Having read the June 4 account of the UNC athletics history course offered by professor Jay Smith, “History course kept off the books,” I was prompted to comment on the absence of transparency and justification in the administration’s attempt to delay the scheduling of the course.
Many years ago the American Council on Education and several other national higher-education associations issued a statement on university governance. Among other principles stated, it called for the expression of clear reasons for any objections that administrators might have for curricular decisions made by faculty.
The unwillingness of UNC administrators to offer an explanation or any comment at all about their reservations about the course in question suggests that there was an ulterior motive. One can draw the implication that the subject of Smith’s course had drawn criticism from those seeking to deny or diminish public attention toward UNC’s responsibility for the athletic-academic scandal that has unfolded over the past several years. My guess is that very few would have noticed the course, other than a handful of undergraduates, had the administration not interfered.
Samuel H. Magill
Make districts fair
Regarding “Court affirms N.C. districts as racial gerrymanders” (June 6): In back-to-back decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state’s electoral maps for both congressional and legislative districts, spotlighting once again an urgent need for a nonpartisan redistricting process.
North Carolina must abolish the practice of gerrymandering, which permits legislators to draw districts that ensure their own re-election. Under this system, legislators are choosing their voters, rather than voters choosing their representatives. Furthermore, gerrymandered districts lead to single-candidate elections, where politicians don’t compete for votes and voters have no real choice. The lack of opposition yields extremism among legislators and cynicism among voters.
Because N.C. has no citizens’ initiative process, the only recourse to correct gerrymandering is the slow, costly option of litigation.
As it has done nationwide since 1966, the League of Women Voters strongly endorses an independent commission that would draw N.C. election districts openly, using well-established, equitable guidelines. We urge state legislators to bring to the floor the fair redistricting bills that now languish in the Rules Committees.
Hearings and votes are long overdue. North Carolina deserves an independent commission that strives to produce fair, representative districts in which every vote counts.
Margaret Salinger and Janet Hoy
Co-presidents, League of Women Voters of NC