Jan 282015


By Jane Stancill
January 27, 2015

A panel of the UNC Board of Governors is proposing changes to the process of choosing the next UNC system president.

On Tuesday, a working group of the board discussed several ideas for restructuring the committees that will search for a successor to UNC system President Tom Ross, who will step down early next year.

It’s unclear exactly when the presidential search will commence, but it is likely to launch in spring. The board this month acted to push out Ross, who has said he was not ready to retire but will leave in 2016 after five years on the job.

Board members said Tuesday that they are tinkering with the 1996 policy that guides searches in order to make the procedure less prescriptive.

Traditionally, the process has included several committees; a panel to write a leadership statement of qualities sought in the next leader; a screening committee to narrow the pool of candidates; and a search committee to identify finalists and recommend a final pick.

A new process is likely to include the same groups, but a slimmed down search committee (up to 13 board members compared to the previous number of 20) will make up the core of the other two committees. That search committee would include the three officers of the board. Currently, the officers are Chairman John Fennebresque, Vice Chairman Lou Bissette and Secretary Dr. Joan Perry.

On Tuesday, the panel discussed guaranteeing membership of the student member of the board on the search committee.

Up to 20 members would be added for the leadership statement committee, to include broad representation of chancellors, faculty, students, staff and alumni from the 17 UNC campuses. For the screening committee, an additional five to seven Board of Governors members would be added to the core group.

A nominating committee of the board would appoint members to each of the three other committees.

The Board of Governors is expected to vote in February on proposed changes to the presidential search policy.

Jan 282015


By Jane Stancill
January 27, 2015

Major changes could be coming to North Carolina’s public university teacher training programs, which have seen a precipitous drop in students in the past five years.

At a daylong summit Tuesday that drew state leaders from all levels of education, seven proposals were unveiled that could alter the way teachers are trained at UNC campuses.

Crafted after a year of study by a committee of the Board of Governors, the recommendations include:

• A longer, more intensive practical teaching experience for students, who would spend a year in schools and whose performance would be judged with an evidence-based evaluation tool.

• A publicly available “UNC teacher quality dashboard,” which would collect and display statistics and results of teacher education programs by university.

• A more selective way to recruit future teachers, by establishing a public-private scholarship program, and offering higher pay to those who earn advanced degrees in the content areas that they teach.

• Better collaboration between universities’ arts and sciences and education schools, and stronger partnerships between universities and public schools.

• A statewide expansion of a program that provides support and mentoring to new teachers.

The recommendations are necessary, say UNC leaders, at a time of sharp decline of people entering the teacher pipeline. In the past five years, enrollment has plummeted by 27 percent in the UNC system’s teacher education programs, which produce a majority of the state’s schoolteachers. In the past year alone, the drop was 12 percent.

“We have a crisis in North Carolina,” said board Chairman John Fennebresque. “The number of students seeking a career in teaching in our system – 4,300 – is significantly inadequate to meet the demand – 10,900.”

Speakers at the conference pointed out that the falling interest in the profession is a national problem that is playing out more acutely in North Carolina.

Ellen McIntyre, dean of education at UNC Charlotte, said visits to high schools indicate that plenty of students want to go into teaching, but their parents dissuade them because of low salaries. And teacher turnover just exacerbates the problem, she said.

“Actually we prepare enough teachers,” she said. “We just don’t keep them. … We do keep teachers in wealthy districts. We’re not keeping teachers serving kids in poverty.”

Though the legislature last year raised teacher pay, especially for early career teachers, political and legal battles have raged over education policy in recent years. The legislature dropped master’s degree salary supplements and put an end to “career status,” also known as tenure. The N.C. Teaching Fellows Programs, a highly regarded teacher recruitment program, was phased out.

The state’s Teacher of the Year, James Ford, a teacher at Garinger High School in Charlotte, said something must be done to turn around negative notions about the profession.

“First and foremost, we need to make sure that millennials are impressed enough with this profession that they see it as something they’d like to go into,” he said.

Gov. Pat McCrory – making an appearance at the event at SAS, the Cary software company – said teachers should be eligible for promotions, based on performance, without having to become administrators.

There was no dollar figure attached to Tuesday’s proposals, which are likely to be approved by the UNC Board of Governors in February.

Several lawmakers attended the summit and said they liked the recommendations – even reviving some version of the programs recently terminated.

Rep. Craig Horn, a Republican from Union County, said his mind has been changed on some things, including the idea that master’s degrees in some fields – particularly science, math and technology – do matter for teachers. Earlier data was misleading, he said. On the scholarship issue, he suggested that the state could come up with a new program, perhaps a hybrid Teaching Fellows and Teach for America, which provides teachers in poor urban and rural schools.

“We all bear some responsibility,” Horn said of teachers leaving the profession.

Jan 282015


JAN. 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama, facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties, will drop his proposal to effectively end the popular college savings accounts known as 529s, but will keep an expanded tuition tax credit at the center of his college access plan, White House officials said Tuesday.

The decision came just hours after Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio demanded that the proposal be withdrawn from the president’s budget, due out Monday, “for the sake of middle-class families.” But the call for the White House to relent also came from top Democrats, including Representatives Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking member of the Budget Committee.

Ms. Pelosi pressed the case to senior administration officials on Air Force One as she flew with the president from India to Saudi Arabia, according to Democratic aides familiar with the discussions.

The move was an abrupt turn for the president, who had made the proposal during his State of the Union address only a week ago, a proposal he called part of his pitch for “middle-class economics.”

“Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support, as well as the president’s broader package of tax relief for child care and working families,” a White House official said.

The official added that Mr. Obama’s proposed increase in the capital gains tax rate and change to the taxation of inherited wealth would provide more than enough money to fund the tax plan.

White House economists had thought that taking away the tax advantage of the 529 plan for better-off families was a simple matter of tax fairness. Instead, it proved to be politically toxic, highlighting the difficulty for politicians focusing their efforts on the shriveling middle class and trying to overhaul the tax code. The idea was to end one tax break tilted toward the wealthy and plow that billion-dollar savings over 10 years into a far larger expansion of another tuition tax credit aimed more squarely at the middle class.

But in the days since the plan was rolled out, the focus has clearly been on Mr. Obama’s proposal that would have essentially gutted 529 accounts. Affluent savers were angered, Wall Street and state governments that run the accounts balked, and Republicans were given an opening to say that they are the better guardians of the struggling middle class.

Mr. Boehner said Tuesday that “529 plans help middle-class families save for college, but now the president wants to tax those plans.”

The contretemps over college accounts held broader lessons. For one, tax reform and “simplification” have great appeal in the abstract, but many specific provisions of the tax code have large and vocal constituencies. In addition, Americans’ concept of the middle class is far more elastic than that of economists.
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“That’s as middle class as it gets,” Representative Marlin Stutzman, Republican of Indiana, said of 529 college accounts.

But there is a continuing debate over the definition of middle class. The median household income is $53,046. Some economists have put a band around that figure, placing the middle class incomes from $35,000 — 50 percent above the poverty line for a family of four — to $100,000, about double the median.

Of the roughly seven million existing 529 plans, about 80 percent of the tax benefits go to households above $150,000, supporters of the Obama proposal say; 70 percent go to households with incomes over $200,000. That is because those people have the most money invested and can contribute $14,000 a year or more without worrying about reaching federal gift tax limits. Investment gains can then be used for education expenses without a capital-gains tax.

“Many people who fall within the lower echelon of the middle class were among the people the president proposed to tax,” said David Lillard, the state treasurer of Tennessee and president of the National Association of State Treasurers, who added that many states had made college savings a focal point of policy making.

White House officials argued that the 529 proposal had to be considered in the broader context. The idea was to consolidate six tuition tax breaks into two, for a net tax cut of $50 billion over 10 years. The bulk of that expansion would go to the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a tuition credit created by the 2009 stimulus law and available even to families who earn too little to pay income tax. The plan would also make that tax credit available for a fifth year of college, because many students cannot graduate in four, and would offer it to part-time students.

A Government Accountability Office report in 2012 found that a family with income of $100,000 or less withdrawing from a 529 account could expect about $561 in benefits from investment gains that would go untaxed. For a family with income above $150,000, that benefit was $3,132.

In contrast, the president’s proposed tax credit expansion would mean $2,500 more for college, White House officials.

“It’s kind of baffling that people in the middle are convinced they are getting hit hard when virtually all of them are the winners,” said Robert Greenstein, the president of the liberal Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

But that reaction was due in part to the White House’s flubbed launch, Democrats said Tuesday. The tax proposals were rolled out the weekend before the State of the Union address, with virtually all the emphasis on tax increases targeting the very wealthy to finance broad-based tax cuts for the middle class, including a $500 credit for families in which both spouses work, increased child care credits and incentives to save for retirement.

White House officials say they modeled their education tax-credit consolidation on a bipartisan education tax proposal by Representatives Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee, and Danny K. Davis, Democrat of Illinois. But Mr. Davis said lawmakers had looked at ending the 529 benefit and opted against it.

“We didn’t see any way that would be helpful,” Mr. Davis said Tuesday, adding, “I was not excited to see” the White House’s interpretation of his work.

Republicans have latched on to the issue of wage stagnation but have struggled for a policy response. On Tuesday, before the White House announcement, Representative Lynn Jenkins, Republican of Kansas, reintroduced bipartisan legislation to expand 529s.

Jan 282015


JAN. 27, 2015

NASHVILLE — Two former Vanderbilt football players were convicted on Tuesday of raping a fellow student in 2013 after a jury rejected claims that they were too drunk to know what they were doing and that a college culture of binge drinking and promiscuous sex should be blamed for the attack.

The jury deliberated for three hours before announcing its verdict against the two former players, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey. Mr. Batey was stoic, staring ahead, and Mr. Vandenburg shook his head no, appearing stunned as the verdict was read. His father had an outburst and abruptly left the courtroom.

The victim, who was a 21-year-old neuroscience and economics major at the time of the attack, cried as each guilty verdict was announced.

Both men were convicted of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. They face decades in prison at their sentencing, scheduled for March 6.

The jury heard two weeks of testimony from a parade of witnesses, including police officers, former and current Vanderbilt students, and the woman, who said she did not remember what happened that night, only that she woke up in a strange dorm room. They also saw cellphone images from the night of the attack that Mr. Vandenburg sent to his friends as it was happening.

Despite the photos and the video, and although witnesses saw the woman unconscious and at least partially naked in the dorm, no one reported the attack.

The trial played out amid a national conversation about rape on college campuses. In Nashville, where Vanderbilt is, hundreds of officials from colleges across the state are meeting this week in a two-day conference on how to reduce sexual assaults.

Lawyers for Mr. Vandenburg, who had been dating the woman, said he did not assault her but was recorded on video laughing and encouraging his teammates. Mr. Batey’s lawyers said the images did not show him assaulting the woman.

Defense lawyers argued that the two men were too drunk to know what they were doing.

“I was just drunk out of my mind,” Mr. Batey said. “This is something I would never do in my right state of mind. I’m just sorry.”

In closing arguments, prosecutors said Tuesday that the two players believed they were entitled athletes who could “get away with anything.”

Two other players, Jaborian McKenzie and Brandon Banks, were also accused in the rape. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

Jan 282015


By Nick Anderson January 27 at 1:10 PM

A bill moving in the Virginia legislature would require public universities to notify police within 24 hours after school officials learn of an alleged sexual assault on campus.

The Washington Post asked four universities for response to the bill, which won approval Monday from a state Senate subcommittee and appears to have support from the public, as nine out of 10 Virginia voters say sexual assaults on campus should be reported to police immediately. The proposal is likely to generate significant debate because it could affect not only how sexual assault allegations are investigated but also whether students decide to step forward to report an attack.

Here are e-mailed comments from three university officials:

University of Virginia spokesman Anthony P. de Bruyn: “Many members of the U-Va. community are passionate about the challenge of strengthening safety on Grounds. Students, faculty, administrators and alumni are coming together to craft U-Va. solutions to sexual assault.

“There no doubt will be multiple bills introduced in the General Assembly on this topic. The university stands ready to serve as a resource to legislators who want to strengthen safety for our students. We look forward to reviewing all the proposed legislation and participating in the discussion.”

James Madison University spokesman Bill Wyatt: “The university is aware of the Senate subcommittee’s action on the campus sexual assault legislation. We are in the process of reviewing the proposal and will continue to monitor the debate as it moves forward. However, it is too soon to comment on how any one proposal may affect JMU. In the meantime, we will continue to work with other colleges and universities to share best practices and find ways to continue to keep our campuses safe.”

College of William and Mary spokesman Brian Whitson: “We do have concerns about the unintended consequences of this bill and others like it. Our worst fear is that some survivors of sexual violence will not come forward if they believe they will be forced into a legal process they don’t want to take part in. In addition, it would be incredibly difficult to pursue a criminal case when the witness does not wish to testify.

“But we also have confidence that members of the General Assembly will continue working on this and listen to those it will impact. We all realize the importance of this issue – and that we want a culture where victims feel comfortable coming forward to get the help they need, and at the same time universities are also doing everything they can from a safety perspective.

“As it stands now, our current practice and policies are fairly close to the process envisioned in the bill. Anyone who is considered a Campus Security Authority (CSA) is required to notify W&M Police if they become aware of any rape or other sex offense on university property. W&M adopted this crime reporting policy in fall 2011 in accordance with the Clery Act. Each dean, vice president and other university department head designates employees in his or her unit to serve as CSAs. In addition to anyone designated as CSAs, nearly all employees at William & Mary who learn about a sexual assault affecting a William & Mary student are required to report that information to the Title IX Coordinator and the Dean of Students. There are a few exceptions in the cases of specific individuals (counseling center, student health center, and a representative at The Haven, a space we opened this year as a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to go and seek support and resources) that have been designated so that they can receive confidential reports – and [the U.S. Education Department Office for Civil Rights] guidance allows for this exception.

“Police contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney on all cases where a rape is reported and the survivor wants to pursue charges. In cases where the survivor does not want to pursue charges, unless the survivor wishes to remain anonymous, police will still contact the Victim Witness Program within the CA office so that they can offer additional support services. While our police will consider every option to move forward, even without the survivor’s support, it would be a rare circumstance. If a survivor is reluctant to move forward but police believe that charges should still be considered, they will contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney and discuss the case. The CA would then decide whether to move forward with the case since it would also require compelling the survivor to testify in court.”

George Mason University’s vice president for university life, Rose B. Pascarell, spoke with The Post by telephone. She echoed some of the reservations expressed by Whitson, of William and Mary.

“We all want the same thing,” Pascarell said. “We want to figure out a way to encourage victims to feel comfortable enough to come forward and report.” She added: “I don’t think the current legislation is the solution.”

Pascarell said many victims have “major privacy concerns.” Fears that their privacy will be breached often cause them to stay silent. “We are trying in many ways to make sure students know there are options,” she said. “It’s really a delicate dance in those conversations, encouraging someone to come forward.”

Pascarell added: “One of the things that is most important is that the victim or survivor feels like they’re in control of the process.”

She said that if a crime was committed, the university’s intention is clear: “The goal is to get it to the police. But I’m not sure starting with that mandate is the way to go.”

The Post also spoke with Dana Bolger, a 2014 graduate of Amherst College, who is co-founder of a group called Know Your IX. The name of the group refers to the 1972 law known as Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funding. The group’s stated mission is to empower students to stop sexual violence.

“This bill will absolutely have a deterrent effect on survivors reporting” sexual assaults, Bolger said of the Virginia measure. “Survivors tell me time and again that if their school had been required to hand their reports over to the police, they would never have come forward to anyone at all.”

Bolger said there are many reasons why a survivor would not necessarily want the police involved, including the fact that conviction rates in criminal cases are “staggeringly low.” She said she worried that a mandate to inform police could have the opposite of its intended effect by allowing a hostile environment toward the survivor on campus “to continue unabated.”

Jan 282015


By Susan Svrluga January 27 at 8:40 PM

Sorority sisters at the University of Virginia were ordered by their national chapters to avoid fraternity events this weekend — a mandate that many of the women said was irrational, sexist and contrary to the school’s culture.

It’s not about one night of parties, several students said, but about their ability to make their own choices.

And they’re not taking that lightly.

The rule came after a traumatic fall semester in Charlottesville, including the violent death of a student and now-discredited allegations of a gang rape at a U-Va. fraternity. Both forced a thorough examination of campus safety, drinking culture and Greek life.

The university administration just days ago lifted a suspension of fraternity and sorority activities that came in the wake of the sexual assault allegations, a break that the university community used to have a broad discussion about student safety in the Greek system. In order to have the ban lifted — immediately ahead of spring rush, when students join fraternities — the school’s Greek houses agreed to new rules amid new student-led initiatives to increase safety.

Many students had been looking forward to celebrating with old friends and new members during the fraternities’ bid night, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31.

There are 16 sororities on U-Va.’s campus that are part of the National Panhellenic Conference, with more than 2,000 members, according to the campus Inter-Sorority Council. The NPC can come to “unanimous agreements” among its national presidents that are binding on local chapters and their members.

At some U-Va. chapters in recent days, students described mandatory emergency meetings with representatives from their national chapter telling them they risked suspension, fines and other penalties if any of them attended bid night parties. Boys’ Bid Night is typically a night when sorority sisters wear matching tank tops marked with their house symbols and go from house to house sharing drinks with friends.

Now some sororities are planning mandatory in-house retreats that night, to avoid any risk of inadvertently violating the rule.

At some chapters, women were told not only to avoid going to fraternity parties on Boys’ Bid Night, but to avoid any social gathering with fraternity members, said Ben Gorman, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council at U-Va. That would mean a ban on attending off-campus parties or gatherings at bars that night after a hotly anticipated basketball game on campus, which pits the undefeated No. 2 Cavaliers against No. 4 Duke. “People are very agitated and very upset, and see this as an obstacle to larger cultural change a violation of free rights and student free will.”

A university spokesman deferred questions to the National Panhellenic Conference, as did the incoming president of the Inter-Sorority Council at U-Va.

A spokeswoman for the National Panhellenic Conference said the mandate comes not from the umbrella group but from each national chapter president. “Of course, NPC supports the safety of their women, so they do support those national presidents making that decision and encouraging sorority women to plan sisterhood events and other ‘safer’ options,” Michelle Bower said.

An emergency Student Council bill aimed at addressing the issue passed 14-0-3 on Tuesday night, urging the national chapter leaders to join students on campus to talk about the issue Friday. “This was entirely top-down — an edict,” said Abraham Axler, a second-year student who is chair of the representative body. “That is not how things operate at U-Va.”

A petition, started online on Monday, had almost 2,000 signatures by midday Tuesday. It reads, in part:

“Instead of addressing rape and sexual assault at UVa, this mandate perpetuates the idea that women are inferior, sexual objects. It is degrading to Greek women, as it appears that the [National Panhellenic Conference] views us as defenseless and UVa’s new fraternal policies as invalid. Allowing the NPC to prevent us from celebrating (what used to be) a tight-knit community, sends the message that we are weak.”

And another widely-circulated letter, directed to the National Panhellenic Conference, reads, in part:

“Our concerns lie in the way sorority women are being used as leverage to change the actions and behaviors of fraternity men. This resolution has misconstrued us as a passive aggregate rather than active agents for change. It has also had the unintended consequence of subjugating women. … Women have historically been the targets of sexual violence, and forbidding us to exercise our agency plays dangerously into gender stereotypes surrounding the issue.” The mandate is diametrically opposed to the central values of the sororities in fostering and supporting women’s strength, the letter continues, and, “This solution is not long-term, realistic, or sustainable.”

Jan 272015


By Jane Dail

East Carolina University officials on Monday held the first of two forums on the possibility of renaming Aycock Residence Hall. Students who attended showed overwhelming support for removing the name of the controversial former governor.

An ad hoc committee was charged by the chancellor to make a recommendation on whether to change the name or not and other possible options, and the forum was a way for the committee to gather public input.

Aycock Hall was dedicated to former Gov. Charles B. Aycock in the 1960s several decades after his death. Aycock created hundreds of schools and libraries throughout the state but also led a white supremacy movement for political gain.Another forum aimed toward staff, faculty, alumni and the community will take place today at 4 p.m. at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU.

Ten members of the ECU Board of Trustees attended Monday’s meeting to listen to comments, but the vote on the name change will not be taken until the board’s February meeting.

Payton Burnette, a senior at ECU, said the university has a “huge problem” with race on campus, citing recent anti-Semitic incidents that happened on and off campus and racist entries in the student newspaper. She said leaving the name on the residence hall would tell those students it is acceptable to have those opinions.

“Those little seeds of racism that are left over from past generations, those few ones we’re trying to eradicate, will have space to grow,” Burnette said.

Senior Tyler Morrison said ECU focuses on diversity and leadership, and Aycock does not represent those characteristics.

“This is not just an issue for minority students,” he said. “ … This is something that all Pirates should take seriously and definitely look into, and hopefully a positive outcome will come from it.”

Tom Taft of Greenville said that although he is not an alumnus of ECU, he studied the era when Aycock was active in politics.

Taft said he was a supporter of the civil rights movement, but he opposes renaming Aycock Hall. He said people can have different opinions on renaming it without being racist, prejudiced or insensitive.

“We have to accept that many of our parents, grandparents and political leaders of their generation and prior generations had racial beliefs that we all find abhorrent,” Taft said. “We cannot erase them and erase the past by merely taking the names off buildings and memorials, nor can we ignore the issues raised by the lives of those people and the dark side of their lives.”

Taft asked the trustees to look at the entire history of Aycock and see if the good he did outweighed his racial beliefs.

“I have no doubt that if Governor Aycock were alive today, he would believe and support the civil rights movement just as much as anyone in this room,” he said. “You have to reach deep into your heart and make a decision based on what you think is best, but remember in the long run you’re stewards of this university. You can’t forget what these young people are saying about racial injustice and inequality that we’ve seen in our society.”

Junior Amy Bright said ECU wins awards for diversity, and keeping the name would not be upholding those values.

“If we allow this to happen, we perpetuate a problem we have on campus with racism and classism, as well as gender bias,” Bright said.

Junior Courtney Williams said students are the best advertisers for the university. She said she has had several people from high school ask her if ECU is racist, and she has said “no.”

“If you don’t change this name, I’m not going to be able to look those people in the eye — who are majority black, Hispanic and Asian — and say, ‘Yes, ECU is completely welcoming to all races,” she said.

Adam Caldwell, a Student Government Association senator, said renaming Aycock would bring up concerns about other namesakes, including J.R. Joyner Library, Wright Auditorium, Fleming Residence Hall and Jarvis Residence Hall, who perpetuated segregation.

“I fear that if the same is changed, where is the line drawn between renaming of Aycock and also renaming of the other buildings that are critical to our campus and have been throughout history?” Caldwell asked.

Senior Tyree Barnes said there is a distinction between Aycock and other namesakes, which is that those people made actual contributions to ECU. He also suggested putting a plaque on Aycock Hall after renaming it to educate students about it.

“(Aycock) spoke at a graduation, and it was more political rather than an actual service to East Carolina University,” Barnes said. “So when we see all these different pictures at ECU that says ‘Tomorrow Starts Here,’ I feel like now is tomorrow. Today is tomorrow, so it’s time for us to start here.”

Bright said people are too occupied with the possibility of changing other namesakes on campus when they need to deal with the issue at hand.

“We can do the hard thing, which is the right thing,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what tomorrow brings or what other buildings need to be changed. It matters today what we’re talking about today, not tomorrow.”

Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Brinkley said he is not leaning toward one side or another but will take every opinion expressed in the forums into serious consideration.

“I’m still gathering my information,” he said. “I think it’s a complicated issue. What I have determined so far is it’s not a simple answer because there’s a lot to be considered. … To me it’s not a question of action versus inaction but what way we respond to the concerns.”

Jan 272015


Averi Harper
POSTED: 5:27 PM Jan 26 2015


Bobby Aycock Burns, relative of former North Carolina Governor Charles B. Aycock, speaks about controversy surrounding an ECU dormitory named for his cousin.

“It’s always been a source of pride for me but it wasn’t until recently oddly enough that I learned about the other side of the Aycock story,” said Burns.

Burns is an editor at the The Daily Reflector. He’s written about his family ties to Aycock twice for the local newspaper.

“It wasn’t uncommon in the early 1900’s to have racist attitudes,” said Burns.

While Burns says this has given him insight to a different part of his family’s history, he says he’s glad it’s a conversation that’s being had.

“It makes me feel conflicted,” said Burns. “It does make me feel like they’re forgetting the good works that he did but I think we need to be talking about the big picture as well.”

The ECU Board of Trustees will decide at its February meeting on if the Charles B. Aycock Residence Hall will keep it’s name.