Rumay Alexander at Carolina Conversation

Since 2015, Carolina Conversations has promoted the campus community’s engagement in important programming, dialogue, and debate in recognition of the rising level of discourse about race, identity, political ideology, and other issues of inclusion across the country. Topics covered have included “First Amendment Protected Speech,” “Implicit Bias & Our Lives,” “Sexual Assault & Our Community,” “Inclusive Classrooms,” and more.

During the past few years, our nation has engaged in a rising level of discourse regarding race, intellectual diversity, religion, identity and culture. These issues also speak to Carolina’s mission. You have made it clear how firmly you believe that our community must continue to champion equality for all of us, no matter our race, culture, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or political belief. We are proud of the way our students, staff, faculty and alumni have engaged with conviction around these issues. It is our deep-seated determination to see every member of our community treated fairly, and with respect; and we want to work with you to make sure conversations about such important issues take place routinely on our campus.

Carolina Conversations, which is now hosted by the University Office for Diversity & Inclusion, is a set of interconnected activities designed to help facilitate, support and encourage these critical conversations. The intent is to include all students (undergraduate, graduate and professional), and staff and faculty from all schools.

The purpose of Carolina Conversations is to acknowledge the need for more and better ways to engage the UNC community, and to facilitate robust and honest dialogue across all our differences. This spring, we are proud to expand upon the Carolina Conversations idea.

Spring 2018 Carolina Conversations will cover the following topics:

January:

“Am I My Brother’s Keeper” with Director, Ethics Education & Policy Management, Dr. Kim Strom-Gottfried

The session, which took place on Jan. 10, examined common ethical issues that emerge in the university environment, the barriers to action, and the steps all employees can take to create a safe and productive workplace. Universities are not immune to the problems revealed in the #MeToo movement. In fact, stark power differentials, professorial autonomy, and the pressure and rewards of scholarly success add complexities to the usual workplace challenges of upholding personal and organizational integrity. What can and should colleagues do to create a culture of respect, fairness and freedom from retaliation or harassment?

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March:

“Navigating Unlawful Harassment and Uncomfortable Situations in the Workplace” with EOC Director of Title IX Compliance, Adrienne Allison, and EOC Director, Brandon Washington

This session, which took place on Mar. 21, provided an inclusive and interactive dialogue about sexual harassment in the workplace. Participants explored types of conduct that could be considered harassment and how to navigate and address potential harassment. In addition, we discussed the power dynamics that often allow harassing behavior to escalate and/or persist, as well as steps that can be taken to foster an environment in which harassment is not tolerated.

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April:

“What does it Mean to be a Public University?” with Michael Smith, Dean, School of Government and Frayda Bluestein, David M. Lawrence Distinguished Professor of Public Law & Government

This session, which took place on Apr. 17, addressed how we are directly affected, whether we are student, faculty member or staff member, by working at a Carolina, a public university. Participants were asked to consider whether its meaning changes in the face of declining public financial support, where there are advantages to being a public university? Disadvantages? This Carolina Conversation explored what it means to be a public university through an engaging, participatory dialogue from a range of perspectives.

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Fall 2018:

“Talking About UNC History” with members of the UNC History Task Force