UNC Chapel Hill professors react to Harvard president Claudine Gay's resignation

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Wednesday, January 3, 2024
UNC professors weigh in on Harvard President stepping down
Professors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sit with ABC11 to examine the fallout for the entire world of academia following Harvard University's President Claudine Gay's resignation.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dr. Deborah Stroman thought Harvard President Claudine Gay would survive the fallout since the war started in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, she was proven wrong.

"Leadership is lonely and then when you're there and by yourself," said Stroman, a woman of color herself at UNC's Gillings School of Public Health. "When you have a Ph.D. and you are a senior leader at a university, there's little room for small mistakes in public."

She is also a racial equity trainer.

"There's a saying in the Black community that your ice has to be colder," she said. "Just the sense that wherever we show up in spaces as leaders, we have to be two to three times better. How do you inspire people to want to go into higher ed, to be administrators too when you see this time and time again."

Just like Dr Stroman, Theodore Shaw has been watching the news from Harvard closely. He's the Director of the Center for Civil Rights at UNC's Law School.

"It's not a day that I feel good about," he said. "But I haven't felt good about where we are as a country and indeed where the world has been for a long time."

Shaw has had to face questions of racism over his long career as a lawyer too and is all too aware of the issues where he teaches now.

"UNC has had its own history that has reached into the present with respect to issues of race--going back to slavery and its legacy: Silent Sam for one," he said. "I'm not sanguine about where we are but I also don't believe we can give up. We have to believe in our institutions and the ability to get through these challenging times and save our democracy."