UNC to offer anti-woke programs, faculty flabbergasted

The Board of Trustees announced the decision to create a new school and new degree pathways that remove ‘political constraints on what can be taught in university classes.’

Survey data from UNC shows that students want more diversity of thought on campus.

The Board of Trustees (BoT) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) is causing a major shake-up in its curriculum and degree offerings, generating concerns from the faculty.

The BoT voted on January 26 to develop a “School of Civic Life and Leadership” to fulfill the school’s mission of “promoting democracy and serving to benefit society,” according to the resolution.

To achieve these goals, the Board stipulates that the school must have at least 20 new faculty members and can either be absorbed into a current school within the university or may justify the creation of an entirely new school within the university.

Within hours of the BoT vote, Board Chair David Boliek and Vice Chair John Preyer provided comment to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) about the vote, convincing faculty members and pundits that the move was political rather than educational.

[RELATED: Leftist protesters attempt to shut down UNC Law speaking event]

Preyer stated that the school will hire faculty “across the ideological spectrum,” noting, “I don’t want to indoctrinate on the right anymore than I want to indoctrinate on the left.”

The ultimate objective is to remove the “political constraints on what can be taught in university classes.”

Power of university boards to enact sweeping curriculum changes has become the center of political contention as figures such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin make uprooting wokeism from the education system their top priority.

Faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill are astonished by the decision that they interpret as an overreach of the BoT’s authority, according to UNC’s newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel.

Mimi Chapman, the Chair of the Faculty, told the university paper that she is “flabbergasted” by the BoT’s breach of shared governing authority between administrators and faculty. Chapman contends that “it is not shared governance if you do not include faculty voices, and you do not include student voices.” 

The BoT’s move, however, may have grounds for support from students at UNC-Chapel Hill.

An August 2022 student survey conducted across eight UNC campuses “show[s] remarkably broad support for increasing the availability of conservative speakers across campuses.”

[RELATED: REPORT: Percentage of universities restricting free speech rose this year]

In fact, “clear majorities of students feel that there are too few opportunities for conservative engagement,” according to the survey.

The data also indicates that, although students generally feel that the faculty are even-handed when discussing political issues, “respondents are more concerned about responses from their peers” if conservative ideas are discussed on campus or in the classroom. 

Lastly, the survey indicates that students are growing increasingly entrenched in their ideological positions and are less likely to have friends outside of their political affiliation as compared to prior years, suggesting that students are hungry for the opportunity to examine ideas critically without ideological influence, a desire that the School of Civic Life and Leadership is meant to fulfill.

UNC-Chapel Hill has not yet responded to Campus Reform’s request for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.

Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.