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WCU Faculty To Vote On Resolution For Total Online Instruction

Photo by Caitlin Penna/Western Carolina University
Students moved back onto Western Carolina's campus starting August 1. Now some faculty say they shouldn't be there.

Western Carolina Faculty Senate will vote on Monday for a resolution asking the university to be 100 percent online because of COVID-19.  Chair of Faculty Senate Kadence Otto says the emergency meeting was called in order to bring up the resolution before the semester starts – even though it won’t send students home.

“Even if the resolution passes nothing is going to change because the resolution is simply the voice of the faculty,” says Otto. The vote will take place via Zoom. 

She explains that the choice to keep the university open is a UNC system mandate for schools across the state. The resolution was written by Dr. Yancey Gulley. It also asks that each institution should be able to choose how to teach students during COVID-19 and expresses health concerns for faculty and students.

“We are simply being the voice of reason so that if, when, -  because it’s likely - we do have to go online because of COVID cases, then we can simply say, ‘We tried to warn you,’” says Otto.

Students began moving into Western Carolina University residence halls on August 1.

Other individual faculty and staff across the state are reportedly working on a class action lawsuit against the UNC system to delay the beginning of instruction.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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