Under the Dome

Dome: UNC faculty want to provide input for future direction

From staff reportsSeptember 29, 2012 

University students aren’t the only ones feeling a little left out of the planning for the UNC system’s future strategy.

The UNC Faculty Assembly, a systemwide group of faculty representatives, passed a resolution asking for greater input to the UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions, a group of about 30 higher education, corporate and political leaders who are mapping out future directions of the public universities. The group has one faculty member, one student and one staff representative on the panel, which had its first meeting earlier this month.

The faculty want UNC President Tom Ross to create a faculty group “to interact and collaborate” with the strategic directions committee.

Catherine Rigsby, East Carolina University professor and chairwoman of the Faculty Assembly, said both Ross and Board of Governors Chairman Peter Hans have been receptive to the faculty’s wishes. In an email, she said she’s working with them to figure out a way to make that happen in the committee’s compressed schedule. The panel is expected to complete its work in January.

More faculty voices are vital, said Rigsby, who is the lone faculty member on the committee.

“Faculty are the disciplinary experts in our system, have the primary responsibility for curriculum development and delivery, and will be responsible for implementing any academic changes that come about from the strategic planning process,” she wrote. “Obviously, any decisions made in this process will greatly affect the work and work lives of the faculty. In order for academic changes to be implemented efficiently and effectively, faculty input from the beginning of the process and faculty buy-in to the final recommendations are essential.”

Students have been outspoken about what they say is a lack of student representation on the committee. The students complain the panel doesn’t have enough racial and socio-economic diversity and is stacked with business people and politicians.

Fundraiser is first LGBT event for N.C. gubernatorial hopeful

North Carolina furniture company owners Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams are hosting a fundraiser for Democratic candidate for governor Walter Dalton in High Point on Sunday aimed at donors in the gay community.

The invitation bills the gathering as “the first time our state has ever had an LGBT event for a candidate for Governor.” The minimum contribution is $250.

Dalton, the lieutenant governor, made a video opposing the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. The amendment passed by a wide margin on May 8.

Dalton said during a primary debate that he would support a law recognizing civil unions, even though he once sponsored a bill to constitutionally ban gay marriage.

“Not long ago, few politicians would want to risk being so public in support of LGBT people’s dignity and equality in our state,” said the invitation.

Jill Biden to attend Durham campaign event on Sunday

Jill Biden, wife of vice president Joe Biden, will attend a campaign event in Durham on Sunday, according to the White House.

Details were not immediately available. The vice president plans to campaign in Asheville and Charlotte on Tuesday.

The stepped-up activity comes as four consecutive independent polls show the Obama-Biden ticket taking a small lead over the Romney ticket.

Ad accuses Dalton of backing tax hike he says he’s against

A new ad by the Republican Governors Association hit the airwaves in North Carolina on Friday, criticizing Dalton for pushing a 15 percent sales tax increase – which Dalton isn’t actually pushing.

Dalton has promised not to raise the sales tax during his first two years as governor. He did support Gov. Bev Perdue’s proposal for a three-quarters of a cent sales tax hike.

The ad also claims a 15 percent sales tax hike would cost 8,000 jobs, a claim that has been previously discredited.

Dalton spokesman Schorr Johnson said in response: “The RGA is doubling down on attacks that are outright lies previously found inaccurate by the press to try to distract from Pat McCrory’s plan that could raise the sales tax to 13.88 – a 192 percent increase.”

From the RGA:

“Again and again, Walter Dalton has supported raising taxes during his political career, and his high-tax approach is costing North Carolina jobs,” RGA communications director Mike Schrimpf said in a news release. “Under Dalton’s leadership, North Carolina has the worst business tax climate in the South and the highest unemployment in the region.”

Is everything clear now?

Staff writers Jane Stancill, Lynn Bonner, Rob Christensen and Craig Jarvis

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