UNC profs hold student grades hostage

Should instructors at UNC Chapel Hill be fired for holding students' grades hostage in pursuit of a political and social protest?

One Board of Governors members believes they should, according to the Carolina Journal:

A proposal  by the university’s Board of Trustees to rehouse Silent Sam in a $5.3  million historical center has been met with protests from students and  community activists, but a proposed strike crosses a line, UNC System  Board of Governors member Marty Kotis told Carolina Journal.

“When people start saying you have to  believe something or we’re not going to release your grades unless this  is done, they’re putting their personal agendas ahead of the students,”  Kotis said.

Kotis has called for swift action against potential strikers, including their dismissal if they indeed withhold grades.

It appears that the educators are teaming up with activists, who announced their demands online:

The revised list of demands were posted to the activists’ website Dec. 6:

  • The Board  of Trustees should withdraw the proposal to build a $5.3 million indoor  location to house Silent Sam and to create a 40-person mobile force  costing at least $2 million per year. Instead, the statue should remain  off campus and the BOG should hold listening sessions in good faith with  the community. 
  • Silent Sam should never return to the campus in any form nor shall a center to its history be built. 
  • The BOT should disclose the changes made to campus policing and withdraw the proposed security escalations. 
  • Instead of  spending money on rehousing Silent Sam and funding a mobile police  force, the university should direct money to building maintenance,  increased wages for graduate and campus workers, abolition of fees for  all graduate workers, dental insurance for graduate workers, and reduced  parking fees for all workers.

If the first demand is met, the  participating TAs and instructors would release the grades to the  university. Unless all demands are met, the group will continue to  protest during the next semester. 

On the one hand, they are holding hostage the grades of students who have nothing to do with the protest, the statue, or the activism. It's a violation of the terms of their employment, as well as a violation of the contractual terms agreed to by parents, students, and taxpayers who fund the UNC system.

On the other hand, they believe they are standing up for students who share their outrage that a statue honoring confederate soldiers exists on campus. They view the statue - and the proposal to house it in a new multi-million dollar building designed to protect it from further vandalism - as an affront to non-white people, and a symbol of white supremacy.

Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I view the Board of Governors' proposal for a new building to simply be a stall tactic until after 2020, when they hope Democrats will take back control of the NC General Assembly and can rewrite the law that restricts the ability to remove confederate statues.

Pete's Prep: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018

  • The Asheville City Council rejected another hotel proposal last night. Another developer withdrew their project from the agenda, rather than face a denial, as well. Jerry Sternberg had a good piece at Mountain Xpress, criticizing the anti-tourism sentiment that has gripped local politicians and activists. Councilwoman Julie Mayfield reiterated her belief that if Council keeps rejecting hotel projects, eventually developers will realize that they need to build affordable housing, instead.

  • But, in a presentation later in the meeting, Council was told about three projects in planning, and how the city's subsidization rate of $20,000 needs to be tripled (at least) to make the projects viable. That would mean one of the projects - with it's 500 units - would cost the city $30 million. The total city budget is about $120 million.

  • Congress needs to pass the "First Steps" prison reform, says... the President of the Heritage Foundation?

  • Come to Werl, Germany, where the streets are paved with CHOCOLATE! Well... one street. Outside a chocolate factory. Temporarily. After a massive spill. 

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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