Mar 282013


By Ronnie Woodward

Thursday, March 28, 2013

East Carolina is set to become a full member of the soon-to-be-renamed Big East.

The Pirates accepted an all-sports invitation from the conference on Wednesday, and will begin play in the league in 2014.

East Carolina, now a Conference USA member, previously had accepted a football-only invite from the league.

“ECU is a valuable addition to our conference,” Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a release Wednesday. “(It has) forward-looking leadership under Chancellor Steve Ballard and an outstanding and well-rounded athletic program. … East Carolina being made an all-sports member is another important step in strengthening our conference.”

Aresco also lauded the success of the Pirates’ men’s and women’s basketball programs this season. The men are 21-12 and in the semifinals of the Tournament, and the women had their best-ever showing in Conference USA with a second-place finish.

ECU will leave C-USA on July 1, 2014.

“East Carolina University is delighted to play all sports in this conference,” Ballard said.

“We appreciate the leadership of Mike Aresco and (Big East executive committee chair) Judy Genshaft, and we look forward to working with each university.,” Ballard said.

The release said that in 2014, the conference will consist of East Carolina, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist, South Florida, Temple and Tulane.

ESPN reported Tuesday that Conference USA member Tulsa also is expected to join the league.

Navy will become a football-only member in 2015.

Big East members Rutgers and Louisville are leaving in 2014 for the Big Ten and ACC, respectively.

The Big East’s seven basketball-only schools — the Catholic Seven — are leaving on June 30 to form their own league and will keep the Big East name.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at, 252-329-9592 or follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

via The Daily Reflector.

Mar 292013




Friday, March 29, 2013

The weather has not been indicative of the fact that the collegiate school year is drawing to a close. Even so, classes for East Carolina University students will have their last day in one month, and the school’s Undergraduate Exhibition has on display some of the best of its students’ artwork for the year.

The annual exhibition began March 7 and can be viewed at the Wellington B. Gray Gallery on campus through April 6. This year’s exhibition was judged by artist and former ECU student Catherine Coulter Lloyd, who serves as the visual arts specialist at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center in Rocky Mount.

Area coordinators who are members of the faculty at ECU, chose the pieces for the show that are either what they believe to be best of their students’ work “or to reflect what’s currently going on in their studio,” said Tom Braswell, who is the interim director of the Gray Gallery.

The 48 awards given were sponsored by the school’s guilds and art galleries in Greenville.

Don’t overlook the seemingly unrelated posters, advertisements and magazine articles on the back wall of the gallery. A closer examination of the beer bottles grouped together at the far end of the room reveals they are not part of some abstract installation as one might expect, but rather the labeling of the bottles is the work itself. All of these are examples of the graphic design contribution to the exhibition which could easily have been mistaken to have come out of the pages of Time magazine or off of the beer shelf at Harris Teeter.

“There’s a lot of very nice work in the exhibition, as always,” Braswell said. “It’s always interesting to see what comes in through the door. Some years, one area will have more work and the next year it will have less. There’s an ebb and a flow and change from year to year.”

This year, Braswell said that there was more graphic design work and more work in the show overall than any other year in his five-year tenure, but there was slightly less sculpture, ceramics, photography and woodwork. There was also a new film category this year, called camp, in which Brian Korff won the only award given for his film “Artist Insight: Kenny Hamby.”

Other categories include animation, illustration, photography, fabric design, weaving, printmaking, sculpture, metal design, painting and drawing and foundation.

“The sheer amount of work doesn’t allow you to play with space at all,” Braswell said of curating the exhibition. “I’m not fond of salon-style hanging, but there were 58 pieces of graphic design work and there was no way to get all of that in the gallery without hanging it salon-style on the wall.”

Much of the work in the show is the result of assignments given in class. Observers, therefore, might be able to get a sense of the art curriculum at ECU just by viewing the exhibition.

“If you walked through there every year for a few years, or even skipped a few years, you’d start getting a sense of some of the assignments that are made in some of the studio areas because you would start realizing a pattern and a trend,” Braswell said.

Contact Natalie Sayewich at 252-329-9596 or

via The Daily Reflector.

Mar 292013


Published: March 28, 2013

By Jane Stancill —

CHAPEL HILL — After weeks of conducting a campus dialogue about sexual assault, a consultant hired by UNC-Chapel Hill told trustees Thursday that the university can improve in four areas – climate, policies, training and implementation of federal guidelines.

Gina Smith, a nationally known expert on sexual misconduct, has met with student groups, faculty and staff for weeks to discuss the dynamics of the issue as federal officials look into UNC-CH’s handling of sexual assault cases and its compliance with crime reporting laws. The investigations were prompted by a January complaint from several students, a former student and a former administrator who say mishandling of sexual assault cases at the school violates federal Title IX anti-discrimination law.

Smith spoke for more than 45 minutes to the UNC-CH Board of Trustees on Thursday about what she has concluded so far in her work on campus.

The question she gets most often, she said, is why universities adjudicate criminal matters of rape and sexual assault in the first place. The answer is that Title IX law says colleges and universities that get federal funds must have procedures in place to offer victims counseling, support, reporting options and process for deciding complaints.

But sexual misconduct is a complex issue eliciting strong emotions, made even more complicated on a college campus, where statistics show only 5 percent of such crimes are reported and the average delay in a victim report is 57 days, Smith said. In 80 percent to 90 percent of cases, alcohol and drugs are involved. Often, the complainant and the accused know each other, and more often than not, the case hinges on one person’s word against another, she said.

The response of university staff needs to be coordinated and in compliance with a myriad of laws and regulations. And it has to be sensitive and caring, she said.

“If we are not tending to the individuals in these cases in the way that we know they need to be tended to after an event like this, we lose an opportunity,” Smith said. “We lose an opportunity to have an ally to say the system supported me rather than the system hurt me.”

In those word-against-word cases, it’s a guarantee, she added, “that when one side or the other is unhappy with the result, they are not going to be pointing the finger at each other. They are going to be looking for another reason, and that is the process.”

Complaints about response

The women who filed the federal complaint have said university staff made statements that implied the women were at fault. One said an administrator likened rape to a football game and asked her what she would have done differently when looking back on it. Another complainant said that after her attack, when she struggled with her studies, a staffer suggested she was lazy.

A former prosecutor of sex crimes, domestic violence and child abuse, Smith was hired by UNC-CH to help coordinate a campus conversation about sexual violence. A university spokesman said he did not know how much the university would pay Smith, nor the source of funds, because the campus had not received an invoice yet.

Smith said Thursday she’s working with a dozen other schools on the issue.

“This is an issue that doesn’t only plague UNC-Chapel Hill,” she told trustees. “This is an issue that plagues every college and university in the country, and more broadly this is an issue that plagues society.”

She said students had been forthright and engaged in the process, submitting their thoughts on note cards and in on online suggestion box. Smith particularly pointed to male students as significant contributors of ideas for solutions.

Others aren’t so sure the conversation is having the desired effect.

In a recent interview, Andrea Pino, one of the women who filed the complaint, said students have told her they’re “being talked at.”

“I think it was a good intention, but again, it’s the university hiring a consultant,” Pino said. “It’s good public relations, it’s good legalese, but it’s not what we need.”

‘Quite open’

Smith told trustees, “You have a plethora of wisdom and opportunity. There is a pulling together of your community that is quite unusual and quite open about this issue.”

She said the issue has gained tremendous traction nationally recently in the aftermath of high-profile cases, including at UNC-CH. She attributed that to new federal guidelines issued in 2011, as well as the Penn State child abuse scandal, the fact that victims have greater willingness to speak out and that they effectively used social media to communicate their stories.

“The combination of those four factors is breaking the culture of silence,” she said.

The next step is to turn the conversation to a proactive and preventive approach.

“We have been seeking culture change and it doesn’t come quickly,” she said. “It comes slowly, but it only comes through education.”

Smith has not completed her work. She is expected to issue recommendations at the conclusion of the campus wide dialogue.

She made several early observations about improvements UNC-CH could make. Among them:

•  Climate. Smith said the university must foster a climate of trust, tending to the needs of a student who comes forward to report an assault. “The way we respond out of the gate will forever affect the trajectory of one’s healing and of one’s ability to use our processes,” she said, “and enable us as an institution to allow our values to shine and to allow our systems to have integrity and credibility and be trusted. It’s like medicine – triage it properly.”

•  Training. Training needs to be broad, Smith said, so that everyone on campus understands the issues and resources available to help students. Faculty, administrators and staff need to understand their responsibilities under federal law, so that they know what to do if sexual misconduct is reported to them.

•  Policies. UNC-CH’s policies should be tweaked, Smith said, and communicated in a way that is accessible and understood by students. “We need to write the policy from the other end of the telescope,” she said.

•  Implementation. The best way to follow laws and guidelines is to have good structures in place for implementation, Smith said, with good communication among law enforcement, student affairs staff, Title IX compliance employees and others. Teams should be formed to coordinate response to reports of sexual misconduct, she said.

Reaching out

Student Body President Will Leimenstoll said he is worried that students currently in crisis because of a sexual assault might be afraid to come forward.

Smith responded by saying she is concerned about “active cases” too, but added that the university has hired two new employees that handle complaints and investigate them. They are reaching out to students who may be facing difficulty now, she said.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said the university is lucky to have Smith sorting through the issue.

“Although this is difficult, we embrace the opportunity to work on this and have these conversations,” he said. “We’re going to be an even better university going forward thanks to all of her work.”

Stancill: 919-829-4559

Read more here:

via CHAPEL HILL: Consultant suggests improvements for UNC in dealing with sexual assault issue | Education |

Mar 302013


Published: March 29, 2013

By Renee Schoof — McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Making college more affordable to more people continues to be elusive, and the recent recession hasn’t made it any easier.

States have cut their support for public colleges and universities – deeply, in some cases – and schools have raised tuition as a result. They’ve also dropped classes, eliminated faculty and reduced other services to compensate.

For high school seniors nervously waiting for admissions decisions this spring from public colleges and universities, the recession’s impact might mean fewer acceptances, in some cases, and higher costs for many who do get in, according to a study on the impact of state education cuts by the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“A lot of groups are calling for states to figure out a long-term strategy for funding higher ed,” said Julie Bell, the education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Almost nobody thinks states are going to return to where they were.”

States began trimming their budgets after the recession took hold in 2008, according to the center, a research group that studies the impact of government spending on low- and moderate-income people. Few took steps – such as raising taxes – to replace what they’d lost, it noted.

“It’s a really dangerous trend” because tuition will keep growing beyond what increasing numbers of people can pay, said Phil Oliff, an author of the report.

North Carolina has cut state higher education aid by nearly 15 percent since 2008.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget proposal last week includes a 5.4 percent reduction in state spending for the University of North Carolina system next year. He also asked for a 12.3 percent tuition increase for out-of-state students at UNC-Chapel Hill and other five other schools in the system. Last year, tuition and fees increased an average of nearly 9 percent for in-state undergraduates in the UNC system.

Per-student spending drops

More than three-quarters of U.S. undergraduates are enrolled in public colleges and universities, according to federal data. More than half of the money those schools received last year came from local governments, and most of that was tax revenue, the center reported.

But from Massachusetts to New Mexico, states on average are spending less per student – about $2,350 a year, or 28 percent – than they did five years ago, the center said.

Eleven have cut their financial support per student by more than a third, it found, while states such as Florida, Idaho, South Carolina and Washington have slashed even deeper, cutting back college support by nearly 40 percent or more.

Meanwhile, annual tuition at four-year-public colleges increased by an average of $1,850 – 27 percent – from 2008 to 2013, adjusting for inflation.

The College Board reported last fall that the average tuition and fees at four-year public universities totaled $8,655 for the 2012-13 school year.

Beyond tuition, the report noted that schools have found other ways to compensate for the loss in state aid: “Public colleges and universities also have cut faculty positions, eliminated course offerings, closed campuses, shut down computer labs and reduced library services, among other cuts.”

At the same time that states and the schools they support grapple with money problems, student loan debt has been growing. Twenty years ago, fewer than half of students at four-year public and private institutions graduated with loans, said Lauren Asher, the president of the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit group that’s working to make college more accessible.

Now, two-thirds shoulder an average debt of $26,600.

“The big driver of student debt is college costs have risen faster than family income and the availability of grant aid,” Asher said.

Flexibility, with caution

States are starting to put budgets in place for next year. But without knowing what the federal budget for higher education will look like – such as whether Pell Grants, which aid low-income students – will continue and in what form, “it makes it very hard for them to plan,” Bell said.

Because only about a third of the students who attend four-year institutions graduate in four years, “the real issue is how to get kids through quicker so it costs the state and them less,” she said.

Several ways of speeding up the process are under discussion. One is to make it easier for students to transfer without losing credits. Another is to offer online courses.

California state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg introduced a bill earlier this month that would require public colleges to accept credits for online courses for students who were on waiting lists for the in-class versions. Otherwise, he said, they often need more time to graduate if they can’t get off the waiting lists.

But Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, cautioned: “There should be flexibility, but we might risk just handing out pieces of paper to people who really haven’t had a college education. It’s just something to watch.”

News & Observer staff writer Jane Stancill contributed.

Read more here:

via WASHINGTON: College affordability becomes a struggle | Education |

Mar 292013



Published: March 28, 2013

Concerning the UNC system being downsized, I agree, “There should be no sacred cows.” But the sacred cows should not be “possibly closing or consolidating one or two UNC system campuses.”

The sacred cows are the useless UNC departments and courses with no future functional or vocational value. It is no wonder why graduates with these majors and courses have trouble finding real jobs.

What happened to the common core courses we all had to take in our first two years? These common core courses provided a firm foundation for future endeavors. Just think, with the current austerity requirements, if these departments were discontinued, the system would save millions of dollars in administrative and staff costs. It makes good “cents.”

Robert W. Dilks

Chapel Hill

via Robert W. Dilks: Cut useless programs | Letters to the Editor |

Mar 292013



Published: March 28, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion about downsizing the University of North Carolina system. Rethinking the direction of the system makes a lot of sense. I say this as a graduate of two of the largest universities of the system, and I understand what an education means.

The best example of why North Carolina invests in its universities is the impetus behind the establishment of NCSU. After more than 100 years of poor farming practices, N.C., once the fourth largest state in the union, experienced a mass exodus because the land was used up. NCSU was established to help solve that and other vexing problems facing the state.

Bill Friday often reminded attendees of the system’s universities that millions of people living in poverty in N.C. were subsidizing their education. He felt that attendees should be honor-bound to pay back their benefactors.

Somewhere along the way, with the big athletic programs and huge administrative and faculty salaries, we have lost our way. We need to balance the needs of all the people in the state with the legitimate need for affordable advanced education, cutting edge research to attract industry and tackling specific problems unique to North Carolina.

Angela Crumpler


via Angela Crumpler: UNC lost its way | Letters to the Editor |

Mar 282013




John Maginnes/ Daily Reflector

By Ronnie Woodward

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Plenty about East Carolina has changed since John Maginnes was an ECU student in the late 1980s and one of the Pirates’ best golfers.

The intramural field where Maginnes used to regularly hit golf shots is now a parking lot on the school’s medical campus, just one of the changes Maginnes described during a phone interview earlier this week.

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But Maginnes, a former pro golfer who is now a golf analyst for XM radio and hosts the “Maginnes on Tap” show, said East Carolina was the perfect college for him. He will be in town tonight to share stories of Greenville and beyond while serving as the featured speaker at Brook Valley Country Club during the club’s Men’s Night Kickoff.

“East Carolina was a great fit for me because I could play against the best competition in the east,” Maginnes said. “To me, everything about it just fit.”

Maginnes left Greenville in 1991 to pursue a professional career.

His pro highlights include playing with fellow PGA Tour rookie Tiger Woods at the 1996 BC Open. Maginnes said Woods, now the No. 1 player in the world, was great to play with because of his obvious talent, and many golfers still feel the same way.

On a par-5 hole early in that round at the BC Open, Woods was preparing to use an iron from the fairway and Maginnes figured the young star was going to lay up, but Maginnes said Woods instead hit a shot that “looked like it was fired out of a cannon” and the ball ended up on the back fringe of the green.

“He was just that much better than everybody else,” said Maginnes, who grew up in Durham.

Maginnes had his moments too, including playing in multiple U.S. Open tournaments. His best finish was a tie for 28th in 2003.

The former Pirate had multiple wins on the Hogan Tour, which is now the Nationwide Tour, but an elbow injury ended up hampering his career.

He eventually turned to the media side of the sport and has participated in multiple television and radio platforms along the way. He started working full-time for XM radio in 2007.

Maginnes has done several speaking engagements, but he’s expecting tonight’s to feel a little different because of his connection to Greenville and ECU.

“There’s going to be a room full of people that I haven’t seen in a long time, but that know me,” he said. “Remember that I do go on the air every night for two hours so I’m not going to run out of things to talk about, but I think this one is going to be a little different.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at, 252-329-9592 or follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

via The Daily Reflector.

Mar 282013


Christine Cain Weaver


Published in The Daily Reflector on March 28, 2013

Ms. Christine Cain Weaver, 55, passed away on Friday, March 22, 2013. A Remembrance will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2013, at Green Springs Park on E. 5th St., and a Celebration of her life will follow at 3 p.m. at the Tipsy Teapot, 409 South Evans St. Sensible shoes and bright colors are encouraged.

Chris, a native of St. Louis, Mo., received a B.S. in Horticulture from the University of Missouri, and an M.S. in Industrial Technology from East Carolina University. She was working on a Ph.D. when diagnosed with Frontotemporal Degeneration in 2008.

Chris moved to Greenville in 1986 and was employed at East Carolina University as Liaison for Learning Platforms in the ITS Teaching and Learning Division. She worked to help start the greenway in Greenville and received the Governor’s Volunteer Award in 1996 for her work with Literacy Volunteers of Pitt County. She loved sewing Halloween costumes for her kids, gardening, shopping, travel, learning about people and new things, and Easter Egg Hunts; she abhorred Bradford Pears, Sweet Gums, and injustice. Chris accepted her diagnosis with composure and courage, and retained a wicked sense of humor until the last weeks of her life.

She is survived by her husband, William Scotty Smith; son, Jack Ray Brueckner and wife, Amanda; daughter, Claire Cain Brueckner, all of Greenville; and their father, Steven Ray Brueckner, of Westfield; parents, James Jasper and Nancy Nash Weaver, of Columbia, Mo.; and sisters, Jan Weaver and husband, Jim Carrel, of Columbia, Mo., Lynn Weaver, of St. Louis, Mo., and Nanci Beth Johnson and husband, Randy, of Columbia, Mo.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Friends of Greenville Greenways, PO Box 2544, Greenville, NC 27836, Literacy Volunteers of America-Pitt County, 105 E Arlington Blvd. #A, Greenville, NC 27858 or to the AFTD, Radnor Station Building 2, Suite 320, 290 King of Prussia Road, Radnor, PA 19087.

Arrangements by Wilkerson Funeral Home & Crematory, Greenville.

Online condolences at

via Christine Cain Weaver Obituary: View Christine Weaver’s Obituary by The Daily Reflector.