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UNCW Faculty Senate Will Revisit No-Confidence Vote and Censure for Chancellor Sartarelli

UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli watched, but elected not to speak, during Tuesday's Faculty Senate meeting.

The UNCW Faculty Senate met Tuesday afternoon to consider a no-confidence motion on Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli  The results after nearly three hours of debate? Quite a bit different from where faculty started.

WHQR’s Ben Schactman caught up with Katelyn Freund for the details.

Schachtman: Hi, Katelyn. How are you?

Freund: I'm good. Thanks Ben.

Schachtman: So on Tuesday, the UNCW faculty senate had a multi-hour meeting, discussing a vote of no confidence for chancellor Jose Sartarelli, but this is not the beginning of tensions. You're a graduate student at UNCW, in addition to working here at WHQR. You've been following this, where does this conflict come from?

Freund: This really dates back to over the summer. As students and faculty were posting Black Lives Matter signs around campus, those signs were going up and at a meeting Chancellor Sartarelli was asked if he would support painting “Black Lives Matter” somewhere on campus, to which he replied that would be hard for him because he believed “All Lives Matter.” And as more signs went up, UNCW released a policy on the signage that would require all signs to have pre-approval. So tensions have been ongoing ever since.

During a Zoom meeting, UNCW Faculty Senate members ultimately voted to revisit the issue, with specifics and input from the Chancellor, in March.

Schachtman: Gotcha. So now the faculty Senate, the sort of steering committee rolled out a suggestion that they do a vote of no confidence, but that's not exactly what got approved at Tuesday's meeting. How did that kind of morph during the course of the meeting?

Freund: Yeah, that's changed quite a bit actually. They ended up deciding that they would postpone that until March of 2021. And that really turned into, professors expressing a need for actionable items to be addressed. Specifically items pointed out by the Black Student Union. Among other black led campus organizations,they pointed out actionable specifics that they'd like to see the chancellor take, and those things are things that they would like an update in March of 2021.

Schachtman: So, Sartarelli's going to have to answer directly to the faculty Senate in March then?

Freund: Yes correct, but he will also answer to them a bit in December.

Schachtman: Okay. So I'm glad you brought that up because that was the other thing. After they decided to sort of postpone the vote of no confidence and the report from Sartarelli, there was another motion that had some pretty strong language. Can you tell us about that?

Freund: Yes. So after that motion went on to be postponed until March of 2021, a new motion came up and it's going to come up again in December. This motion is from Jessica Weinkle and Amy Garrett Dikkers. And it basically charges that the UNCW chancellor, Sartarelli, "egregiously failed" in his obligation to support UNCW values of diversity, community engagement, and integrity. Now that's language that is directly in this censure. It also says that chancellor Sartarelli by his conduct has "brought upon himself and fully deserves the censure and condemnation of the faculty Senate," which is really strong language.

Proposed language for a motion to censure UNCW's Chancellor.

Schachtman: Yeah. And it felt like this came from a need from many faculty members to preserve the original spirit of the no confidence vote, which was focused on Sartarelli and his leadership.

Freund: That's correct. You know, many faculty express a need for actionable items, but the spirit of this original motion was really about addressing needs of students now. And getting something passed that they could clearly show that they had addressed the needs of students.

Schachtman: So now we just keep an eye on this and see what happens in December.

Freund: That's right. We'll be following the story into December and into March.

Schachtman: All right. Well, thank you so much, Katelyn.

Freund: Thank you.