North Carolina Newspapers

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CAMPUS BRIEFS
Tie in Student Congress race
will lead to runoff election
A tie between write-in candidates
in Tuesday s Student Congress spe
cial election will result in there being
a runoff election next semester.
Heather Jankowski and Chris
Sherman both received 16 votes
in the race for a seat in District
7, which represents graduate stu
dents in the arts and sciences and
the humanities.
Election officials still have not
confirmed five of the six write-in
candidates in District 9, which is
composed of graduate students in
medical schools. All candidates in
that race received two votes.
SPORTS BRIEF
Curtain falls on former UNC
football player, NFL standout
SARASOTA, Fla. Bud Carson,
a former UNC football player
and the architect of Pittsburgh’s
“Steel Curtain” defense who later
coached the Cleveland Browns,
died Wednesday. He was 75.
Carson, who had been ill with
emphysema, died at his home,
according to his wife’s employer,
TV station WWSB.
He was a defensive back at North
Carolina from 1949-51 before
spending two years in the Marines.
He coached the freshman team in
1957 and was the backs coach from
1958-64.
Carson was the Steelers’ defen
sive coordinator from 1972-77, and
shaped a defense led by Joe Greene,
Jack Ham and Jack Lambert into
one of the best in NFL history.
During that time, the Steelers won
two Super Bowl titles under coach
Chuck Noll, and would go on to
win another two after Carson left.
He bounced around the league
as an assistant and was the head
coach of the Cleveland Browns for
one-and-a-half seasons.
“It was a privilege and an honor
to have coached with him in St.
Louis,” said UNC coach John
Bunting in a statement Wednesday.
“What a great, great coach and a
great human being. He was the
original tough guy.”
STATE 6 NATION
Supreme Court rules seniors,
disabled must pay off loans
WASHINGTON - America’s
seniors and disabled cannot escape
debts from old student loans,' the
Supreme Court ruled Wednesday,
freeing the government to pursue
Social Security benefits as part of
an effort to collect billions in delin
quent loans.
The Bush administration had
argued that the ability to withhold
Social Security benefits is an impor
tant tool in the pursuit of $5.7 bil
lion in student loan debt that is more
than 10 years old. Overall, outstand
ing loans total about $33 billion.
Government lawyers said that
there is a limit on how much can
be taken from benefit checks l5
percent —and that the education
department can forgive debts in
some hardship cases.
The unanimous decision went
against a disabled 67-year-old Seattle
man who lives in public housing and
who had sued, claiming he needed
all of his $874 monthly check to pay
for food and medicine.
James Lockhart’s benefits had
been cut by 15 percent to cover
debts he incurred for college in the
1980s. He has about $77,000 in
unpaid loans.
The court’s decision applies to
loans that date back more than 10
years and covers both disability
and retirement benefits under the
Social Security program.
WQRIaD BRIEFS
Court adjourns after Saddam
failed to appear in trial Wed.
BAGHDAD, Iraq Saddam
Hussein followed through
Wednesday on his threat to boycott
his trial, and the court adjourned
until after next week’s national
elections. Gunmen, meanwhile,
kidnapped the 8-year-old son of a
bodyguard for a judge in the case.
Inside the courtroom, one of
Saddam’s seven co-defendants
lashed out at conditions of his own
detention, saying guards offered only
“the worst brands” of cigarettes.
Barazan Ibrahim’s outburst
came a day after Saddam, his half
brother, warned that he would not
return to the “unjust” court to pro
test the conditions of his detention.
The group is on trial in the deaths
of more than 140 Shiite Muslims
following a 1982 assassination
attempt against him.
The court convened Wednesday
after four hours of behind-the
scenes consultations failed to resolve
the standoff. After hearing from two
more witnesses, Chief Judge Rizgar
Mohammed Amin adjourned the
hearings until Dec. 21 six days
after the parliamentary elections,
which officials fear might coincide
with a spike in insurgent violence.
From staff and wire reports.
UNC housing changes in works
Officials review recontracting process
BY ERIN ZUREICK
STAFF WRITER
Students hoping to live on campus
next school year might see changes
when they recontract this spring.
Housing officials and members
of the Residence Hall Association’s
board of governors met just before
Thanksgiving to begin discussing
possible changes to the way stu
dents sign up for campus housing.
Many potential changes loom on
the horizon, and although housing
officials remain mum on specifics,
details should be available to stu
dents by the end of January.
Larry Hicks, director of hous
ing and residential education, said
officials are scrutinizing the techno
logical aspects of recontracting after
problems in March caused double
bookings of rooms and login errors.
“It will be a lot easier and a bet
ter flow than before,” he said.
“You can try as hard as you can to solicit student opinion,
and no one gives you anything hack, emma hodson, district 1 representative
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Student Congress representatives Dax Dixon (left), Tyler Younts (center) and Luke Farley met in the Pit on Wednesday to talk with students.
The event saw a smaller tournout than last year's event, but students still have a chance to meet officials from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.
CONGRESS BRASS
MET WITH FEW
BY KATHERINE EVANS
STAFF WRITER
Prominent and influential student leaders
gathered in the Pit on Wednesday to listen
and respond to student concerns and needs.
But for the most part no one noticed.
Student Congress representatives, who
work in relative anonymity, staged their sec
ond annual Meet your Representative day
in the Pit in an attempt to gauge and even
create student awareness of their roles.
Easier said than done.
“I know zero representatives,” said sopho
more biology major Mark Roth, a member
of District 5, the Greek Housing district.
After almost four years at UNC, senior
Mike Garlow of the off-campus district
said he was completely unfamiliar with the
Renowned author
scripts visit to UNC
BY ORR SHTUHL
STAFF WRITER
One of America’s most celebrated
authors is coming to Chapel Hill.
National Book Award-winner
Joan Didion will spend about a week
on campus in late February working
with English students and faculty in
a visit that will culminate with a pub
lic lecture at Memorial Hall.
Didion’s visit is part of the
Morgan writer-in-residence pro
gram, which annually brings top
literary figures to campus to work
with students in the creative writ
ing program. The authors instruct
students on a personal level, offer
ing more discussion and interac
tion than a standard lecture.
During her stay, Didion will sit
in on classes and discuss literature
with creative writing students in a
small-classroom setting.
Although the lecture is expected
to draw the biggest crowd, spend
ing personal time with such a
Top News
Recontracting still will take place
online, Hicks said, but he declined to
comment on specific changes.
The process also likely will be
pushed back to a later date this spring
to limit the number of students who
cancel room reservations, said RHA
President Chasity Wilson.
“(It) will just give people more
time to decide what they want to
do,” she said.
Last spring, recontracting for
those looking to move across campus
occurred between March 29 and 31.
The August opening of the Ram
Village apartments, which will
house about 900 students, might
further complicate the process and
necessitate a separate recontract
ing process, Hicks said.
Rising juniors and seniors will
get the first shot at filling the
rooms, and priority will be given
on a first-come, first-serve basis.
goings-on of Congress.
“I’m a senior, and I definitely can’t name
any representatives,” he said. “And I was
going to run for Student Congress.”
But representatives said they hope their
outreach effort, spearheaded by Speaker
Luke Farley will change widespread student
indifference toward Congress.
“I think it’s important that we make our
selves available,” he said.
This focus on outreach, which began last
year with a similar event, also will encom
pass student surveys and a spring forum,
Farley said.
The event will continue from 10 a.m. to 2
p.m. today with representatives in the Pit.
The effort, which Farley said has more
Congress members involved than last year,
Joan Didion
will come to
campus in
February for one
week to teach
creative writing
students.
renowned writer is the highlight
for the department.
“The thing about the program
that is so phenomenal is access,”
said Susan Irons, English depart
ment director of events and special
programs. “We can give students
access to some of the best writers
in the country.... We have writers
talking to writers, and I think that
is a really important format.”
Didion originally was slated to
come to the University in 2003, but
following the death of her husband,
she went on sabbatical.
SEE DIDION, PAGE 11
And the opening of the five-build
ing apartment complex on South
Campus might relocate more upper
classmen to the area,
Wilson said housing officials have
discussed the possibility of housing
more freshmen and sophomores in
North Campus dorms. Housing offi
cials believe the hallway-style living
in those dorms is more conducive to
social interaction and academic life,
Wilson said.
She said she anticipates a
mixed reaction to the move if it’s
approved.
“Because we’re all kind of fixed
in our ways ... I think initially peo
ple are going to be a little confused
and even upset if these changes go
through,” she said. “As time passes,
students might realize that this is
actually benefiting students.”
And locating more juniors and
seniors on South Campus could
come naturally with the addition
of Ram Village, she said.
Christopher Payne, associate vice
is an attempt to both acquaint students with
issues and determine student needs.
“(This is) especially important for peo
ple off campus,” said Rep. Emma Hodson,
District 1. “It’s easier to outreach in dorms.”
Rep. Caroline Spencer, District 5, said she
had gone door to door talking to constitu
ents before several congressional decisions.
That kind of polling is helpful if she’s in the
middle of an issue, she said.
Student opinion can be hard to pinpoint,
Hodson said, because some students simply
have no opinion.
“It can he kind of hard,” she said. “You can
try as hard as you can to solicit student opin
ion, and no one gives you anything back.”
SEE CONGRESS, PAGE 11
Poll fries Southern identification
BY DESIREE SHOE
STAFF WRITER
The South.
Rarely can a single region con
jure up such different images.
Picturesque dogwood groves,
sweet tea and fried okra, and the
hospitality and friendliness of
strangers.
And then there are the darker
images of the South the bloody
horrors of the Civil War, racism,
ignorance and slavery.
But as modern industries and
sprawling suburbs emerge, not
everyone wants to identify with the
prototypical Southerner.
According to a recent Associated
Press-Ipsos poll, only 63 percent of
people living in the South identify
themselves as “Southern.”
Larry Griffin, a sociology pro
fessor at UNC who analyzed the
poll data, says people who have
lived in the South their entire lives
are likely to identify themselves as
Southern regardless of their eth
nicity, religion or political views.
“By far the single most impor
tant factor is having grown up and
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2005
chancellor for student affairs and
former housing director, said such a
move has been occurring gradually.
“Over the past few years there
has been a shift occurring where
there’s more of a rich mix of aca
demic classification across campus
housing,” he said.
Last year 20 percent of spots in
both North Campus and Middle
Campus residence halls were set
aside for incoming freshmen who
met the application deadline.
Hicks said those numbers are
not set in stone, but he declined to
say if more spots will be held next
year for incoming freshman.
Rick Bradley, assistant director
of information and communication
for housing and residential educa
tion, said officials now are evaluat
ing all their options, and he expects
decisions to be made by the end of
the semester.
Contact the University Editor
at udesk@unc.edu.
“The bottom line is that the South is
changing in dramatic ways, hut it will
never cease to he the South.”
BILL FERRIS, center for the study of the American south associate director
continuing to live in the South,” he
says. “The culture becomes part of
one’s identity, even if one under
stands that identity has negative
connotations.”
And Griffin says he believes
those negative connotations
have discouraged some native
Southerners from identifying
themselves as Southern.
Junior Danielle McLean agrees.
“People think Southerners aren’t as
smart as other people. Because we
talk differently, people may think
we’re not as sophisticated and
intellectual as other people that
may not have an accent.”
Griffin says many people reject
the label because they don’t like
the history of the South.
However, the downturn of
Southern identification isn’t neces
State
details
health
option
System leaders
skeptical of plan
BY ERIC JOHNSON
ASSISTANT STATE & NATIONAL EDITOR
As the outlines of a revamped
State Health Plan begin to take
shape, university officials remain
skeptical that anew design can
meet employee demands for afford
able coverage.
In an effort to address long
standing complaints with the state
employee health benefit, state offi
cials are negotiating the creation of
a preferred provider option, or PPO,
to offer employees greater choice.
The current indemnity plan
offered to all state employees the
only insurance option available
through the state has long been
criticized for its high out-of-pocket
costs and steep premiums for cov
ering spouses and dependents.
While there is no premium for
individual employee coverage, and
while overall benefits are generous,
adding a family to the plan costs
$480.14 per month. There is no
separate tier for spousal coverage,
so any employee looking to add
only a spouse to her state benefit
has to pay the family rate.
“It costs a significant percentage of
their income just to cover their fami
lies,” said Ernie Patterson, the newly
elected chairman of the Employee
Forum at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The indemnity plan also has a
family co-pay of up to $1,050 per
year, which greatly increases the
cost of doctor and hospital visits.
The result, say officials from
the university and the state, is that
many lower-income employees
forgo regular doctors visits and
often can’t afford full coverage for
their families.
“It creates a barrier to care as
opposed to allowing people to have
the kind of coverage that they need,”
said Dan Soper, chief operating offi
cer of the State Health Plan.
Establishing a PPO through an
existing company —most likely
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North
Carolina, Soper said would allow
the state to trim the cost of family
coverage and reduce co-pays and
deductibles. Employees would
be free to stick with the existing
indemnity plan, or they could opt
into the PPO.
Though the state has yet to enter
into substantive negotiations with
BCBS or any other health care pro
vider, officials already have presented
employees with an estimate of what
PPO costs might look like, based on
the existing rates of the BCBS plan.
The new option would add a spou
sal coverage tier at a cost of $405.14
per month and reduce family cover
age costs by SSO per month, down to
$430.14. It would also eliminate the
deductible requirement for doctor
appointments, charging only a S2O
co-pay for each office visit.
But UNC-system officials said
the plan likely won’t go far enough
to reduce costs, particularly for
lower-income employees.
“The rates are still, I think,
expensive for family members
to cover dependents,” said Kitty
McCollum, UNC-system associate
vice president for human resources.
“There’s a lot that we’re really not
SEE HEALTH PLAN, PAGE 11
sarily as dramatic as the AP-Ipsos
poll indicates, he says.
“It could be that there has been
a bit of a decline in the last 15 or so
years it’s difficult to tell because
the AP poll excluded Mississippi and
Louisiana,” he says. “And those states
have the highest rates of Southern
identification in the South.”
Bill Ferris, associate director
for the Center for the Study of the
American South, says the South’s
changing demographics also are
affecting Southern identification.
“There is a rapidly growing
Hispanic population here who
probably do not consider them
selves Southern because they
maintain their homes in Mexico
and other parts of the Southern
SEE SOUTHERN, PAGE 11
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