Message from the Provost to faculty following Hurricane Florence

We must do all we can to support these affected students and demonstrate that we are committed to their academic and personal success.

The reflection of a student in a puddle.
The Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower is reflected in a puddle following an afternoon rainstorm on May 22, 2018, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, other parts of our state and region were affected much more heavily by Hurricane Florence than Chapel Hill, and the effects are still being felt, as waters continue to rise in some places.

Although there are many ways that we can help those who are in need, one of the most important is to support students who have been affected. Some of our students went home last week to much worse situations than we experienced in Chapel Hill. We expect that most were able to return this morning or will be able to return by the end of the week. But others may require more time, and even those who have returned to campus may be preoccupied with worry about family members, their homes, and their livelihoods. The next few weeks may prove challenging for these students.

We must do all we can to support these affected students and demonstrate that we are committed to their academic and personal success. Towards this end, we are establishing a team of faculty and staff members to provide individualized care and guidance for these students. If you notice that one of your students is struggling or has not returned to class, please let this team know by completing a Care Referral Form.

I am instructing all faculty members to exercise extraordinary care and flexibility in their work with affected students. When in doubt, please err on the side of compassion and generosity, suspending penalties related to missed classes for students who have not yet been able to return. Other short-term ways to help include:

  • recording class sessions and posting the video online;
  • making other materials available online, including lecture notes and presentations; and/or
  • holding optional class meetings, study sessions, or project-completion sessions, and making those materials available online.

The Center for Faculty Excellencehas offered to assist faculty members with these and other approaches. If you need such assistance, please contact Doug James, Associate Director for Teaching and Learning Faculty Development, at doug.james@unc.edu.

If you yourself should need additional support in coping with the effects of Hurricane Florence, I hope you will contact the Employee Assistance Program 24-hour ComPsych line at 877-314-5841.

Thank you again for the role you have played in our reopening this morning, and thank you in advance for supporting our students and encouraging their success.



Robert A. Blouin
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost