Sep 272012

By Jane Stancill –

CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina needs more workers with education beyond high school at a time when the population is increasingly diverse and the state has a long horizon of fiscal challenge.

That’s the landscape facing the UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions, a group of about 30 higher education, business and political leaders who began work Wednesday on a roadmap for the state’s public universities.

The group’s timeline is ambitious – a report is due in January to the UNC Board of Governors, in time to present to the next governor and legislature.

The UNC system previously undertook an intense planning effort under former President Erskine Bowles. That group, called the UNC Tomorrow commission, finished its work in 2007.

But Bowles’ successor, Tom Ross, said it’s clear that much has changed since 2007, including the deep recession and North Carolina’s slow recovery.

“It is certainly time to recalibrate for the future,” Ross said.

He suggested the committee come forth with specific educational attainment goals for North Carolina’s population. Some two dozen states have undertaken similar strategic plans.

In Virginia, for example, the state’s business, political and educational leadership have a plan to produce an additional 100,000 four-year, two-year and graduate degree earners in the next 15 years. It’s even written into law.

Oregon made news when leaders there settled on something they call the “40-40-20” plan, with the goal that by 2025, 40 percent of adults will have a four-year bachelor’s degree, 40 percent will have a two-year associate degree and 20 percent will have a high school diploma.

Such plans are ambitious, Ross acknowledged.

“Having those goals as a state is sending a message to businesses that ‘We’re going to be ready for you,’” he said. “I want us to be ready.”

A study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that by 2018, 59 percent of jobs in North Carolina would require education beyond high school.

But churning out more college grads is easier said than done. North Carolina’s fast-growing population is much more diverse, with stubborn minority and gender achievement gaps and disparities between urban and rural areas. Meanwhile, the aging of baby boomers means that the state does not have enough young, educated people to replace the retiring workers.

Growth and education

From 1990 to 2007, population growth in North Carolina was 127 percent among whites, 133 percent among blacks and 829 percent among Hispanics.

But Hispanics have the lowest educational attainment of any other minority group in North Carolina. Forty-eight percent of Latinos ages 25 to 44 don’t have high school diplomas, according to census data.

“The fastest growing population is also the least likely to get out of high school,” said Dennis Jones of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

That has to change, said Jim Johnson, a demography researcher with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

He told the panel that North Carolina must embrace its newcomer population to prosper economically. The birth rate of Hispanic women in the state is about double that of whites.

“We’re going to need them,” Johnson said. “If you can’t make them, you’ve got to import them.”

Johnson pointed out that 245 languages are spoken in North Carolina schools. Meanwhile, the state’s universities are undergoing massive turnover as baby boomer faculty retire.

“The question becomes where do you get the next generation of talent from … to make sure that the kid that walks across the stage is equipped and ready to compete in a global economy where the only constant is change and uncertainty,” he said. “That’s the new normal, folks, and we have to reinvent K-12 education to prepare kids for the new normal.”

Daunting questions

The lesson on demography came at a time when one student group this week questioned the diversity on the UNC panel itself. One student, one faculty member and one university employee serve on the committee, which is made up largely of corporate leaders and higher education administrators.

The questions on the table are daunting, said Peter Hans, chairman of the UNC board.

“We want to make sure we’re doing our part to spur the economy,” Hans said. “Are we producing enough college graduates? Do they have the right skills and knowledge? What’s the impact of demographics and workforce needs? How can we allocate our resources most effectively to address these issues?”

Stancill: 919-829-4559

via Research Triangle news | Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston, Chatham | Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary | The News & Observer.

Sep 272012

The Associated Press

Sept. 27, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. The governing body of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is holding its first regularly scheduled meeting since the school’s chancellor resigned after two years of scandals involving academics, athletics and money.

The Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet Thursday. Chancellor Holden Thorp said Sept. 17 that he would leave his post in June. Professors, students, employees and the board itself have asked Thorp to stay.

Thorp has struggled with scandals that include football players accepting gifts, no-show classes, instructors who didn’t teach and fundraisers who traveled for personal reasons using donated money.

Former Cornell University President Hunter Rawlings is scheduled to speak at the meeting on the role of a research university. Thorp asked Rawlings to examine the future relationship between academics and athletics on campus.

via Research Triangle news | Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston, Chatham | Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary | The News & Observer.

Sep 272012

By Tammy Grubb –

CHAPEL HILL -  A judge could rule in 45 days whether UNC-Chapel Hill violated the state whistleblower act in a housekeeper’s sexual harassment case.

Housekeeper Maria Isabel Prudencio-Arias is seeking unspecified damages from the university, her attorney, Al McSurely, said. They also hope to “breathe life into the whistleblower act” and push UNC-CH to examine and simplify its reporting procedures, he said.

In his closing argument Wednesday in an administrative hearing at UNC’s School of Government, McSurely said there are three central questions: What did university officials know? When did they know it? How quickly did they act?

University attorney Katherine Murphy contends the whistleblower act does not apply, because Prudencio-Arias didn’t file her complaint with the Office of Human Resources.

The university’s policy is that claims should be reported to a supervisor or administrator, preferably in the employee’s department, said Ann Penn, coordinator of UNC’s Equal Employment Opportunity Institute. The employee then can request an administrative review or file a grievance. State statutes require the university to act within 60 days of receiving a claim, McSurely said.

Prudencio-Arias filed her report with Penn, and after deliberating, sought an administrative review, Penn said. The investigation started in March 2011 and wrapped up in May 2011.

But McSurely argued the university knew about the harassment before his client reported it to Penn in March 2011. Prudencio-Arias testified the harassment started as early as 2007.

Penn’s report found that former housekeeping director Bill Burston did not sexually harass Prudencio-Arias in 2011. However, she did conclude that Burton acted inappropriately when he met with Prudencio-Arias behind closed doors and with the blinds to his office drawn. Prudencio-Arias also testified that Burston would touch and hug her when they were alone.

Murphy said Penn “did a good investigation in this case.” Even if there was some larger conspiracy to hide suspected harassment in housekeeping, Penn only knew what Prudencio-Arias told her, she said.

Prudencio-Arias testified Burston’s attitude toward her changed after she won a 2009 sexual harassment claim against former zone manager Dallas Burnette. Burston, who was Burnette’s supervisor, asked her for information about the case and criticized her work, she said. He told her not to talk with a co-worker who had advised her to tape conversations she had with Burnette.

Those tapes backed up the claims against Burnette, Penn testified. Burnette was eventually fired.

Penn said her investigation did not find that Burston, who resigned last year, was retaliating when he transferred Prudencio-Arias to address those issues. She also found that Prudencio-Arias did her job poorly at the School of Government after an injury restricted her ability to work. She was transferred to the Kenan Institute for three days and then returned to the School of Government, before being transferred to her current position in the South Campus residence halls.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

via Research Triangle news | Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston, Chatham | Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary | The News & Observer.

Sep 272012

The Associated Press


North Carolina Central University says its investigation of hazing allegations about the drum line of the school’s marching band found violations, although the group’s suspension has been lifted.

School officials said in a news release Wednesday that the suspension was lifted as of Tuesday after an investigation found that drum line members participated in activities that violated NCCU’s Code of Conduct.

Among other penalties, drum line members must attend a hazing prevention workshop and be supervised at all practice sessions, section meetings and practice facilities.

NCCU officials have said the suspension took effect Sept. 10, after some band members complained of “general hazing.”

Florida A&M University’s famed Marching 100 band was suspended following the death of a drum major who went through a hazing ritual on a bus last November.

via Research Triangle news | Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston, Chatham | Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary | The News & Observer.

Sep 272012

Ian Lee and Fatima Sbeih, two of the students pepper-sprayed at UC Davis last November, stand behind photos of the incident displayed at a news conference Wednesday. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press / September 26, 2012)


The University of California will pay $30,000 each to the 21 UC Davis protesters who were pepper-sprayed by campus police late last year.

By Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times

September 27, 2012

The University of California will pay damages of $30,000 to each of the 21 UC Davis students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed by campus police during an otherwise peaceful protest 10 months ago, the university system announced Wednesday.

The agreement, which must still be approved in federal court, also calls for UC to pay a total of $250,000 to the plaintiffs’ attorneys. It also sets aside a maximum of $100,000 to pay up to $20,000 to any other individuals who join the class-action lawsuit by proving they were either arrested or directly pepper-sprayed, a university statement said.

A video released online, showing an officer spraying seated students directly in their faces at close range during a Nov. 18 Occupy rally, triggered national outrage.

The preliminary settlement, which was approved by the UC regents in a closed-door meeting this month, will be paid through the UC’s self-insurance program, which officials said has about $600 million in reserves.

The settlement also calls for UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to write a formal apology to each of the students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed or arrested.

The plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Fatima Sbeih, 22, a plaintiff in the lawsuit who was pepper-sprayed, said the incident created a divide between students and campus police that still exists and needs to be bridged. Students gathered that day to demonstrate peacefully, yet were met with violence, Sbeih said.

“In the end, they were the ones who used force and violence against us,” she said. “They were the ones who were not peaceful.”

The settlement shows that universities can be held responsible for how they treat demonstrators, Sbeih said.

“It’s a lesson for other UCs and universities across the nation to really think critically and not make rash decisions when dealing with protesters because they will be held accountable for it,” she said.

Another protester, Ian Lee, who is entering his sophomore year at the school, said he participated in the demonstrations because of the “privatization of the university” and rising tuition costs. But the pepper spray incident “felt like the university silenced me,” he said.

David Buscho, 23, of San Rafael, said although attention has been paid to the dollar amount the UC system must pay, it’s more important for universities to learn from the incident.

Buscho, who recently graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, plans on donating the $30,000 he is likely to be awarded.

“I’m much more interested in the policy changes than the money,” he said. “It would feel wrong to have personal gain from the suit.”

A UC report, released in final form this month, urged administrators to use mediation instead of confrontation in most civil disobedience cases, although it said pepper spray might remain a necessary tool of last resort.

In April, a UC task force headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso found that UC Davis police had violated policy and that campus administrators mishandled the protest.

Lt. John Pike, the officer who sprayed protesters, no longer works for the department, a UC spokesman said.

via UC to pay damages in Davis pepper-spraying –

Sep 272012

Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

Jordan Calabro, left, and Christopher Cheleuitte, Cornell veterinary students, let loose on the dance floor at Level B, a bar in Ithaca, N.Y.

September 26, 2012

Editors’ Note Appended

IT’S hard to look cool slurping blue-hued vodka through neon-colored straws from a fishbowl, and four sorority sisters, all Cornell University seniors, have long since stopped trying.

After all, cool is irrelevant when you have arrived at a bar at the insanely early hour of just after 9 p.m. on a Wednesday, in the company of a fraternity “most of us wouldn’t go to a mixer with,” said Michelle Guida, 21, fiddling with her orange Hermès bracelet and gathering three straws to drink from simultaneously. “But it’s their bar tab,” said Vanessa Gilen, also 21, who did not look up from her iPhone as she sipped and texted furiously.

The women, in the pre-fall evening-out uniform of tiny shorts and four-inch heels, had fortified themselves for the outing with tequila shots at home. They sat in Level B, a basement bar on the southwestern edge of the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y., snapping photos of their two $18 fishbowls (each contains a half-bottle of vodka, or about 16 shots, and a plastic animal) and texting them to friends (no explanation necessary) to coax them to hurry over before the fishbowl special ended at 12:30. The bar was as dead as a strobe-lighted library until shortly after 11, when suddenly, as if the campus bell-tower chimed at a frequency only students could hear, the place was sweat-inducingly full.

To anyone who has ever been to college, it doesn’t seem like much of a problem: how to lure students to bars, the earlier in the evening the better.

But bar owners in the Collegetown neighborhood of Ithaca recently convened a worried summit about just this topic. Once upon a time, in the Pleistocene epoch before cellphones and social media, students used bars as meeting places, heading there after class to find friends and to plot evenings over beer.

These days text messaging, Facebook and Foursquare make it possible to see if a bar is worth the trip (translation: who is there) without leaving the dorm. Meanwhile, location-based mobile apps like Grindr, which point to the nearest available candidates looking for sex or not-quite-sex, are helping dethrone college bars from their place as meat markets.

Students have spent so many hours pregaming (as in, getting as cost-efficiently drunk as possible, usually on hard liquor at a private party) that there is little need to waste money even on cut-price drinks, and they often don’t arrive at the bars until midnight or so, before the bars in Ithaca close at 1 a.m.

“Students don’t need bars to create a community the way they used to,” said Stephani Robson, a senior lecturer in the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell who specializes in restaurant psychology.

And it’s not just at Ivy League Cornell, where the libraries are open later than the bars, but in college towns across America like Iowa City, where at least four bars have closed since 2011.

Bars near Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania are so peripheral to Lanie Parr’s social life that she doesn’t know what time they close. That is not because she doesn’t drink. “We sometimes pregame even the pregame,” she said.

Pregames often are single sex, with men playing beer pong or video games, and women drinking vodka sodas or a peach-flavored Champagne called André and refusing to head out until they have captured the perfect photo, which they promptly post to Instagram and Facebook.

“You could have this really amazing night, but if you didn’t get a picture, it’s like it didn’t happen,” said Ms. Parr, 22, a senior at Gettysburg, whose friends often order designer outfits from the Rent the Runway Web site because incessant documenting makes wearing anything more than twice taboo. “It’s crazy how much pictures consume our lives. Everyone knows how to pose and how to hold your arm and which way is most flattering, and everyone wants the picture taken with their phone.”

That preamble tends to delay arrival time at bars, another factor in their decline. At Cornell, three Collegetown bars have closed in the last year, including the 71-year-old Royal Palm Tavern, a storied dive where students convened at “Palms o’clock,” meaning in time for one last drink.

“These kids today won’t pay even $2 for a drink,” said the former owner, Lenny Leonardo, as he cruised down a highway in Florida, where he retired in August. “They buy a bottle of Southern Comfort and show up in time to try to get laid. But they just end up throwing up in my men’s room, and I get reprimanded because it looks like I’m the one who let them get this drunk.”

In an effort to appeal to increasingly demanding students, bars are cleaning up their sticky-as-caramel floors, installing midcentury modern furniture, and offering more hard liquor. This while struggling to keep prices low. “Students want to get drunker faster and cheaper,” said Jason Sidle, general manager of Rulloff’s Restaurant and Bar in Collegetown. In its last decade, the Royal Palm Tavern sold about twice as much hard liquor as it had in the previous one, Mr. Leonardo said.

Mike McLaughlin, 21, a senior at Cornell, said, “I drink liquor because it takes too long to drink beer.” On the drinks menu at Rulloff’s, “Bitch Fuel” (vodka, gin, rum, peach schnapps and lemon-lime soda) is a popular recent addition, but Mr. Sidle has also required all his bartenders to download mixologist apps to their phones. “We get all these requests for weird drinks we’ve never heard of because they’ve seen someone drinking it on Facebook,” he said.

After sales slumped in recent years at He’s Not Here, the oldest bar in Chapel Hill, home of the University of North Carolina, Dave Kitzmiller, the bar’s longtime owner, added murals and spruced up the restrooms. “Ours had such a bad rap, the ladies didn’t want to come because of them, and if the ladies don’t want to come you’ve got a problem,” he said, adding that they began serving $12 bottles of Champagne, which women empty into the bar’s famous 32-ounce beer cups.

Mr. Kitzmiller, who retired in March after more than 40 years as owner, said he used to order 100 cases apiece of Schlitz and Budweiser and sell them all in a weekend. (At capacity, the bar accommodates 1,000 patrons.)  Now, he said:“No one orders bottles anymore unless it’s the ladies drinking those flavored things like Smirnoff’s. It’s all draught and craft.”

Meanwhile, crackdowns on serving under-age patrons coupled with students increasingly fearful of fake identification troubles trailing them to the job market have further cut bars’ clientele. By midafternoon most days, the pleading Facebook messages start popping up on upperclassmen’s phones: “Need a handle!” (Translation: a half-gallon of liquor.)

“These freshmen, if they’ve met you once, they’ll ask,” said Ally Momo, 21, a Cornell senior. “They’d never ask you in person, but they’ll find you on Facebook.”

Cornell’s freshmen may be especially desperate, she said. The university banned them from fraternity parties after an alcohol-poisoning death in 2011. Now entry to a fraternity party requires an iPod-touch-like scanner for student IDs that flashes up the class year and prevents any card from being used more than once an evening.

But no matter where the drinking is done, the morning after is often the same. Tracy O’Hara, 21, a Cornell senior, said: “I can’t imagine what it was like before Facebook when you could just spend the morning after a big night out recovering. Now you have to spend, like, an hour untagging photos. And then you read your texts and you’re like, ‘Oh, so that’s what I did last night.’ ” (It’s job-recruiting season, which means even most students who can drink legally untag every photo, she said.)

Her friend Mr. McLaughlin (who estimated he sent 25 texts as well as an e-mail to his fraternity listserv just plotting the start of his evening) could have a lot of reading to do.

After drinking two Manhattans, a half-bottle of wine, a glass of Champagne in celebration of a friend’s job offer and almost a half- bottle of vodka, Mr. McLaughlin decided, about 11:15 p.m., to rally his friends to go to Dunbar’s for its “Group Therapy”: $6 for a pitcher of beer and a carafe of kamikaze shots of vodka, Triple Sec and lime.

But after he ordered ( though before he paid), a friend received a text about a more appealing deal: Women they wanted to hang out with had staked out a table at Rulloff’s. The group made the five-minute trek uphill, passing Pixel Lounge, an arcade-turned-bar where students often end up to dance and hook up.

“If it’s before midnight, it’s too early to go there,” said Peter Brogan, 21, who was in the male pre-fall evening uniform of shorts, a button-down shirt and flip-flops. Downstairs at Rulloff’s, the group became so involved in a drinking game called Fingers that suddenly it was 12:45 a.m., too late to go to Pixel. They texted to find out how long the line was at the hot dog truck a block away (too long), then split roughly along gender lines, the women wanting frozen yogurt and the men, Collegetown Bagels.

Mr. McLaughlin downed two bagel sandwiches and flipped back and forth between Facebook updates and texts, looking for hookup contenders. Mr. Brogan (who would like the record to reflect, especially for his parents, that he has a job after graduation) sipped a pint glass of sangria left by a previous patron and shot down prospects. “Don’t do that,” he said to Mr. McLaughlin, referring to one woman. “She likes you.”

“Come on, let’s go smoke cigars and play drunken Madden,” Mr. Brogan said, moving his thumbs to mime an Xbox controller. Mr. McLaughlin’s phone lit up and he jumped, but alas, it was only a Facebook status update.

Editors’ Note: September 27, 2012


An article on Thursday described the effect of social media use on the bar scene in several college towns, including the area around Cornell. After the article was published, questions were raised by the blog IvyGate about the identities of six Cornell students quoted in the article or shown in an accompanying photo.

None of the names provided by those students to a reporter and photographer for The Times — Michelle Guida, Vanessa Gilen, Tracy O’Hara, John Montana, David Lieberman and Ben Johnson — match listings in the Cornell student directory, and The Times has not subsequently been able to contact anyone by those names. The Times should have worked to verify the students’ identities independently before quoting or picturing them for the article.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 27, 2012

An earlier version of a picture caption with this article misspelled the surname of Christopher Cheleuitte. It is Cheleuitte, not Chelewitte.

Sep 272012



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Elmhurst Elementary School recently hosted a group of faculty members and graduate students from Hiroshima University.

The visit is a result of a partnership between East Carolina University and Hiroshima University. As part of the visit, students and faculty met with teachers to share teaching strategies.

Graduate student Mori Reika presented a lesson on Japanese money to Carol Perry’s fourth- and fifth-grade STRIDE students. The lesson explained how symbols on Japanese money reflect the cultural values of Japan. Students used prior knowledge gained from a study of money in economics last year to note similarities and differences between United States currency and that of Japan. They were also able to identify features on Japanese bills to prevent counterfeiting that are similar to those in place on U.S. bills.

Heidi Criswell’s fourth-grade class hosted Yokoi Ryouya. His lesson compared Japanese and American lifestyle and culture. American students discussed similarities and differences of homes, including number of bathrooms and type of furniture. Additional graduate students also visited and taught lessons at C.M. Eppes Middle School and Wahl-Coates Elementary during the group’s visit to ECU and Greenville.

As part of this partnership, several teachers from Pitt County Schools also have visited and taught at schools in Japan.

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via The Daily Reflector.

Sep 272012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I was surprised and disappointed at either the lack of attention or the poor editorial decision in allowing the Sept. 20 front page introduction to “Today’s Opinions” about UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp.

This introduction does not agree with the actual content of the editorial.

The editorial itself states only that Thorp spent two years investigating and answering questions regarding the scandals at UNC. This is the kind of headlines (and editorial oversight) that we would expect to see in the grocery check out lines, not in the newspaper on which the Greenville community relies for accurate and authoritative reporting of events that affect us.

Hopefully the managers and editors of the newspaper have already identified this mistake and take appropriate corrective and preventative measures.

The editorial itself was rather weak and poorly supported, but that is an issue for another day.


New Castle, Va.

via The Daily Reflector.