Letters to the Editor

Teachers aren’t the only ones struggling with low pay

Regarding “Teachers’ signs tell of hard times” (May 17): As a state employee, I was greatly offended by the teacher rally held in downtown Raleigh this past Wednesday. I have been a loyal state employee for 20 years and I go to work day in and day out without complaint. I work hard at a job I feel worth doing. I don’t ask for attention or praise for what I do. I just do it because it’s my calling in life to serve others.

I also don’t do it for the pay. One of the teachers’ main gripes was that they needed additional pay because some of them had to work extra jobs to put food on the table. A number of them also noted that they had to procure supplies for their students.

That situation is not unique to teachers or state employees. There are many North Carolina citizens out there that daily must decide whether they pay bills or put food on the table. They have to work two or more jobs to make ends meet. They live paycheck to paycheck. I know – I’m one of them.

A number of these citizens had to pay for child care or stay home and watch their children while the teachers took the day off to go downtown and complain about their pay. The legislature has to consider the needs of all North Carolina citizens when making appropriations for the state budget, not just teachers.

In addition, as a state employee, I’ve stood by with all the other state employees across this state for the last few years and watched as teachers have received raises above and beyond what all the other state employees have received. Apparently, this just wasn’t good enough for them.

Laura Jordan


‘Payment enough’

In response to “It’s time to look at compensating college athletes” (May 12), I have this to say: Receiving a full scholarship to play basketball or football at a Division 1 NCAA College is payment enough. To trivialize the a student athlete as merely an “athlete” is what’s wrong here, and paying these athletes is doing just that.

A college education is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and for an individual to be able to attend college for free as long as they play football or basketball is payment enough. But let’s say the NCAA does adopt a payment plan for athletes, how would it work? Do you pay the student athlete based on their performance? Or do you pay them all equally? And since the university is now paying its athletes, can you imagine the resulting upcharge in ticket prices for these already-expensive events? It’s a flawed theory.

Walker talks about the “individual” and how athletes “sign waivers giving up their publicity rights.” Believe me, as a former Collegiate athlete, there are plenty of ways an athlete keeps his or her identity. When you perform well, you are rewarded in multiple ways; including inter-squad rewards and newspaper articles.

From my standpoint, you go to college for an education. If you can play a sport, and be great at it, while getting your education, that’s icing on the cake. To use the collegiate system as a “minor” league or a stepping stone to professional sports is doing a great disservice to the university and the educational system. The “one and done” trend in NCAA basketball is ridiculous. How about they create a rule called, “stay and play?”

Ron Fazio


Academic freedom

If you want to know why university faculty have tenure, read the columns by history professor Jay Smith and the vice chancellor of communications at UNC (May 11). They disagree sharply about an important issue.

Smith can make his case in public because he has tenure. The dean, provost, and trustees cannot touch him. That is as it should be. He is defending his right to teach what he believes to be true. In institutions of quality the faculty controls the curriculum. Approval of courses and scheduling are done routinely by departments and committees. Deans and provosts have ultimate responsibility, but their intervention rarely occurs, and only for a compelling reason.

The grievance brought by Smith was on that point: intervention without cause. The faculty committee hearing the case agreed. Their finding was rejected on the ground that the dean has legal authority, which is beside the point. Removing a duly approved course without cause is a clear violation of academic freedom. Smith and his colleagues should be wished well in their efforts to restore the central role of the UNC faculty.

Lawrence Evans