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Officials have yet to determine the cause of the fire that took the life of
Roger Vanden Dorpel at Brookstone Apartments on Halloween night.
The Sitterson Hall bomb
threat was speculated to be
a tactic to cancel an exam
in a Computers 4 class.
By Kim Minugh
Students and faculty members evac
uated Sitterson Hall on Thursday after
noon after a bomb threat was called in
to the University switchboard.
Officials said the call was made to
switchboard operators, who then called
the UNC Department of Public Safety
at about 1:05 p.m. to alert police.
Maj. Jeff McCracken, deputy director
of DPS, said the unidentified caller gave
no specific information. “It was a very
brief, nondescript-type threat,” he said.
McCracken said officers responded
immediately and completed a walk
through search accompanied by inves
tigators and building management per
sonnel at Sitterson Hall.
Students and faculty members who
were forced to evacuate after the fire
alarm sounded waited outside the build
ing until about 3 p.m., when police
declared the building safe.
Although nothing has been con
firmed, some officials at the site ques
tioned whether the threat might have
been an attempt to delay a Computers 4
exam scheduled for 2 p.m.
McCracken said he had not yet heard
such an explanation, but the possibility
has not been ruled out. “There have
been cases before on college campuses
where bomb threats have been used (to
interrupt tests),” he said. “Whether or
not that is the case here, I have no way
of knowing. That’s always a possibility.”
The University Editor can be reached
Gov. Hunt ; N.C. Officials Push for Bond
By Michael McKnight
Who let the dogs out?
The state’s top dogs in higher educa
ion were unleashed on campus
Hiursday afternoon as part of a final
>ush for the $3.1 billion higher educa
ion bond referendum.
The referendum, which is on Tuesday’s
•allot, would provide money for capital
mprovements at the state’s public uni
ersities and community colleges.
Speakers at the rally, which was held
l front of Lenoir Dining Hall, included
Jov. Jim Hunt, UNC-system President
lolly Broad, Board of Governors
Chairman Ben Ruffin, N.C. Community
College System President Martin
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Rheta Burton (from left) posts Bush-Cheney campaign signs off campus in preparation for Tuesday's elections, Graduate
student Russ Helms requests signatures in the Pit on Thursday morning tor a petition to place the Libertarian Party
on the ballot in 2002. Jeff Nieman moderates a political debate on Student Television's "Feedback Live."
UNC Students Buck Youth Apathy Trend
By Nicole Gallagher
and Sara Parsons
The apathy of students toward the politi
cal process had been debated, defended
But regardless of statistics and opinions,
taking a look behind the scenes of this
year’s elections reveals young indi
viduals dedicated to politics.
Rheta Burton Jjj
When Rheta Burton walked into rijgn
the office of Sen. Hugh Webster, R- Jjpj
Alamance, three years ago, she
only wanted a college recommendation.
But after handling a call while waiting for
the senator in the understaffed and unorga
nized office, she walked out with a job.
For the rest of her senior year of high
school, Burton worked after school in the
financial department of Webster’s office.
Now a junior political science major,
Burton’s involvement spans beyond balanc
ing books and figuring taxes. She serves as
Lancaster and State Community College
Board Chairman Herman Porter.
The group spent Thursday traveling
the state in an ongoing effort to rally
votes for the bond referendum. Recent
polls suggest the majority of likely voters
support the bond. The Daily Tar Heel
also conducted exit polls last week at
Morehead Planetarium’s satellite poll
site. Of those polled at Morehead, 454
people said they voted for the bond,
while only 30 said they voted against it.
But Hunt said the event was aimed at
more than just persuading students to vote
for the bond. He said UNC-Chapel Hill
was an appropriate place to rally support
for the higher education bonds because it
is the nation’s oldest public university.
Broad said the delegation attended
Serving the students and the University community since 1893
Body in Fire Named as UNC Worker
By Theo Helm
Officials have identified the body of a
man found in the rubble of Tuesday
night’s fire at the Brookstone
The victim, Roger Vanden Dorpel,
51, was employed by UNC Hospitals in
the diagnostic radiology department as
an X-ray technician. He lived at 1116
“His co-workers liked him very
much, and they are devastated,” said
Lynn Wooten, spokesman for UNC
Hospitals. “It’s a great shock.”
Officials are now working to identify
the cause of the blaze, which also injured
the senator’s campaign treasurer in his race
“I loved my civic classes in high school,
and I always read the paper to keep up with
current events, but working in the office put
a reality with something I loved,” she said.
In 1998, she worked on Lauch Faircloth’s
U.S. Senate campaign. And the next year
she helped with Leo Daughtry’s campaign
for governor before he lost in the primaries.
vaitine for 1
Burton works for Webster 20 to 25
hours a week at UNC, writing board of
; elections reports on her laptop and
P3& planning receptions from her resi
(jgj dence hall.
l And adding the 15 hours a week
| Burton devotes to the College
Republicans as first vice chairwoman,
her political involvement is almost a full
time job. “My family thinks I am weird;
they aren’t that political,” she said. “But I
think being so knowledgeable and involved
in the political process makes me a better
person. Since I know more, I can do more
to help out and let other people see the
fight on who is making decisions for them.”
bond rallies at both N.C. Agricultural &
Technical University and Piedmont
Central Community College on
Thursday morning before making a final
stop in the Pit.
Hunt, a well-known education advo
cate, said he hoped the rally would raise
awareness about the bond’s impact on the
state’s future. “It may be the most impor
tant vote we’ve ever cast,” he said. “We
have a tradition of higher education, and
we have a responsibility to make sure it is
accessible to all who qualify.”
Hunt said the state’s future economic
security is also at stake. “Hundreds and
hundreds of students who wanted to take
courses (at community colleges) to get
better jobs could not get in because we
did not have room for them,” he said.
Tale of the Turf
The UNC football team heads
north to take on the University
of Pittsburgh. See Page 7
two women and destroyed eight units at
the complex, located off Homestead
Road. Chapel Hill Fire Chief Danjones
said the fire marshal’s office and the
State Bureau of Investigation are han
dling the investigation. “They’re out
there as we speak,” Jones said. “It’s a
pretty involved process.”
Jones said there is no way to predict
when the investigation will be completed.
“It could take anywhere from three or
four days to a month,"Jones said. “Only
the simplest fires can be solved quickly.”
Melanie Thomas, SBI special agent in
charge of the capital district, also said she
does not know how long the investigation
will take. “We don’t have a timetable,”
Thomas said. “We could feasibly be there
. n m
Burton considers her work as important
to the candidates as it is to her.
“I feel good putting a young person’s
opinion into government and politics,” she
said. “Some candidates only get views from
one side or age. It is good to get an opinion
from the other side of the spectrum.”
And although Burton said she knows not
all students are going to devote the majority
of their week to campaigning for a cause,
she said it is important for them to be active
in the system. “You don’t have to be a polit
ical junkie like I am, just as long as you
believe in something and you get out and
vote,” sh§ said.
Some ask Burton If she will ever have
her own office, like the one she walked into
three years ago with only a love for civics
and current events. “I say ‘no way,’ I am
more of a behind-the-scenes person.”
From an appearance on Student
Television to rallying support in the Pit,
See POLITICS, Page 2
“Folks, this year you will have a chance to
do something about that.”
Hunt told students the bond would
benefit them even after graduation.
“This vote isn’t only about your future,
it is about the future of your brothers
and sisters who are coming behind you.”
Hunt reminded students of the great
influence they could have on the refer
endum’s outcome. He told how UNC
CH students helped John F. Kennedy
carry the state in the 1960 presidential
election and challenged students to do
the same for the bond referendum.
“I’m not asking you to go out and just
vote, I’m asking you to go out and
work,” he said. “You talk to everybody
See RALLY, Page 2
. Q :
all day and back tomorrow.”
Thomas said the site must be deemed
safe before investigators can begin work.
“The first thing we consider is the
safety issue,” Thomas said. “We have to
make it safe before the arson investiga
tors arrive. The length of the investiga
tion depends on how quickly they can
get the debris moved out.”
Brenda Measamer, regional vice
president of Pinnacle Realty
Management Company in Raleigh,
which oversees Brookstone, estimated
damage to be about $500,000.
“If it’s just those eight units, it’s about
half a million (dollars),” Measamer said.
“We’ll definitely bulldoze what’s left and
start from scratch.”
No Excuse Voting
Deemed a Success
Today is the last day that voters registered
in Orange County can use the No Excuse
Voting site at the Morehead Planetarium.
By Jennifer Samuels
Many N.C. residents have found that there is no excuse for
not voting in the 2000 general election.
Despite some legal problems, state officials are calling No
Excuse absentee voting a success. The new program, aimed at
increasing voter turnout, ends today.
No Excuse Voting allows people to vote any time during
the three weeks preceding the Nov. 7 election. Polling places,
including one located at the Morehead Planetarium, will be
open from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. today. Any voter registered
in Orange County can vote at the Morehead Planetarium.
Gary Bardett, N.C. Board of Elections director, said the
program was successful, despite a shortage of voting equip
ment and a lack of people to run poll sites.
Bartlett said that more money - between $20,000 to
$30,000 per site - was needed to properly fund the program.
But not everyone supports No Excuse Voting.
A lawsuit recendy was brought against No Excuse Voting,
claiming the program was unconstitutional based on a provi
sion stipulating that the president be elected only on the first
Tuesday of November. The lawsuit was dropped, though,
because documents in the case were handled incorrecdy.
Sen. Elbe Kinnaird, D-Orange, said it was ironic that
Republicans initiated the lawsuit because more Republicans
than Democrats have taken advantage of No Excuse Voting.
Kinnaird proposed the program in the N.C. General
Assembly in 1998. “Republicans tried to stop the bill the leg
islature, but I understand that more Republicans have voted,”
she said. “It just shows that everyone wants the opportunity to
vote. It’s not a partisan issue.”
Bardett said he was pleased with voter turnout
“We knew it would be busy, but we had no idea that it
would be impacted so gready,” Bardett said.
Although no official figures are available, he said more than
200,000 voters participated at 158 No Excuse poll sites, one of
which was located near the campus of each UNC-system
school and at several community colleges.
Carolyn Thomas, director of the Orange County Board of
Ejections, said the Morehead Planetarium was chosen due to
See NO EXCUSE, Page 2
ligwy a jigg
Gov. Jim Hunt speaks to students in the Pit on Thursday. Hunt has been
traveling around the state promoting thj> higher education bond.
Today: Sunny, 77
Saturday: Cloudy, 74
Sunday: Sunny, 62
Friday, November 3, 2000
The damaged units did not have
sprinklers because the buildings were
erected before sprinklers were required
by law, Jones said. “There’s nothing
under the law we can do,” he said.
“When they rebuild, they’ll have to have
sprinklers. Anything bigger than 5,000
square feet must have sprinklers.”
Measamer said she does not know if
sprinklers will be installed in other
buildings at Brookstone.
“I wouldn’t make that decision,”
Measamer said. “It would come from
our main office.”
Jones said renters must ask their
apartment managers for sprinklers to
See FIRE, Page 2