Dear Carolina Community:
In the days since Mr. Wainstein’s report was released, I have seen and experienced many acts of character on our campus and beyond – from quiet moments of reflection to public discussions. I’ve been proud of how we have come together to consider the report’s impact on and the experiences of our students and student-athletes, AAAD faculty and alumni, and our community more broadly. The campus rally for AAAD, the student-led town hall and the Faculty Council meeting, for example, were all important steps in processing the findings of the report.
In addition to feelings of disappointment, embarrassment and grief, many have said they are grateful that we have done our best to get to the bottom of this. They have told me they are ready to face the future with even greater purpose.
I write to you today to thank you for your support as well as your constructive criticism. While our community may not always agree on everything, I know differing opinions are rooted in a shared goal: making our University better. I want to reaffirm my commitment – and that of our entire leadership team – to continue to learn from this and work with you to make additional changes as the Carolina community looks ahead with focus and purpose.
This is a very significant chapter in our history, but we won’t let it define us. As Carolina moves forward, continuing to implement the many reforms already in place and identifying new actions to take, we will increase our efforts to support the daily mission of our University and focus on the experiences and success of our students, faculty and staff.
In the coming weeks and months, we will provide additional updates on actions and reforms. However, our future – the future of the tens of thousands who work and study here, our local community who depends on us, and the millions of citizens of our state who expect much of Carolina – will be, as it must be, our primary focus.
The important work of this University has indeed continued unabated. Just in the past few weeks:
• We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Carolina Covenant, a program that has had an incredible impact by offering a debt-free college education to students who applied to Carolina believing their families may never be able to afford it.
• CNN iReport posted a story about Jeff Powell, a UNC-Chapel Hill biomedical engineering student who is using 3D printers at Carolina to print prosthetic hands for children. The story has gone viral through social media.
• Dr. Bryan L. Roth, the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Protein Therapeutics and Translational Proteomics in the Department of Pharmacology, and Dr. Joseph DeSimone, the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry, were elected to the Institute of Medicine. This is the third time Dr. DeSimone has been named a member of a U.S. national academy, an extraordinary and rare accomplishment.
• UNC’s drug-discovery center received a $3 million gift to support the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and the UNC School of Social Work was awarded $2.2 million in federal grants to train students to work in primary care settings and to prepare students for leadership roles in public health social work.
Looking ahead, throughout November we’ll continue to recognize Native American Heritage Month with events across campus. On Tuesday, November 11, we’ll also honor the many students and alumni who have served or are currently serving in our nation’s military.
I am prouder than ever to be a Tar Heel. I hope you are, too.
Carol L. Folt