UNC SYSTEM UNDER FIRE
Effort to 'right-size' the
UNC system in the works
BY SARAH OVASKA
Significant changes may be on the
horizon for the stale's higher education
network, as the University of North
Carolina's governing board considers
"right-sizing*' the 17-campus system.
"The model should be much smaller
than it is," UNC Board of Governor mem
ber Harry Smith Jr. said about the UNC
system in late February , during a commit
tee meeting discussion about tuition and
The system-wide review could result
in recommendations to consolidate or
shutter campuses and follows recent deci
sions by the UNC Board of Governors that
have attracted public attention and criti
cism. The board, all appointed by a
Republican-led state legislature, decided
in January to replace UNC President Tom
Ross by next year, and then last week
moved to shut down three academic cen
ters. including a poverty center run by a
law professor critical of Republican state
The public comments about the
upcoming system-wide review were
repeated in early March by Smith, who
chairs the governing board's budget and
finance committee, during a debate before
the full UNC Board of Governors about
tuition and fee increases.
Several members objected to the 2 to 7
percent in-staje tuition and fee hikes, call
ing the increases unsustainable patches for
gaps in the university system's budget and
unfair to students and families. North
Carolina taxpayers contributed $2.6 billion
of the $43 billion university budget.
"We're getting ready to plow into the
sustainability of the model." said Smith, a
Greenville businessman, before the 16-9
vote to approve the tuition increases over
the next two years.
In an interview this month with N.C.
Policy Watch, Smith said the fact-based
review could include consolidations, clo
sures or mergers with regional community
colleges. He doesn't know when it will
begin, but hopes to start soon.
Campuses with low enrollments, sub
par graduation."1 Retention and job place
ment rates, as well as the state's five public
historically black colleges (HBCUs) will
face tough questions, he said.
"It's my per- -
sonal opinion that
it's way too big."
Smith said, about <
the UNC system. '
"I'd like to look at
the entire system
and see how many
fielding criticisms "?
from faculty, students, alumni and others,
but says the review is long overdue.
"People have been ducking this con
versation (oya long time," Smith said.
Ross, /he UNC president, told
reporterslist week he wasn't sure what the
^upcoming review would entail, but would
be following it.
"I will be interested to watch and
hear." he said.
New direction for UNC Board?
The University of North Carolina's
governing board has spent much of 2015
in the spotlight, somewhat of a departure
from past years The UNC board is tasked
with overseeing the system's 16 university
campuses, as well as the N.C. School of
Science and Mathematics, a residential
school in Durham for advanced high
school students, and UNC-TV, a statewide
public television network
Their appointments come from the
state legislature, which has been controlled
by Republicans since 2011. Half of the
board is currently up for re-appointment,
with both House and Senate members
expected to vote on nominees later this
Two contentious decisions by the UNC
Board of Governors - the unexpected
move in January to get rid of Ross and last
week's closure of three academic centers -
has brought the public's gaze, and scrutiny,
to the board.
James Moeser, a former chancellor at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, wrote in an essay published this
month that recent actions by the board has
him concerned about the future of the uni
He is worried about "collateral damage
to the university from these actions and
from statements from people in high
places that suggest a lack of support for
academic freedom, a lack of understanding
of the real purpose of a public university,"
Funding remains a major challenge for
the state's university system, which has
seen the state's share of per-student fund
ing drop by 25 percent since the recession
began in 2008 while tuition and fees have
gone up by more than that, according to
the Center on Budget and Public Priorities.
State coffers aren't likely to cough up
much more money for the university sys
tem this year, as the legislature contends
with a shortfall from lower-thai)-expected
Ux revenues and competing requests from
other branches of state government for
Republican Gov. Pal McCrory's pro
posed budget for 2015-17, which was
released earlier this month, would have the
Board of Governors cut an additional $50
million to "achieve efficiencies," while
carving out $8 million additional funds for
East Carolina University's medical school,
which has faced financial difficulties.
House and Senate leaders will parse
through the details of McCrory's budget
before passing a finalized two-year budget
Smith, the UNC Board of Governors
member, said he's hesitant to continually
ask for state money for the university sys
tem without examining what he sees as
He questioned whether the system.
See more on UNC
on pages A4, AS
"You've got to
have a conversation ~
about HBCUs. And
how many you need;
we've got five."
which educates more than 200/XX) stu
dents, needs to be as large as it is or have
as many distinct campuses in order to sat
isfy the state's needs.
"We're supposed to be preparing kids
to make an economic impact' on North
Carolina," Smith said.
The upcoming review introduced by
Smith could dismantle academic programs
that are serving their regions as well as stu
dents well, said Steve Leonard, a UNC
Chapel Hill political science professor and
chair of the UNC system's Faculty
"You have to have institutions that are
doing different things if you're going to
have intellectual innovation and intellectu
al diversity," Leonard said.
Smith said be wants to remove as
much as emotion as he can from the analy
sis and use figures about retention rates,
economic impact, job placement and grad
uation rates as guides.
Historically black colleges will also be
a focus. Smith said. North Carolina, with
five campuses, has more public HBCUs
than any other state.
A budget provision last year would
have closed Elizabeth City State
University, a small HBCU in the impover
ished northeastern corner of the state
which has struggled to keep enrollment up,
but did not make the final budget.
"You've got to have a conversation
about HBCUs," Smith said. "And how
many you need; we've got five."
The scrutiny will come at a time when
HBCUS have fewer proponents in the
state's political leadership, with
Democratic members who traditionally
served as the boosters and defenders of the
schools now out of power. All but three of
the 32 current Board of Governors are
white, and no members attended any of
North Carolina's five public HBCUs.
Another campus at risk may be the
University of North Carolina at Pembroke,
a small campus on the state's southern bor
der with South Carolina.
Kyle Carter, the UNC-Pembroke chan
cellor, said he understands the need for a
review by system leaders and hopes the
unique value of his smaller campus is
understood by the board.
UNC-Pembroke is located in a part of
the state that traditionally has had some of
the highest poverty and unemployment
rates, and nearly 60 percent of its students
In addition, 60 percent of last year's
graduating class were the first in their fam
ilies to get college degrees, a sign that the
school is providing opportunities to those
that need it, said Carter, who is retiring in
"Before a system board begins to make
decisions about right-sizing, they have to
ask some questions about what is the value
of an institution and what would happen if
it wasn't there," Carter said.
In his part of the state, an area also sad
dled with high rates of poverty and few
available jobs, it could be disastrous, he
"I don't know what would happen to
Robeson County if UNC-Pembroke was
not here," Carter said.
Red Cross seeks blood, platelet donations
Following round after
round of snow, freezing
rain and arctic cold in
many parts of the country,
the American Red Cross
has an urgent need for eli
gible blood and platelet
donors to give now to help
restock its shelves.
March storms forced
the cancellation of more
than 200 blood drives,
resulting in nearly 7JD00
uncollected blood and
This shortfall follows
more than 26,400 uncol
lected blood and platelet
donations in February due
to severe weather across 27
states. Despite the weather,
hospital patients still rely
Residents in unaffected
areas can help the Red
Cross restock its shelves
immediately. As a national
network, the Red Cross can
help ensure blood products
are available for patients at
local hospitals as well as
hospitals throughout the
The Red Cross urges
donors of all blood types to
make and keep appoint
ments m the coming days.
Platelet donors, as well as
blood donors with the most
in-demand blood types - O
negative, A negative and B
negative - are particularly
encouraged to give now to
help replenish the blood
Eligible donors with
types O negative. A nega
tive and B negative blood
are encouraged to donate
double red cells where
available. During a double
red cell donation, two units
of red cells are collected
while most of the plasma
and platelets are returned to
To find a convenient
donation opportunity and
schedule an appointment,
donors can download the
free Red Cross blood
Donor App. visit redcross
blood.org or call 1-800
RED CROSS (1-800-733
2767). The Winston-Salem
blood donation center is at
650 Coliseum Drive.
donate in Forsyth County
March 19 from 8:30
a.m. to 2 p.m. at East
Forsyth High School, 2500
W. Mountain St.
March 22 from 9 a m.
to 2 p.m. at Holy Cross
Catholic Church, 616 S.
March 19 from 9:15
am. to 2:15 pm. at Mount
Tabor High School, 342
March 20 from noon to
4:30 p.m. at Lowe's
Hardware, 935 Hanes Mall
March 21 from 10 am.
to 2:30 pm. at Hopewell
Moravian Church, 715
Hopewell Church Road
LTEAP energy program interviews end March 31
SPECIAL TO THE OfltONKXE
The Salvation Army of Greater Winston-Salem is managing the Low Income Energy
Assistance Program (LEAP) in partnership with Forsyth County DSS. The LIEAP pro
gram will end on March 31.
All households are potentially eligible to receive LIEAP benefits. An emergency cir
cumstance is not required. With the program, once a year payments are made directly to
an individual's main heat source vendor. A credit can be paid to the vendor if there is no
Applicants should call 336-722-8721 to set up an appointment to see a case manager
in order to verify eligibility. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 pm. Monday through
Friday. The Salvation Army, 901 Cleveland Ave., offers extended appointment hours on
Tuesday. Thursday and Saturday through March 31.
Eligibility and Requirements:
'Household must meet an income test.
'Household must be responsible for its heating bills
'Household cannot have resources over $2,250.00
'Household must include a US. citizen or an eligible alien.
Please bring with you:
'Proof of name, date of birth and social security numbers for each household mem
'Information about your household's income - prior month's pay stubs for anyone
'Bank statement for checking or savings accounts for household.
'Information about household's property, stocks, bonds and other assets.
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been
supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. More than 31
million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a
broad array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for
disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and
shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of
every dollar raised is used to support those services in more than 5,000 communities
nationwide. . For more information about programs or to make a donation, visit
Schools to sponsor arts show
Schools will showcase ait
from their students at a
Spring Arts Extravaganza,
Wednesday, March 18
through Wednesday, March
25, at the Milton Rhodes
Center for the Arts in
The opening reception
is 5-7 p.m., Friday, March
20. The show and the
reception are both free and
open to the public. Modern
Automotive's "Artists of
the Future" contest winners
and certificate recipients
will be announced at the
opening reception on
Arts Extravaganza is
sponsored by Modern
Automotive in collabora
tion with the Winston
It features the best ait
work from elementary,
middle schools and high
schools in the system.
including painting, draw
ing. sculpture, photography
and mixed media.
Each year hundreds of
students, parents and fami
ly members, teachers and
arts enthusiasts attend the
largest annual arts show in
"The creativity demon
strated at Arts
Extravaganza by students
in our public school system
is absolutely amazing,"
said Jim Sparrow,
President and CEO of the
Arts Council of Winston
Salem and Forsyth County.
"It speaks well for the high
level of instruction that stu
dents receive and the edu
cational value of arts pro
grams in our schools."
Art by elementary stu
dents will be exhibited in
Reynolds Place in the
Milton Rhodes Center and
artwork by middle and
high school students will
be displayed in the Davis
Gallery of the Sawtooth
School, which is located in
the center, also.
will award Sawtooth
School scholarships valued
at $250 each to winners in
each division along with a
family membership to
Sawtooth. In addition, the
students will appear in a
TV commercial for the
Runners up will receive
student memberships in the
Sawtooth School. The art
teachers of the three win
ners will receive certifi
cates to purchase supplies
at Dick Blick Art
Opening night will
have a special activity for
the kids sponsored by
Modem. "Color the City"
will allow kids to place
iconic images and automo
biles on a Winston-Salem
skyline which they can
then color or paint with
material of their choice and
take home as souvenirs.
at a "City of Arts and
Innovation," has a robust
Rodney Sumler, AC Phoenix newspaper publisher, dies
CHRONICLE STAFF REPORT
Rodney Sumler, the founder and pub
lisher of the AC Phoenix Newspaper, died
on Saturday, March 7, in his home. He was
74. Sumler was known as a civil rights pio
neer, having served alongside Jesse
Jackson while a student at N.C. A&T
University, and continued
throughout his lifetime, a
news release said. He also
was an educator.
In 1983, he started the
AC Phoenix, which he pub
ored at The
on Saturday, March 21.
released the following state
"We have lost a giant among giants.
Rodney Sumler was a true gentleman with
a good business sense, strong family ties
and unshakable faith. We will miss his
wisdom, wit, and wonderful sense of
humor. God has welcomed a devoted
worker and true saint into heaven's doors."