Former UNC law school Dean Gene Nichol, whose contentious two-and-a-half year tenure as president of the College of William & Mary ended in February, will return to the UNC faculty this summer.
Nichol will teach constitutional law, federal jurisdiction and election law at UNC. His wife, Glenn George ’75, will teach civil procedure and employment and labor law. “All of those are areas where we have needs,” said Dean Jack Boger ’74 (JD).
Boger said that Nichol and George are going through the normal hiring process, which includes interviews, presentations and reviews of their scholarship. He expects their positions to be finalized by July 1.
Nichol was a professor and the dean at Carolina from 1999 to 2005. His presidency at William & Mary was marked by controversy. In fall 2006, he changed the policy for displaying a two-foot-tall brass cross in Wren Chapel, the oldest building on the public university’s campus. Nichol announced that the cross would be removed during secular events to make the building more welcoming to people of all faiths. The decision drew the ire of some students, alumni and conservative commentators.
Nichol encountered more criticism when he later declined, on First Amendment grounds, to ban on-campus performances of the Sex Workers’ Art Show, which some found offensive and inappropriate. He announced his resignation in February after learning that his three-year contract would not be renewed.
Boger said he had no concerns about Nichol’s dust-ups at William & Mary. The controversy, he said, “was a result of taking a principled stand on First Amendment issues. That’s one of the things professors do. He is not coming back with his eyes on an administrative position.”
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