UNCW Faculty Senate supports vote of censure for Chancellor Sartarelli

UNCW Faculty Senate expresses disapproval of Chancellor's actions

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In a move to express disapproval of certain actions of UNCW’s Chancellor José Sartarelli, the Faculty Senate supported a vote of censure for Sartorelli at a meeting Tuesday. The vote was 51 for, 20 against.

Unlike a vote of no-confidence, which can be a precursor to the resignation or dismissal of an administrator not deemed fit to hold a position, a vote for censure expresses the faculty’s disapproval of Sartarelli’s actions.

The reasons behind the vote of censure were outlined in a statement from Nathaniel Grove, PhD, President of the Faculty Senate.

“It is the sense of the UNCW Faculty Senate that:

Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli accepted the charge to support UNCW values of Diversity, Community Engagement, and Integrity, among others. Chancellor Sartarelli has egregiously failed in this obligation, and through his actions has violated the trust of the UNCW faculty, lessened their esteem for the Office of the Chancellor, and dishonored the UNCW community.

Be it resolved that:

  1. The Chancellor initially refused to support a global social movement supporting the liberty and human rights of Black people;
  2. The Chancellor demonstrated a lack of leadership on the matter of Diversity and Inclusion prior to student and public demands to do so during the Summer 2020;
  3. The Chancellor demonstrates a lack of empathy towards faculty, student and staff concerns about racial justice, and a lack of appreciation for the role of UNCW in strengthening democratic society.

Chancellor Sartarelli by his conduct has brought upon himself and fully deserves the censure and condemnation of the Faculty Senate acting on behalf of the Faculty of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.”

Sartarelli responded to the vote of censure with this statement:

“As Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, my focus is centered on our students and advancing our mission, vision and values in partnership with all faculty and staff. Establishing a campus commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is a continual process. How we learn from and live with our history matters. I understand the urgency required and hope all of us (Chancellor, administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community) can build a better Seahawk future together.”

At their previous meeting, the Faculty Senate requested a Chancellor’s report in March 2021 about the university’s efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. I am proud of the progress we have been making over the past five years, especially since June, and shared an advanced copy of such a report (available in full at the end of this article) the first week of December. I look forward to leading UNCW as we continue to pursue this important work in the new year.”

In November, the Faculty Senate considered a vote of no-confidence in Sartarelli because of concerns over how he handled issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, but many faculty members were not willing to support that move. A vote of censure indicates a willingness by the faculty to work with the administration to make positive changes.

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