University Plans To Open School Focused On ‘Free Speech’ — But Faculty Aren’t Happy About It

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On Jan. 26, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill board of trustees approved the creation of a school that teaches students civil discourse and open inquiry. Faculty expressed concern that they were not informed of the vote.
The Board unanimously approved the creation of the School of Civic Life and Leadership. It has 20 faculty and degree options that undergraduate students can choose from. This will teach them how to engage in public discussion, The Carolina Journal reported.

According to The Carolina Journal: “The curriculum would be anchored at the study of core text with special attention to the foundations for the American experiment and all it comes,” David Boliek, chairman of the board, stated that “the school would create the space [and] a culture that encourages civil and open inquiry.”

However, faculty were upset that the board voted on the resolution without informing them. 

“Prior the Board of Trustees resolution the faculty did not know about the new school of Civic Life and Leadership. Mimi Chapman (chair of the university faculty) stated that approval of courses, curricula and the creation of new programs and schools, as well as the granting and approving of degrees, is up to the faculty of all accredited institutions of higher learning. “We don’t know what problem this new initiative by the BOT is trying to solve.

The Washington Post reported that Holden Thorp, a former university chancellor said that trustees had “passed an resolution that was not put on the agenda of the chancellor proposing what they don’t possess the power to do.”

Despite some concerns, the university leadership stated that the school’s creation is not political.

Kevin Guskiewicz is the university chancellor. He wrote Friday that UNCCH had “a responsibility” to be a place where people from different backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints can debate the issues of the day. He also clarified that schools and degrees are proposed by faculty, deans and the provost.

UNCCH isn’t new to teaching public discourse. According to the school’s website, its Program for Public Discourse teaches students how to “debate, deliberate” and “be better citizens and civic leaders and stewards our democracy.”

Boliek, Guskiewicz didn’t immediately respond to Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. UNCCH referenced Guskiewicz’s statement.