College Secretly Records Lectures, Scolds Instructor

UNC at Chapel Hill is being called out by economics professor Larry Chavis
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2024 12:59 PM CDT
Updated May 25, 2024 5:05 PM CDT
College Secretly Records Lectures, Scolds Instructor
Stock photo.   (Getty/Marin Herold)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sent out a letter of reprimand to one of its economics professors, and the ensuing controversy has taken an unexpected turn. It seems the university secretly recorded several lectures given by Larry Chavis—unapologetically. "Notice is not required to record classes," reads the letter from associate dean Christian T. Lundblad to Chavis, reports Inside Higher Ed. However, that seems to contradict the business school's own stated policy: "Individual classes are only recorded with the expressed permission of faculty," it reads, per the Assembly.

School officials involved aren't commenting. A UNC media relations rep, however, tells ABC11 that the university as a whole doesn't have a formal policy on the recording of classes "but follows applicable laws." Chavis, who has taught at the school for 18 years, sees it as an alarming example of Orwellian oversight. "I've never seen anything like it," he tells Inside Higher Ed of the secret recordings. "Certainly not here or anywhere else." The controversy also has other faculty members alarmed at the possibility they're being secretly recorded, and reps plan to raise the issue with the administration.

As for Chavis' alleged misdeeds, they're not spelled out, save for the letter's admonition that the university has "received some reports concerning class content and conduct within your class over the past few months." Some background on him: Chavis is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and has been outspoken in his belief that the university's business school needs more diversity. He also has drawn attention for speaking out against the use of Native sports mascots, and he has alleged that he has been denied advancement opportunities and is underpaid relative to other business professors. (More UNC Chapel Hill stories.)

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