Students want more say in planning for UNC system future

Posted September 26, 2012

— Students are calling for more input in the University of North Carolina system's future, saying the panel appointed to oversee strategic planning lacks a diversity of opinions and provides no avenue for public input.

A group calling itself North Carolina Student Power Union delivered a letter Wednesday to the UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions that outlines its concerns.

The 27-member committee includes only one student, one faculty member and one employee, the group says, adding that those groups should be "meaningful participants" in planning for the 17-campus system's future.

"(The committee) is overwhelmingly made up of white men, many of whom are corporate executives and conservative politicians who have well-documented agendas of opposition to creating a robust public education system in our state," the group states in its letter.

They single out Raleigh businessman Art Pope, who bankrolls several conservative causes "that have a thinly veiled mission to dismantle public education and public services."

"We find Pope’s appointment to this committee disappointing and his qualifications for directing the future of the public higher education system in our state absent," the group states in its letter. "Some of Pope’s closest associates also serve on this advisory committee, raising very serious questions about the vision for public education in our state that this group will issue."

The group asks the panel to replace Pope and others they see as hostile to public education with members who represent students and others closely tied to UNC. They also want the panel to hold town hall-style meetings across the state to gather more public input about the future direction of the system.

"The decisions being made will have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands across the state, and for generations to come," the group states in its letter. "The committee will not be able to make decisions that best embody the hopes and needs of the people of North Carolina without developing a critical and truly open process for gaining public input."


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  • lolly Sep 26, 2012

    "Wow. How very "chic" and "60'ish" of them. Is there a smoke in associated with their town hall meeting?"

    LOL, I agree!

  • kj90 Sep 26, 2012

    Education is a priority. I love UNC. We need to spread awareness and continue to question authority.

  • jgilchr Sep 26, 2012

    Send Pope Home!

  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 26, 2012

    Isn't it funny that the very people who scream about openness and a diversity of opinions are the very first to dismiss the opinions of those they don't agree with? Silly youth, you can't have it both ways!

  • Relic Sep 26, 2012

    So you are one of the biggest philanthropists in the state of NC and because you're a conservative you OBVIOUSLY hate "edumacation" and want to "dismantle it". Wow. How very "chic" and "60'ish" of them. Is there a smoke in associated with their town hall meeting?

  • storchheim Sep 26, 2012

    If you children stopped demanding that someone else pay your student loans, you might have some credibility. As it is, you look like the spoiled ignorant children you are.

    Student "Power"? That term's older than yo mamas!

  • batcave Sep 26, 2012

    You are a student , no one cares what you think, because you don't matter yet. It is clear you have an agenda, and are worried not about policy as it stands , but the anticpation of what you see is an opposing politcal view that will jepordize the unc system , which has not even happen yet. No room for emotion when it come to spending money. Pope is smart and successful, you the student are not. Stow it.

  • JustAName Sep 26, 2012

    "The committee will not be able to make decisions that best embody the hopes and needs of the people of North Carolina without developing a critical and truly open process for gaining public input."

    Yet, they want to limit the type of input. How very open of them.

  • methinkthis Sep 26, 2012

    Large story issue: we currently expend huge amount of resources on catering to a freshman class at our universities. Yet there is a very high drop out rate. There are many factors. Some are just not prepared academically despite showing promise in high school. How did they get to the university? Some are not prepared to discipline themselves to study, manage money, manage time, etc. Some are there without any clue of why they are there, no area of interest or passion to learn. I submit that the norm should be two years of service following high school before matriculating in a university. Even then the feed to university should be through the community colleges. It is a lot cheaper to test a students ability to succeed in a community college environment vs a university setting. The current system with the high drop out rate also brands the drop out as a failure when maybe they were just premature in their entry to the system. When I was in school,it was the vets who whipped me on tests

  • methinkthis Sep 26, 2012

    Typical myopic view of the young and inexperienced. While I would agree that input from students would be helpful it should not be via a membership on the committee. What is needed on the committee is diverse very experienced in the affairs of the world people. So NCSPU thinks their input is more valuable than Art Pope's. Another case of entitled people thinking they should have a say in demanding more entitlement. That doesn't work. The students receive a huge benefit and therefore are a prejudiced group. Their input does not have the same weight as someone who has built a business and provided funding for many humanitarian activities. This prime area where we need some sanity restored in this nation. With the growing number of entitled people how can a large number of voters make a judgement about what is best for the country. We need statesmen who see beyond their own SMALL story and can evaluate on what is best for the LARGE story.