect students (including international students), staff, and faculty during this pandemic. Spiking infections & hospitalizations in NC & new evidence about viral spread indoors make it clear that our demands were justified. Please share the petition!
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