Student Support and Free Speech

Dear Colleagues,

As the world continues to grapple with news of conflict and war, many in our community are hurting. We are likely to see our students express their deep feelings over these events in a variety of ways, including demonstrations, rallies and walkouts, in the days and weeks ahead.

Please keep the following in mind as we continue through the remainder of the semester:

  • As a public institution and member of the UNC System, the University supports the free speech rights of faculty, staff and students. This includes providing a safe environment for civil discourse about competing ideas and beliefs, and the right to assemble peacefully.
  • The University has a Demonstration Activity Resource Team (DART) that serves as a point of contact for groups that want to host demonstration-related activities. This group reaches out to organizers to help understand the goals of the activity and is on site during the event to ensure the safety of participants.
    • For all demonstrations taking place on campus, there are guidelines organizations must adhere to, such as no sound amplification, to minimize any disruptions to core academic activities and campus operations.
  • Please continue to extend understanding and leniency to students who may ask for accommodations for their personal circumstances. It is always a student’s responsibility to communicate directly with you anytime they must miss class, and you should use your best judgment in allowing accommodations to make up for missed work.
  • Students engaging in free speech activity, including walkouts, that do not disrupt your class do not need to be dissuaded from that activity or reported to the University.
  • Please remember that anytime you are concerned for a student’s well-being, regardless of the circumstances, you may complete a Care and Concern Report. The appropriate offices will follow up with the student to make sure they are well and are aware of the support resources available to them.
    • A Care and Concern Report is helpful for issues such as excessive absences, inappropriate behavior, or a student expressing to you they are in need of support.
    • If you are ever concerned for your immediate safety, you should contact Police and Public Safety by dialing 704-687-2200 from your cell phone or 911 from a University phone.

Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. We are here to support you as you continue to support our students.

I appreciate your ongoing thoughtfulness and adaptability.

Jennifer Troyer Signature
Jennifer Troyer
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs