Universities get “F” in intellectual diversity

A new study released by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) shows that colleges and universities are not taking an active role in improving intellectual diversity on campus. It also found that 49 percent of college students surveyed say that professors inject their political views into the classroom.

The findings are part of the report “Intellectual Diversity: Time for Action” that was released this month by ACTA and authored by Dr. Barry Latzer and Dr. Jerry Martin. In it, the authors look at the intellectual diversity climate in American higher education today. They also examine the perception students have about teachers who attempt to discuss politics in courses other than political science or government where they might be appropriate.

ACTA’s study comes just a few months after 30 institutions and organizations signed a statement on academic freedom issued by the American Council on Education. That statement indicated a commitment to principles of intellectual diversity and academic freedom should be welcomed on college campuses.

A look at UNCA’s diversity program

How do you define diversity? Let me restate that question… How do you measure diversity? Some at UNC-A are currently feeling troubled over what they see as a lack of diversity at the school. That’s why they’ve created “The New Diversity Task Force”. The student newspaper, The Banner, reports that students and faculty are questioning what can be done about this “growing problem”.

I’ve visited the campus many times myself, even given speeches a few times for one event or another. I always thought that there was a wealth of diversity at the school and on the grounds. The mere fact that I’ve been invited to speak at the university several times validates that point. So how is it that there’s such a problem at UNC-A and I somehow missed it. I turned again to The Banner article by Melissa Dean about the proclaimed diversity crisis.

Halifax Community College Audit Released

WELDON — Halifax Community College Board of Trustees approved a new contract for college President Ted Gasper in 2001 without knowledge of significant contract amendments, according to an investigative audit released Tuesday looking into allegations of misconduct by Gasper.

The audit also found evidence of more than $15,000 in questionable payments to Gasper for fringe benefits and travel, and recommended that the board of trustees seek repayment of any funds made without adequate documentation.

In addition, the audit found that Gasper leased college property without state approval and that his executive secretary deleted files from her computer after the school received notice of the audit investigation, a violation of state law.

CC Board to hear update on Halifax investigation

RALEIGH — Members of a special investigative committee looking into allegations against Halifax Community College President Ted Gasper will be given an update on the investigation’s progress during the North Carolina Community College System’s board meeting Friday.

This comes after a week of meetings at the community college surrounding the allegations, a separate investigation by the State Auditor’s office and new revelations from a former administrative assistant who worked for Gasper.

Gasper has been placed on paid leave for the past month as the state board began its investigation into multiple claims of abuse, including the elimination of academic programs without trustee or state approval. His administrative assistant, Faye Pepper, has also been placed on paid leave because of her close working relationship to Gasper. Joy Cooley is serving as the college’s president.

The High Cost and Low Productivity of Our Higher Education System: What it Means for America

I am honored by the invitation to speak to you today. The Pope Center is a very positive force in rethinking higher education in America. I am somewhat surprised, frankly, that I was invited to speak, since I am an economist, and economists suffer from two defects. First, they are deadly dull. It is usually more fun watching paint dry than listening to an economist. Indeed, it might even be preferable to have a hemorrhoid operation without an anesthetic from an unlicensed French physician to having to listen to an economist pontificate.

Bowles named UNC president

CHAPEL HILL – Former Clinton Administration Chief of Staff and two-time U.S. Senate candidate Erskine Bowles was named Monday the 16th president of the University of North Carolina system.

Bowles’ appointment will become effective Jan. 1, when he will then succeed current President Molly Broad, who announced in April her plans to retire at the end of the 2005-06 academic year or when a successor had been named. His appointment was unanimously approved during a called special session of the Board of Governors.

DTH columnist fired for controversial column

CHAPEL HILL – A UNC-Chapel Hill student was fired from The Daily Tar Heel, the school’s student newspaper, Wednesday after she wrote a column on airport security that maintained Arabs should be “stripped naked and cavity-searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport.”

Jillian Bandes, a junior from Florida, was the author of the controversial column that ran in Tuesday’s edition of the school paper. She says she was just stating her opinion on airport security in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and was never given an opportunity from The Daily Tar Heel editors to defend herself.

Better Way to Nominate BOG Members

CHAPEL HILL — Every two years, the General Assembly is charged with appointing 16 members to the UNC Board of Governors, half of the board’s 32-seat voting membership. The Board of Governors is invested with great power, and its decisions affect the state’s citizens, especially those with children in the UNC system.

State law tasks the House and Senate each to choose eight members, but it doesn’t stipulate exactly how the selections are to be made. That is left up to the rules adopted by the respective chambers. You might expect that the procedures would be fair and open, but that isn’t the case.

Recently, the process has been conducted under a veil of secrecy that does a disservice to the taxpayers who fund the UNC system to the tune of more than $2 billion annually.

NCAA Committee Issues New Warnings on Offensive Mascots

INDIANAPOLIS – A NCAA committee has issued new demands to several colleges and universities across the nation seeking justification for their continued use of offensive mascots, NCAA officials announced today. At issue is enforcement of the NCAA’s new edict against “hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery,” with which schools must abide in order to have eligibility to participate in NCAA postseason events.

The Executive Committee on Making Foolish Pronouncements During the Off-Season, reputed to be the NCAA’s busiest committee, initiated the latest spate of demands. Their purpose is to clarify and expand the NCAA’s position on offensive mascots, said committee head Giselda Knickertwist.

When is a Student from Ohio Really a North Carolinian?

In one of the strangest state budget provisions in years, if a student from Ohio (or any other state or even a foreign country) is awarded a full scholarship to attend one of the campuses of the UNC system, then that student can be officially counted as being a North Carolina resident. What is going on? Why say that a kid with a New Jersey driver’s license is a North Carolinian?

The answer is that this bit of definitional legerdemain is designed to evade the long-standing cap on out-of-state residents who may enroll in the state university system. Under state law, UNC campuses cannot enroll more than 18 percent of their students from non-residents. Since the taxpayers of the state put up most of the money to operate the UNC system, the argument goes, most of the places for students ought to be reserved for students whose parents pay taxes into the state treasury.