Town Hall meeting hears thoughts on search for UNC president

CHAPEL HILL – A town hall meeting Thursday afternoon at UNC-Chapel Hill provided a short glimpse into the mindset of a search committee commissioned to find a new president for the UNC system. The current president, Molly C. Broad, announced her retirement last month, effective at the end of the 2005-06 academic year.

During the one hour meeting, several people spoke about their desires for a new president – a strong leader who knows North Carolina was the most prominent of the wishes – and what they would like to see the committee do. At the end of the meeting, the only thing guaranteed was that the committee would be very deliberate in the coming weeks and months in selecting Molly Broad’s successor.


Women’s groups against Title IX changes

CHAPEL HILL — A group of female college administrators has begun a grassroots effort to overturn a recent Title IX clarification that makes it easier for college and universities to comply with Title IX regulations regarding athletics.

According to NCAA News, the National Association of Collegiate Women’s Athletics Administrators has sent an email to its members asking them to contact their congressmen and other political leaders to get the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights decision overturned. The Women’s Sports Foundation is also joining in the effort.


Kirsanow Assails Affirmative Action in Academia

For decades, higher education institutions have utilized racial preferences and quota programs, euphemistically called “affirmative action” in their admission policies. At least one member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights would like to see that practice come to an end.

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who was appointed by President Bush, spoke to students Tuesday at UNC-Chapel Hill where he focused on ending the victim grievance model of civil rights. He also argued that the focus on civil rights activism should be on looking towards the future rather than to the past. In an interview prior to his speech, Kirsanow explained that higher education is focused too much on racial policies that were effective in the 1960s, but are now unnecessary and even counterproductive.


Does North Carolina Need an Optometry School?

“No one spends other people’s money as carefully as he spends his own.” So says Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. Let’s keep that in mind as we consider a new spending proposal being pushed by one of the schools in the UNC system.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNC-P) has advanced a plan to build a new school of optometry at the geographically remote campus. The budget contains $10 million for the initial planning and development of the project, but no funds can be expended until the UNC president’s office gives approval. A meeting to decide on the plan is scheduled for later this month.


Clarification eases Title IX requirements

A recently released clarification by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights makes it easier for college and universities to comply with Title IX regulations regarding athletics.

The March 17 clarification, signed by Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights James F. Manning, specifically deals with the “fully and effectively” test, the third of three prongs to determine if a school is in compliance with the 1972 regulation that bans discrimination on the basis of sex from institutions that receive federal funding. The clarification was published on the Office of Civil Right’s Web site.


Show Us the Money

RALEIGH – University, community college, and state budget office officials have spent part of the week lobbying state legislators for more funding for higher education, while arguing against proposed line-item budget cuts.

University of North Carolina President Molly Broad, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser, and North Carolina A&T Chancellor James Renick have been among those making presentations to members of the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. The presentations, including those made by representatives from the community college system, focused on the theme of making college more affordable while increasing funding for university and community colleges needs.


Fraternity close to gaining recognition

CHAPEL HILL — Members of a Christian fraternity are one step closer to gaining official recognition from UNC-Chapel Hill after a federal court hearing Wednesday that led to a possible out-of-court settlement.

Federal Judge Frank W. Bullock Jr. set a deadline Feb. 28 for UNC-Chapel Hill and Alpha Iota Omega to reach an agreement on how to change the university’s nondiscrimination policy to include the Christian group. Bullock’s deadline is based on a lawsuit filed Aug. 25 after AIO was denied funding by the school because members refused to sign a nondiscrimination policy. It had wanted to limit membership to Christians.



Speeches offer Bush Higher Education Plan

CHAPEL HILL — Though most of the State of the Union address Feb. 2 dealt with reforms to Social Security and spreading freedom throughout the world, President Bush also focused attention on his higher-education goals.

During his fifth State of the Union address, Bush advocated increasing Pell Grant funding as well as providing more funding for workforce training initiatives for community colleges. Both proposals were ways, Bush said, “to make our economy stronger and more dynamic.”


Despite the landmark Supreme Court ruling, race preferences continue to roil

RALEIGH — In June 2003, the Supreme Court heard two cases concerning racial preferences in Michigan higher education, Gratz v. Bollinger (on preferences used by the University of Michigan) and Grutter v. Bollinger (on preferences used by its Law School). The Court ruling against outright racial preferences in admissions while ruling in favor of considering race in admissions so long as it is used as only one of “pertinent elements of diversity.”