UNC Wilmington Board of Trustees member resigns, citing treatment of conservatives

Resignation highlights trend in disparate treatment, attacks on free speech in UNC System.

UNC-Wilmington Campus. Image via UNCW on Facebook.

WILMINGTON — A University of North Carolina at Wilmington Board of Trustees member has resigned and his letter reveals issues with disparate treatment of conservatives on campus.

Woody White

Board of trustees member Woody White posted an image of his letter of resignation which he submitted on Sept. 22 to North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain).

White was first appointed by Moore to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) Board of Trustees in 2018 and he was reappointed in 2019. His current term would have ended to a term ending in 2023.

In addition to posting a screenshot of his resignation letter on Facebook, White also posted the extended the text of the letter he had sent to Moore.

The letter says UNCW “punishes conservative voices by looking the other way,” and the school knows about student self-censorship but does “nothing about it.”  White also says that UNCW  “places high value on diversity, equity and inclusion” but there is “not a peep” about supporting “diversity of thought.”

While not mentioning him by name, White points out the different treatment conservative and progressive professors receive at UNCW with a reference to the well-known conservative UNCW Professor, the late Mike Adams.

“When a conservative professor fights for equality in his 1st Amendment rights and wins $700,000, he remains an outcast by an unrepentant Administration and bullied to a point where he kills himself,” wrote White. “But when a liberal professor advocates violence against conservative students, nobody says anything. Nothing happens.”

Adams prevailed in court in his protracted legal battle with UNCW. A jury found that UNCW had used Adams’ speech activities as a “motivating factor” to bar him from promotion and disregarded their own promotion rules and procedures. Adams was found dead in his Wilmington home from an apparent suicide in late July of 2020.

White also called attention to UNCW pushing to take courses back to online-only and wrote that students should object and ask for a refund.

There was a parting shot at UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli in White’s letter.

“Despite his successes in enrollment growth and student housing, his neglect of the real issues that matter in the long run is Sartarelli’s true legacy,” White wrote. “I hope he moves on as soon as possible.”

White got his wish. On Friday, Sept. 25, Sartarelli announced he plans to retire next year. In a news release, UNCW announced Sartarelli will retire effective June 30, 2022.

Read White’s full letter to Moore:

My dad graduated from UNCW in 1974 with a degree in marine biology. He was in the first class of that now renown program. As a veteran, it gave him options under the GI Bill that other schools didn’t.

We have always been proud supporters. But it used to be different place. Unique. A place that valued free expression, welcomed all points of view.

But not anymore. Like too many other American Universities, it punishes conservative voices, by looking the other way, by perpetrating the double standard. By knowing that thousands of students engage in self- censorship, but doing nothing about it.

UNCW places high value on diversity, equity and inclusion; programs, stats, and presentations on DEI are in every meeting, touting the metrics of race and gender, but not a peep about how important it is to nurture diversity of thought on college campuses.

When a conservative professor fights for equality in his 1st Amendment rights and wins $700,000, he remains an outcast by an unrepentant Administration and bullied to a point where he kills himself.

But when a liberal professor advocates violence against conservative students, nobody says anything. Nothing happens.

Despite his successes in enrollment growth and student housing, his neglect of the real issues that matter in the long run is Sartarelli’s true legacy. I hope he moves on as soon as possible.

So, I have chosen to engage elsewhere, where my efforts will matter.

Regarding the story today in the PCD about some professors opting to go online again; Students who object to these recent policies and are adversely affected, should ask for a refund.

We are becoming softer as a nation with each one of these decisions. For the sake of world history, thank God covid didn’t appear in 1939. Calling in sick would not have been a good strategy in defeating world tyranny.

Why big donors, who care about America and its future keep giving money to these universities, I can’t figure. Perhaps something can be done to change where these dollars go. Let’s see what happens.

In the meantime, I sincerely enjoyed helping so many students that sought refuge in my office, who felt unsupported and called me for help. Their voices were heard and will grow louder if I have anything to do with it.

To everyone that shares my views, share this post, and start to direct your money to other places.

It might be too late. But I’m not throwing in the towel just yet. I hope you won’t either.

When it comes to free speech in the University of North Carolina college system, a pattern of disparate treatment of students and faculty appears to be developing.

White’s resignation comes on the heels of an announcement by a North Carolina State University (NCSU) professor that he was suing the school after he was targeted by “the woke mob at NC State.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal district court by attorney Samantha Harris on behalf of Professor Stephen Porter. The complaint alleges NCSU faculty and administrators violated Porter’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. It names the NCSU chancellor and board of trustees as plaintiffs along with several faculty members.

Porter had been vocal about the prioritization of “social justice” on campuses in general and his concerns that higher education has been “abandoning rigorous methodological analysis in favor of results-driven work aimed at furthering a highly dogmatic view of “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion.”

The complaint alleges that “in retaliation for Professor Stephen Porter’s protected expressions of opinion on important societal issues, Defendants have intentionally and systematically excluded him from departmental programs and activities that are necessary for him to fulfill his job requirements, effectively hollowing his job out from the inside.”

The filing further states that the defendants “have done this in a deliberate effort to set the stage for his eventual termination.”

Similar free speech issues and a “culture of bullying” were chronicled in a letter this past March written by a coalition of students attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

About A.P. Dillon 509 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_