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Faculty Executive Committee statement on the resignation of Chancellor Holden Thorp

A PDF version of the statement below is available here.

The UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Executive Committee passed the following statement in emergency session, Monday, September 17, 2012.

We the members of the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Executive Committee were dismayed to learn earlier today of Holden Thorp’s decision to resign as our chancellor as of June 30, 2013. We have worked closely with Chancellor Thorp for many months as he has dealt with the unfolding academic scandal emerging from the investigation into UNC athletics, and we have found the chancellor to be thoughtful, engaged with the faculty and its elected leadership, receptive and open, and highly responsive to faculty concerns about protecting the integrity of the university’s academic mission. In particular, Chancellor Thorp without hesitation supported the efforts of our own faculty subcommittee to dig deeper into the problems that may have contributed to the academic scandal. Thus, our own experience working with Chancellor Thorp has been entirely positive.

In emergency session this afternoon, we observed that:

  • The Council of Chairs in the College of Arts and Sciences today passed a resolution supporting Chancellor Thorp and urging him to reconsider his decision to resign.
  • The Faculty Council and General Faculty, meeting on September 7, endorsed a strong resolution of support for the steps and actions Chancellor Thorp has taken in response to the revelations of recent months and the various studies and reports that have been undertaken.
  • Chancellor Thorp is a devoted, accomplished member of Carolina’s faculty who has demonstrated, time and again, his understanding of, respect for, and support of the critical role of the faculty in Carolina’s success.
  • Chancellor Thorp has been an approachable, accessible, sincere partner with faculty in our efforts to make Carolina better.
  • Chancellor Thorp has demonstrated integrity, vision, thoughtfulness, and intelligence in considering the university’s challenges and has done his best to make informed, reasoned decisions under very difficult circumstances.
  • In regularly seeking the counsel of the faculty’s elected and appointed representatives and in demonstrating that their advice makes a difference in his decision-making, Chancellor Thorp has shown himself to be a strong believer in shared governance of the university.
  • In the flurry of coverage of these tumultuous events, Chancellor Thorp’s inspiring vision for an innovative, flexible, responsive university, and his many significant accomplishments (including shepherding us through the recent financial troubles while minimizing impact on faculty and students, championing academic freedom, and making a strong case for the university’s affordability and accessibility) have been overlooked and underemphasized.

In sum, we believe that Chancellor Thorp has far exceeded expectations and stands as an example of exactly the kind of leadership that we—and all of public higher education—need at this time. We are convinced that all of his actions, including the sad announcement today, have been taken with the best interests of Carolina at heart.

On behalf of the faculty, the Faculty Executive Committee respectfully requests that Chancellor Thorp reconsider his decision to resign. We believe that, despite the difficulties of the present moment, Holden Thorp remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times. With the College’s Council of Chairs, we urge that UNC system President Ross, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, and the UNC System Board of Governors continue to provide the support the chancellor needs to remain in office.

Signed,

Members of the Faculty Executive Committee

Jan Boxill, Chair of the Faculty (Philosophy, Committee Chair)
Steven Bachenheimer (Microbiology and Immunology)
Mimi Chapman (Social Work)
Gregory Copenhaver (Biology)
Jean DeSaix (Biology)
Jo Anne Earp (School of Public Health)
Joseph S. Ferrell, Secretary of the Faculty (School of Government)
Michael Gerhardt (School of Law)
Kevin Guskiewicz (Exercise and Sports Science)
Laurie Maffly-Kipp (Religious Studies)
Timothy McMillan (African and Afro-American Studies)
Leslie Parise (Biochemistry)
Shielda Rodgers (Nursing)
Sarah Shields (History)