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THURSDAY, JULY 11.1996
Sigma Chi Fire
A former acquaintance of a Sigma Chi fraternity member has
been charged with intentionaHy setting the June 8 fire at the
fraternity. Erika Lee Biemer, 19, of Apex was indicted Tuesday on
charges of first-degree arson, first-degree burglary and damage to
property, Chapel Hill police said.
Biemer, an acquaintance of a Sigma Chi fraternity member,
was expected to turn herself in Wednesday and be formally
charged. Biemer used to attend N.C. State University, although
she is not enrolled for fall semester, the registrar’s office said.
Police could not comment on the possible motive for the fire.
Biemer’s attorney, William D. Young IV, could not be reached.
Director of Greek Affairs Ron Binder said he could not believe
that someone would intentionally set the fire, especially after the
May 12 Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house fire that killed five
UNC students. “This is a very scary proposition that someone
would do this,” he said.
Although concerned about the fires that have plagued two
UNC fraternities within a two-month span, Binder said he is glad
that there has been some kind of closure to this. “We are happy
that that a conclusion has been reached on this,” Binder said.
Fraternities and the Office of Greek Affairs have been working
together to improve security for the fraternities and sororities.
Renovations to Fraternity Court have continued and some
projects were moved up after the fire. “We have installed three
new lights to the parking lot in the Fraternity Court since the
Sigma Chi break-in,” Binder said. “Hopefully this will cut down
on crime that is targeted toward fraternities and sororities.”
The Sigma Chi fire caused more than $5,000 in damage to the
house. The seven fraternity members and one visitor safely es
caped the early morning blaze. Fire officials credit their safe
escape in part to major renovations to the house last September.
Getting a fair share
UNC System Could Feel Effects of Recent Affirmative Action Decision
UNC System Running a Steady Race
Despite a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the use
of minority status as a factor in college admissions, the racial
distribution of students enrolled in UNC-system schools has not
changed significantly during the past 17 years.
RACIAL DISTRIBUTION OF UNC-SYSTEM STUDENTS
SOURCE: STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN NORTH CAROLINA
To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.
To Know You...
Hinton James' 'faculty link'
program brings together
students and faculty. Page 4
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■— ————i _j
UNC alumna Lynda Lipson hurls a javelin daring training for the Olympics at Fetzer Field.
The U.S. Track and Field Team is training in Chapel Hill through July 17. See story page 9.
DTH/ BETH POWERS
Aiming for Atlanta
BY JON WILLIAMS
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to let stand a sth
U.S. Court of Appeals ruling barring Texas, Louisiana and
Mississippi colleges from using race as a factor in their
admissions process has schools in North Carolina wondering
about their own admission standards.
The federal court ruling did not set a binding national prece
dent as would a Supreme Court ruling, leaving schools across the
nation—including those in the UNC system—wondering which
legal precedent they should follow.
“This ruling has really no affect on the UNC system, but it does
leave the door open for other trial cases to be heard that could
affect (UNC),” Student Body President Aaron Nelson said.
Although admissions practices have received criticism, student
leaders have continued to protect affirmative action and minority
presence grants, said John Dervin, president of the Association of
“We need to reaffirm our commitment to these policies,” he
Dervin said the recent Supreme Court decision sent a bad
“This failure to set a national precedent will cause people to
continue to test affirmative action,” he said. “And it prevents
schools from being able to set admission policies because they are
not sure what the law is.”
But although this confusion was felt at schools here in North
Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill had less to wony about due to the
many factors that go into admitting applicants, administrators in
undergraduate admissions said.
“We do not have an open door policy at UNC,” said Herb
Davis, associate director of Undergraduate Admissions.
Davis said many factors went into deciding whether they
granted a student enroUment, race being only a small part of the
See SYSTEM, Page 9
A Brief History of Affirmative
Action and College Admissions
Affirmative action practices
within the college admis
sions process were dealt a
stunning blow July 1 as the U.S.
Supreme Court upheld a March rul
ing by the sth U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals that said race cannot be
used as a factor for college admis
The circuit court determined that
the University of Texas law school
admissions policy was discrimina
The sth Circuit, which has juris
Low Rent, High
The Chapel Hill Town
Council approved a loan for
affordable housing. Page 5
diction over Texas, Louisiana and
Mississippi, based its decision on
the grounds that admissions prac
tices that considered race as a factor
caused white students to be passed
over while less-qualified blacks and
hispanics were accepted. Because
the Supreme Court refused to hear
the case, the 5 th Circuit ruling stands
for states in its jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court has refused
to hear, and thus has upheld, other
anti-affirmative action cases.
In 1994, the Supreme Court re
fused to hear a case against the Uni-
See AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, Page 5
A Happy Meal
In a Happy Home
The Ronald McDonald
House serves the families
of hospitalized kids. Page 2
To Be Elected
BY JEANNE FUGATE
The UN C Board of Governors will likely
elect Charlotte businessman C. Cliff
Cameron as its next chairman in an impor
tant transitional year.
The race pitted three hopefuls in a be
hind-the-scenes contest, from which
Cameron, 76, emerged triumphant.
Cameron, who would be the first
Charlottean to head the board, called him
self a “shoe-in.” Board members Irvin
Aldridge ofManteo and Lois Britt ofMount
Olive dropped out of the race leaving him
and if there’s no
Chairman to Play
Role in Search for
See Page 4
and I get nominated, then the chances of it
happening are pretty good,” he said.
Cameron will find out for sure at Friday’s
BOG meeting when current Chairman Sam
Neill of Henderson steps down.
Cameron said he had already received
congratulatory calls from several chancel
lors on Tuesday.
Having an uncontested election for BOG
chairman is not out of the ordinary,
“There could have been candidates in
some of those early on, ” he said. “It would
only be contested if the nominees were
placed on the table before the board on the
day of the election.”
Joni Worthington, assistant vice presi
dent for communications in the UNC sys
tem, said there was never an announced
slate of candidates going into the election.
“What routinely happens is they open
the floor to nominations and various board
members will nominate someone,” she
Cameron and others said the real slate
was announced on a more personal basis
long before the election.
“Individuals who have had an interest
would announce that interest by purely a
one-on-one-type politicking,” Cameron
“I assume it’s like in any race, any
contest, any political environment, that
certain people have the desire to run for
one of the offices,” he said. “And they start
politicking by contacting members and
asking for their votes, and this goes on until
it gets to the place where it appears that
they don’t have an adequate number of
Council Member Booth-Powell
Passes Away After Long Illness
Funeral services were held Wednesday
for Chapel Hill Town Council member
Barbara Booth-PoweU, who died Sunday
after a lengthy illness that kept her from
attending council meetings for months.
After a unanimous appointment to the
council in October 1992 and a general
election win in November 1994, Booth-
Powell fought to provide for those Chapel
Hill residents in need of assistance.
“She cared a lot about those she per
ceived as disadvantaged or thought needed
help,” Chapel Hill Mayor Rosemary
While on the council, Booth-Powell
worked especially hard to represent mi
norities and lower-paid town workers.
“She took very seriously her responsi
bilities to represent the minority commu
nity and the community she lived in,”
Evans said many people overlooked
the fact that Booth-Powell had been a large
supporter of new jobs.
“It’s been on the radio and it’s been on
the news that she worked for her commu
nity, but one thing that was not focused on
was that she worked for job creation be
cause there are a lot of people who are
underemployed,” Evans said. “She looked
for ways the economy could grow and
there would be job creation.”
Although Booth-Powell had not been
able to attend Town Council meetings for
the past three months, Waldorf said she
103 years of editorial freedom
Serving the students and the Univtility
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Chapel Hill. North Carolina
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All rights reserved.
votes to be successful and they withdraw.”
Despite the politicking, Cameron said
the BOG chairman race was not like vying
for a normal public office because of the
limited —and countable number of
votes arising from a 32-member board.
“Here you can count the votes,”
Cameron said. “If you don’t get firm com
mitments, you withdraw.”
Aldridge wrote Cameron a letter last
week announcing his decision not to run.
“Mr. Cameron’s got enough votes to
win, and I can count,” he said. “I didn’t
want my supporters to vote for someone
who would lose, so I decided to gracefully
Aldridge, who is up for re-election next
year, said he did not expect to win.
“When I started I knew it was a long
shot,” Aldridge said. “I told supporters if I
decided I couldn’t win I would just with
Aldridge said the nature of a three-per
son race caused some difference of opin
ion. “Any time you have three people
running you have controversy,” he said.
But he said he was ready to move ahead.
“I’m looking forward to working with
Mr. Cameron and to working with the
BOG as long as I’m privileged to be there,”
Cameron said Britt, chairwoman of the
BOG Committee on Personnel and Ten
ure, fell out of the race three or four weeks
ago. She is expected to vie for BOG secre
tary against John Cecil of Asheville.
Britt was unavailable for comment.
UNC-system President C.D. Spangler
said he was glad the race continued to
generate such active participation.
“I am delighted there has always been
an active interest in this because it signifies
the importance of this position,” he said.
“If there was not active interest in who was
chairman of the BOG it would be an unfor
A longtime supporter of North
Carolina's higher education, Cameron
served on the original 100-person UNC
board prior to restructuring for the system
in the ’6os and was instrumental in bring
ing UNC-W ilmington and UNC-Asheville
into the consolidated University system.
Using this background in higher educa
tion, Cameron saidhewas tentatively plan
ning for next year.
“The biggest and most pressing issue
will be the search process to find a succes-
See CHARIMAN, Page 9
Council member BARBARA BOOTH
POWELL died Sunday afternoon.
continued to be involved in the council.
“She was following the council’s ac
tions closely, ” Waldorf said. “She received
all of the council’s written materials, and
she was reading the newspapers. She stayed
on top of things.”
Council member Joe Capowski said
Booth-Powell had also worked closely with
preparations for the 1996-1997 Budget.
“It was in part to her credit that we gave
the greatest salary increases to town em- ,
See BOOTH-POWELL Page 2