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The Daily Tar Heel

Program Scores Funding, Remains Afloat

The administration recently gave the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life $145,000.

The program, which helps elected officials and members of the media gain a better understanding of Southern political issues and trends, received $145,000 from the UNC offices of the chancellor and provost.

The money will fund the program for the next fiscal year, covering mostly salaries and operating expenses.

N.C. legislators completely eliminated the program's $225,000 budget but stipulated that the program could continue if it found alternative sources of funding.

The cut was one of several made to the University in the biennial budget as legislators struggled for months to build a budget and the state's economy continued to decline.

UNC Associate Provost Steve Allred said the University always has supported the program and wanted it to continue because the University is one of the leading forces of change in the South.

"The program is essentially a form of public service to inform people about various Southern issues," Allred said.

Ferrell Guillory, the program's director, said he was grateful that the legislature, although it cut the program's funding, stated specifically that the program could continue to operate with alternative funding. "If we were forced to shut down, it would have been very hard to start up again," he said.

Guillory said he thinks it is important to continue the program because of UNC's long tradition of active participation in Southern political issues.

"Carolina has served as a leading, intellectual institution in the South, and this program is designed to connect the University with opinion leaders and politicians in the South," he said.

Guillory added that the University's contribution, along with a grant received three years ago from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, will allow the program to continue publishing SouthNow, a twice-a-year public policy journal.

The program's Web site, http://www.SouthNow.org, offers an online version of the journal, as well as N.C. DataNet, a publication that analyzes trends in N.C. government and politics.

Guillory said he never considered shutting down the program, even after the General Assembly eliminated funding.

Guillory said he kept working to make sure the program would be maintained.

He added that in the end, he is happy the program is still up and running.

"We've had to tighten our belt," he said.

"We can't do everything we would like to because of the budget shortfall, but we are delighted to be able to continue."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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