BOG considers projects

CHAPEL HILL — With three months before the 2006 General Assembly short session begins, the UNC Board of Governors is trying to decide which projects the system will submit to legislators for approval.

Recently, in a work session before the monthly board meeting, members received updates on several projects and their budgets. No decisions were made on the budget appropriations. That is expected to come in April at a board meeting in Greensboro before inauguration ceremonies for UNC’s new president, Erskine Bowles.

In all, seven funding proposals were discussed during the workshop. Some are seeking a change in budget appropriations that were approved during the budget negotiations last year.


John McWhorter Versus Affirmative Action

John McWhorter is one of the sharpest analysts of race relations in America. Born in Philadelphia in 1965 in a middle-class family, he earned a doctorate in linguistics and taught for several years at the University of California before accepting his current position as a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute. McWhorter rejects just about all of the “conventional wisdom” regarding race, especially the idea that the great obstacle to black progress is lingering racism.

When McWhorter engages a subject, he does so with relentless logic. I would bet that as a professor, he was known as one whom students couldn’t “BS.” In Winning the Race, his tenth book, McWhorter tackles a number of contentious issues revolving around the failure of many black Americans to advance and prosper despite ever-improving conditions in America. “It’s not that there is ‘something wrong with black people,’ but rather that there is something wrong with what black people learned from a new breed of white people in the 1960s,” he writes. That something is an attitude McWhorter calls “therapeutic alienation” – a preference for anger and scapegoating as opposed to the work needed for success.


UNC out of bounds with cartoon flap

It seems as though every time you turn around there is a situation at UNC-Chapel Hill involving the First Amendment. This week’s topic – a controversial cartoon printed by The Daily Tar Heel that depicted the Prophet Mohammad — led to an uproar. University officials and the UNC-Chapel Hill Muslim Student Association said that the paper was “insensitive” to publish the cartoon.

The cartoon showed Mohammad between a window through which Danish flags could be seen and another window depicting a terrorist attack, and saying “They may get me from my bad side … but they show me from my worst.” The author meant to make the point that Islam has the bad features of intolerance and violence. The Muslim Student Association stated that the cartoon offended members of the Muslim community on campus. UNC-Chapel Hill Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Jablonski said the cartoon was “hurtful” and Chancellor James Moeser said the paper should apologize.

Has the DTH really done something bad here?


Controversy surrounds DTH cartoon

CHAPEL HILL – For the second time this school year, The Daily Tar Heel, UNC-Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, is in the middle of a firestorm over content in its publication. This time the criticism comes from UNC-Chapel Hill administrators.

On Thursday, the student newspaper published a controversial cartoon of Muhammad – the founder of the Islam – showing him in between two windows. In the first window – one showing Danish flags – Muhammad is quoted as saying “They may get me from my bad side.” The second window – which shows a scene following a terrorist incident – he says “… but they show me from my worst.” Philip McFee, an UNC-Chapel Hill student, drew the cartoon.


Gasper out at Halifax CC

WELDON — Halifax Community College President Ted Gasper was fired Friday following allegations of impropriety including using college resources on political efforts, especially those of former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance of North Carolina.

Gasper had been placed on administrative leave since September while an investigative committee looked into the political allegations as well as other allegations that dealt with the way he ran the college. His personal secretary, Faye Pepper, was also placed on leave while the investigation was ongoing.


UNC Should Pay Closer Attention to the First Amendment

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote in the landmark case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) that “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.” His words were a ringing affirmation of the freedoms of conscience and expression that are central to American liberty.

Unfortunately, however, the notion that the government may not dictate what people may express or believe about controversial subjects has remained hotly contested. Those in power inevitably find it convenient to restrict expression or even dictate matters of conscience in order to ensure a more “just,” “fair,” or “orderly” society or organization.

Today, rules and regulations that restrict expression or dictate matters of conscience are often found at college or university campuses—including at the 16 schools that comprise the University of North Carolina System. As public institutions—agencies of the State of North Carolina—the universities in the UNC System are legally bound to uphold the First Amendment rights of their students and faculty. Unfortunately, they are failing miserably.


Campuses restrict free speech

RALEIGH – Most University of North Carolina campuses are “failing miserably” in upholding the First Amendment rights of students and faculty, and speech-limiting codes at 13 campuses could be overturned in court, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Thirteen University of North Carolina campuses have speech code policies that limit free speech, according to the report, the findings of which were announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

The report should serve as a warning to the UNC system that, should it be sued over the policies, it would lose in court, said Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s interim president, who co-authored the report with Samantha Harris, a FIRE program associate.


NCPA

RALEIGH — North Carolina Press Association officials said Tuesday that the organizations will not sue the University of North Carolina system for failing to comply with the state’s Open Meetings Law even though the NCPA was “deeply troubled” by the search process in September.

The notification came in a letter by Rip Woodin, president of the NCPA, to UNC Board of Governors Chairman Brad Wilson. The letter was written on behalf of the NCPA, The News and Observer of Raleigh, The Charlotte Observer, The Associated Press, and the North Carolina Broadcasters Association.


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.