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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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UNC Asheville Chancellor Kimberly Van Noort and Interim Provost Herman Holt discontinue diversity hiring program, causing faculty to respond with petition


A petition, released on April 16 by anthropology and sociology professor Blu Buchanan, along with other concerned faculty supports the continuation of the University Fellowships for Faculty Diversity program at UNCA amid faculty layoffs following budget cuts. 

“The University Fellows for Faculty Diversity program, initiated in 2020 as part of the racial justice and equity roadmap aimed to bring top scholars and educators of color in their respective fields to UNCA,” Buchanan said.

According to the petition, the goal is to show support for marginalized non-tenure track faculty and the fellows. 

“The program was part of the university’s attempt to diversify faculty and provide stronger mentorship and recruitment for students of color. It was also an attempt to wrestle with the racial segregation of our faculty, as the school only desegregated their faculty in 1981,” Buchanan said. 

The petition contains links to information pages on the Racial Justice Roadmap and the mission statement for the fellows program. 

“The program, discontinued by Interim Provost Herman Holt and Chancellor Kimberly van Noort, has brought three cohorts of new faculty to UNCA. Each was offered a “post-doc” position for a span of two years, with the option to convert those positions to tenure-track jobs under certain conditions,” Buchanan said. 

According to Buchanan’s faculty demographics chart, which depicts faculty race demographics from 2000-2024, the number of non-white faculty continues to drop, reaching the lowest diversity levels since 2000. 

“One condition of their offers was the promise of conversion “as the budget allows.” Some have been converted or left the university, but the last cohort of faculty are currently waiting to find out if their positions will be permanent. With budget cuts and austerity measures being imposed by the UNCA administration, they are particularly vulnerable to being victims of UNCA’s “reduction in force,” Buchanan said. 

Neither Van Noort or Holt released public statements regarding the petition or discontinuation of the fellows program. 

Here is the link to the petition:

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