The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday January 30th

A bigger problem than registration

Last week’s registration brought back painful memories of CTOPS. Luckily, we have developed quite a bit since that awkward two-day period. We are no longer walking around with those tacky lanyards on our necks. We’ve put down the campus maps and we’ve found better places to keep our keys.

Unfortunately, registration for spring wasn’t easier. An orientation leader may no longer be hastening us into a computer lab, but the process is still just as stressful, if not more, than the fall semester.

Let’s pretend the fifteen minute advising session was less cryptic and ConnectCarolina had run without freezing every five seconds (ha!). Even in a much kinder alternate universe, without those impediments, we could be doomed in the future as the UNC-system schools continue to cut back.

Yes, people with earlier registration times stole away the classes we stressed over picking — the classes we hoped would at the very least fulfill another strident general education requirement.

But this period could become even more chaotic as budget cuts make tuition increases necessary to maintain the academic integrity of this institution.

For some time, Erskine Bowles and other university officials have said extreme budget cuts could increase class sizes and decrease course availability. But what about when budget cuts are no longer hidden from the course catalog — what about when they’re apparent?

What happens when a $950 increase in tuition isn’t enough?

Students, parents, and faculty alike are displeased with the tuition hike. But while we’re all outraged and rethinking our methods of payment for college, it’s clear we’ll have to think again next year.

The hard part is, if tuition isn’t raised to obscene levels, registration may get even more complicated as the classes we need are cut from the schedule.

Sure, I realize that Article IX Section 9 of the North Carolina Constitution requires that the General Assembly provide benefits that can be extended “as far as practicable, to the people of the State free of expense.” But it is becoming more and more evident this clause conflicts with Chancellor Thorp and Executive Vice Chancellor Bruce Carney’s reassurance the University “will continue to do everything possible to protect the University’s instructional mission” — to educate.

And there are other ways — probably less politically suicidal ways — to ensure the benefits we have come to enjoy at UNC are protected. Maybe laws could be changed to let in more out-of-state students. Certainly that would bring in more tuition money without causing too much harm to the institution’s obligations to this state. Out-of-state students make up about 31 percent of the University of Virginia’s student body, compared to UNC’s meager 18 percent.

This problem is worse than the typical issue of underclassmen not getting every class they desire. So, until the General Assembly can restore proper funding, we must be willing to bear burdens — but they need to be worth it.

Or maybe they could just keep the lanyards and send the campus maps via e-mail. That should add at least one class, right?

Hinson Neville is a first-year business major from Roanoke Rapids. Contact him at nevilleh@email.Unc.Edu.

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