Hinton said the advisers he worked with after transferring to UNC in 2013 weren’t familiar with the restrictions and loopholes of the GI Bill.
“There’s a few veterans I know who have failed out of Carolina because they don’t have resources,” he said. “Resources such as academic advising or counseling specific to combat operations.”
Hinton praised the efforts of Assistant Dean of Students Brian Papajcik to develop programs for veterans and help them better connect with other veterans on campus.
“Brian Papajcik works alone, and it’s only part of his job to work with veterans,” he said. “Currently, all the efforts for veteran recognition and awareness fall on either Brian Papajcik or students.”
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jim Campbell also presented at Thursday’s meeting and echoed Hinton’s call for improvement.
“His recommendations were spot on,” Campbell said.
The need has risen for veterans to be served on campus, Hinton said, and with it comes a need for more personnel specifically devoted to serving veteran students.
“One solution would be a full-time position,” Provost Jim Dean said. “What we’re focused on is how to meet those needs, how to make sure that we’re giving veterans everything that what we can.”
Dean said while the University is actively looking at the possibility of a full-time position for veteran affairs, multiple part-time positions and specified faculty advisers are also being considered as potential solutions.
“The key thing is to have the hours and people devoted to it, not necessarily that it’s contained in one person,” he said.
Dean said the programs currently in place for veteran students are just the beginning, and the University is expecting to announce more programs in the coming year.
“We have made a sincere effort to understand your world,” Dean said. “While I’m proud of what we’ve done, I think we have a long way to go.”
Powell has been working with Hinton to draft a rough plan to get veterans involved on campus, a plan that includes a full-time, paid position.
“We’re strained for resources in a lot of different places,” Powell said. “And this is definitely one of them.”
Powell said veteran students face issues particularly with financial aid and feeling welcome on campus — high priority issues for Powell.
“There are a number of things that we can really do better,” he said.
“I think everybody’s going to be supportive of that if we can find a way to make it work financially, and I’m confident we will.”