“We’re very excited about the opportunity to elevate the needs of veterans,” Spellings said. “We are at the moment underweight with respect to the large number of veterans that we have in our state and the services and educational attainment levels that are currently in place here in North Carolina - so we can improve and we will improve.”
The Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions met Tuesday to outline its goals of understanding the needs and fighting challenges faced by UNC-System institutions that primarily enroll minority students.
Leaders from UNC-Pembroke, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Central University, N.C. A&T University and Winston-Salem State University outlined the current state of each institution, frequently pointing to the need for more funding, faculty, research resources and infrastructural improvements.
Robin Cummings, chancellor of UNC-P, thanked BOG Chairperson Harry Smith for establishing the committee to improve representation of the state’s minority-serving colleges.
“I certainly want to thank (Smith) for forming this committee,” Cummings said. “I would agree with him that the need is there and sometimes when you are a small institution, it’s easy for your voice to not be heard and overlooked. As I’ve been at Pembroke for the last three years, that’s something I’ve received the impression of.”
The institutions’ leaders expressed the desire to improve student enrollment, retention and graduation rates, which tend to be lower than the national average at peer institutions. Many of them cited improving campus infrastructure and resources as ways to attract and retain students.
“We have critical infrastructural challenges, and every HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) here has these challenges,” James Anderson, chancellor of Fayetteville State University said.
Darrell Allison, chairperson of the special committee, said an interim report will be given by Dec. 1 to the BOG through the Committee on Educational Planning, Policies and Programs and the Committee on Budget and Finance. The report will likely include the challenges faced by these institutions and the status of their infrastructural, funding and human capital needs.
The Committee on Healthcare met on Tuesday in closed session.
The forced removal of Silent Sam by demonstrators on Monday night was not addressed during the committee meetings but was briefly referenced by a board member.
Leo Daughtry, member of the BOG and the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, addressed the committee regarding the events of the protest before discussing committee matters.
"I am saddened by the events of last night," Daughtry said. "I'm disappointed it happened, and I hope the University responds."