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Health Insurance Plan for TAs Likely to Die in Legislature
BY ERIC FLACK
The question is no longer whether graduate students at UNC
schools need health insurance; The question is whether the Gen
eral Assembly will give it to them.
During the legislature’s short session in May, the UNC-system
Board of Governors will ask the General Assembly for an extra
$8.45 million to provide health insurance benefits to all graduate
students working for UNC schools as teaching and research
But some Republican state legislators seem uncertain whether
the TAs’ and RAs’ needs are more pressing than those of other
N.C. residents who are also demanding money from the General
N.C. Sen. J. Mark McDaniel Jr., R-Forsyth, said because of
increased spending in 1995 and other back payments, the state
could only approve a partial increase in funds.
“What most likely is going to happen is a partial phase-in of
funding, ” McDaniel said. “State spending increased 25 percent in
1995 alone. (The General Assembly) might go for a fourth or a half
of it, but it would surprise me if all ($ 8.5 million) got through.”
McDaniel said the General Assembly must refund $5 million
over the next three to six years to federal retirees, as well as $340
million over the next four years to residents who paid intangibles
taxes. Should the sales tax on food be phased out, the state will lose
another SB2 million. In addition, teachers and state employees are
asking for raises.
N.C. Rep. Danny McComas, R-New Hanover, shared his
Statewide Coalition Protests Privatization at Capitol
BY JOHN PATTERSON
RALEIGH “No justice, no peace!”
“No jobs, no peace!”
Shouts for action like these echoed from
the south side of the N.C. General Assem
bly building Wednesday afternoon as more
than 300 students, housekeepers and sup
porters from across the state gathered to
protest the possible privatization of house
keeping jobs at UNC-system schools.
“Privatization has nothing but a nega
tive impact for everyone, ” UNC-CH house
keeper Larry Farrar told those attending
the rally. “It’s not just aboutmQH£X.or jobs,
it’s about the entire community.”
Farrar was one of the dozen or so speak
ers who voiced the concerns of students
and housekeepers attending the hourlong
rally. Delegations from East Carolina Uni
versity, N.C. Agricultural and Technical
State University and N.C. State University
also attended therally, organized by UNC
CH’s Coalition for Economic Justice and
housekeeper organizations from partici
“Privatization is a human issue, and we
want the people affected to be a part of the
protest,” said Ginger Norwood, a coali
tion member and a junior at UNC-CH. “I
agree that it is definitely a community
issue, because privatization affects the en
tire community as much as it affects the
Privatization has been a concern of
housekeepers since last summer, when the
legislature ordered the UNC system to
UNC housekeepers and supporters display picket signs protesting the state's privatization study (above right). About 300 students, housekeepers
and supporters from across the state gathered Wednesday on the steps of the N.C. General Assembly building in Raleigh for the afternoon protest (above left).
‘New’ Gantt College Tax Cut Plan Old News in D.C.
BYROBYN TOMLIN HACKLEY
STATE 8 NATIONAL EDITOR
Harvey Gantt, a Democratic candidate
for the U.S. Senate, said he wants to give
the families of college students a “new,
different kind of Contract with America.”
But exactly how new are his ideas?
Gantt’s proposal, to give a SIO,OOO tax
deduction to families that earn less than
$ 120,000 a year and are paying for a family
member’s college tuition, has been on the
congressional table for several years with
out drawing much support.
The lead Democratic education staffer
in the U.S. Senate said Gantt’s education
proposal is almost identical to one pro
posed in President Bill Clinton’s 1997 bud
get and to one proposed by U.S. Sens.
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Thomas
The Carolina Course
Review has debts and no
money in the bank. Page 3
Graduate Student Budget
Spring semester budget for a graduate student at UNC for
January through mid-May:
Salary for full teaching responsibility of $4,200
one class (typical assignment)
Less taxes (roughly 22 percent) $924
Less tuition and fees $876
Less health insurance $331
Less books (conservative estimate) slsO
Balance left for living expenses $1,919
Rent and utilities (approximately $327/month) - $ 1,471
Balance left for transportation, meals and other $448
necessities (approximately $25/week)
SOURCE: GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS FEDERATION DTH/MARK WEISSMAN
colleague’s pessimism toward increased UNC-system funding.
“Many groups are asking for additional funding, but other things
need to be addressed,” he said. “There are many competitive
The increased funding is imperative if the university system
wants to be competitive in attracting the most talented graduate
See GRADUATE INSURANCE, Page 2
study the possibility of privatizing a wide
range of services. Housekeepers are wor
ried that privatization will lead not only to
job losses but also to a number of other
“If they privatize, then the housekeep
ers that get to keep their jobs would get
lower wages and decreased benefits,”
Farrar said. “Lower pay and little or no
benefits would only lead to unsatisfied
workers providing poor service.”
Protesters said they wanted state repre
sentatives to “clean up” their act on
privatization. Toemphasizetheir demands,
they ended Wednesday’s rally with a spe
cial delivery to two members of the legisla
About 100 protesters, chanting “Orga
nize, don’t privatize,” delivered symbolic
brooms to the offices of Speaker of the
House Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph, and
Senate President Pro Tempore Marc
“We want government toknowhowwe
feel about privatization because we want it
cleaned up,” said Gregory Barrett, a house
keeper at ECU, which contracted out its
housekeeping services in 1990. “We are
going to take these brooms in there to clean
Protesters said housekeepers and stu
dents realized privatization was attractive
to taxpayers and legislators because it of
ten saved tax dollars. But the way in which
privatization saves taxpayer money is of
ten covered up, Farrar said.
See RALLY, Page 2
and John Breaux,
D-La., in 1995.
But new or not,
the tax deduction
proposal is not a
one, said Thad
Beyle, a UNC pro
fessor of political
science. “When the
deficit is so high,
(Congress is) going
to have some seri
ous troubles work
ing these kinds of
things into the
GANTT wants to
enable more students
to attend college.
In addition to the tax deduction, Gantt
has said he wants to protect the direct
Life can only be understood backwards , but it must be lived forwards.
A UNC graduate student
is organizing a national
campaign for kids. Page 3
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■if | \ /
i to 2 ,ni:
student lending program, increase funding
for the Pell Grant and expand the federal
Work Study program.
“The point of the education package is
to guarantee that every American who
wants to work for, and get, an education
(will) not be held back, ” said Lisa Mortman,
Gantt’s press secretary.
Mortman said the tax deduction would
help about one million additional students
attend college each year and would cost
about S2O billion annually. Mortman said
Gantt would like to see the money come
out of the military budget and from federal
Beyle said Gantt’s decision to hammer
out a detailed education proposal was an
unusual move. “It’s hard to give full pro-
See GANTT, Page 2
Will Willhoit Win?
Don Willhoit wants a
sixth term. Page 4
Many Grad Students Cannot Afford Insurance
Grant Moss, a graduate student and
teaching assistant in the English depart
ment, has health insurance now but has
not always enjoyed this assurance. Moss
was cut off from his parents’ insurance
policy at age 23. After completing his
undergraduate degree, Moss had no ac
cess to health insurance.
Since coming to UNC, Moss has sub
scribed to the Student Health Service
insurance plan for graduate students,
which cost $623 for the 1995-96 school
The plan has been beneficial for Moss.
Shortly after coming to UNC, he broke
his foot and had medical bills totaling
more than $2,000. “There’s no way I
could have covered those expenses on
my own,” Moss said.
Although the expense is a large por
tion of Moss’ budget, he said he did not
Harvey Gantt Says:
■ Middle-class families with incomes
of less than $120,000 would be
eligible for the deduction.
■ The deduction would give familes
of college students a SIO,OOO
education tax break
■ Funding for the tax would be
generated by cutting military
spending and corporate subsidies.
■ One million additional students
would be able to afford college.
■ He wants to strengthen Pell Grant
Friday: Sunny; high upper-70s.
think he could go without it.
But that’s what many of UNC’s gradu
ate student do go without health insur
ance because they can’t afford it.
“It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to
come up with that kind of money on a
teaching assistant’s salary,” Moss said.
Although it is not known how many
graduate students do not have health insur
ance , the chief of staff for the Graduate and
Professional Student Federation, Steve
Oljeski, estimated that more than 50 per
cent of graduate students was uninsured or
The GPSF is completing a study to find
out how many graduate students have in
Oljeski said the structure of the SHS
plan made it especially difficult to afford.
“The biggest problem with the current
plan is coming up with the money at the
beginning of the semester, with tuition and
book expenses,” he said.
The plan does not allow students to join
New Police Device
BY MARY-KATHRYN CRAFT
Are the days of Chapel Hill’s self-proclaimedbeerpatriot’s fight
for beer drinking rights numbered? The Chapel Hill Police Depart
ment may have found a way to counter claims that the open
container law is unenforceable or ambiguous.
Sonny Austin, Chapel Hill police evidence technician, has
developed a device that determines the alcohol content of a
beverage. The device can distinguish between alcoholic and non
alcoholic liquids, and it measures levels of alcohol content in the
alcoholic beverages, Austin said.
Orange-Chatham District Attorney Carl Fox said the device
offered solutions to problems with proving violations of the open
container law. “The main problem we’ve encountered with the
self-proclaimed beer patriot is that we couldn’t prove if the bever
age was alcoholic,” he said.
UNC graduate student Jonathan McMurry, who calls himself
the beer patriot, has sought twice to prove the open-container law
is unenforceable by getting cited for holding what he said was
nonalcoholic beer on Franklin Street.
After McMurry’s second violation was thrown out of court,
District Court Judge Lowry Betts called the law “vague and
unenforceable” because it did not define a malt beverage specifi
cally. Fox said his office would stop prosecuting open-container
violations if another judge backed Betts’ ruling
But with the new device, the open-container law could be more
enforceable, Fox said. The new device conclusively tests whether
beverages are alcoholic, he said. “(The device) looks like it has a
real good scientific basis,” he said. The testing device operates
with an Alco-Sensor, which is a commercial hand-held machine
used in preliminary field testing for drunk driving.
Significant differences have been found in the alcohol-level
readouts of beer and nonalcoholic beer, Austin said. “Significant
differences are enough to say one is beer and one is nonalcoholic, ”
he said. Austin said he had been developing the testing device for
about three weeks. He works with the device a little each day to
make sure the results and numbers stay within the same range.
Although he has encountered some fluctuations, which he
attributes to temperature changes, Austin said his results seemed
to be holding up. The machine has not been tested in court as an
official means of obtaining evidence, but Austin said he thought it
would improve enforcing the open-container law.
“To me, it’s a logical, common-sense approach to a problem,”
he said. “The Alco-Sensor registers can tell the difference between
alcoholic and nonalcoholic beer.”
Fox said he had not had an opportunity to discuss the device in
court so he did not know how a judge would apply evidence
obtained from the machine. But he said he thought the device
would provide sufficient evidence to make the open-container law
more useful in court.
Committee Will Expand to
Tackle Increasing Enrollment
BY SHARIF DURHAMS
The Enrollment Management Commit
tee will add five new members to its group
in case the Board of Trustees asks the
University to increase undergraduate en
rollment by 5,000 students.
Committee Chairman Timothy
Sanford, director of institutional research,
said he would ask for the new members in
order to give students and faculty a voice
for input concerning the possibility of an
“We’re adding some representatives
because we’ve not had any specific repre
sentative from the faculty."
103 years of editorial freedom
Serving the students and the University
community since 1893
Volume 104, Issue 29
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
C19960TH Publishing Cap.
AH lights reserved.
in the middle of the semester, he said.
GPSF Health Survey Coordinator
Elizabeth Guthrie said she thought the
University needed to evaluate what
graduate students contributed to the
school and what those students received
Guthrie said health insurance was
particularly important for graduate stu
dents with spouses and children.
While Guthrie has health insurance,
many of her friends do not, she said.
“You are taking a risk, and you just never
know,” she said.
Claire LaForce, a graduate student in
the School of Information and Library
Science, has a pre-existing condition that
prevents her from finding health insur
She said that this was a problem for
older graduate students and that she
thought the UNC-system Board of Gov
ernors needed to look at coverage to
meet these needs.
Some trustees are concerned about the
large number of quality in-state high school
students who have been rejected admis
sion to UNC, BOT member Annette Wood
said Tuesday. Wood said the University
should be open to handling “incremental
Sanford said he would send letters to
Student Body President Aaron Nelson,
Faculty Council Chairwoman Jane Brown
and Employee Forum Chairwoman Ann
Hamner requesting they appoint commit
teemembers. “Primarily (we will) broaden
the base to include groups that were al
ready not at the table.”
See ENROLLMENT, Page 4