Southwest Wake: Opinion

State Rep. Paul Stam: State supports UNC system well

Well-supported UNC

Regarding the Nov. 16 News & Observer Point of View “ Time for UNC leaders to get real on cuts”: Sometimes we get what we ask for. The Point of View might have an effect the writers did not intend.

It was authored by Robert Seigel, an associate professor at East Carolina University, and endorsed by other professors. They say they speak as private citizens and not for that great university.

What they are asking for is greater scrutiny of funding for the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina. They propose outrage, demonstration, much pressure and civil disobedience.

The General Assembly does not set salaries for university professors. Instead, it appropriates a lump sum to the Board of Governors with very little strings attached.

The writers probably do not know that North Carolina is fourth in the nation in its state support for higher education at $13,480 per student per year. This does not include the cost of the buildings or grounds. First- and second-place states are Alaska and Wyoming, which are funded by huge deposits of oil and coal. The people of the third-place state, Connecticut, are rich.

If these professors bring this up to public scrutiny, they may get taxpayers wondering why a state that is 36th in per capita personal income is supporting the 16 UNC campuses 32 places ahead of its own wealth.

Personally, I am glad we do. But it is nothing to complain about.

State Rep. Paul Stam


The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 37.