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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC-system BOG finds positives among negative budget cut news

New chancellor honored amid cuts

Members of the UNC-system Board of Governors managed to find some positive items for discussion while continuing their grim talks about the impact of unprecedented budget cuts.

The board elected a new chancellor and honored a professor for exceptional humanitarian work, among discussion of rankings and records of UNC-system schools.

“Every North Carolinian deserves an education through UNC,” said UNC-system President Thomas Ross.

This will undoubtedly become more difficult to achieve with rising tuition costs and budget cuts, he said.

“This is not a budget crisis we blame anybody for,” Ross said. “We want to do everything we can to protect the University from permanent damage.”

A 15 percent cut in state funding would eliminate 3,200 overall positions, 1,500 faculty positions, 9,000 course sections and 240,000 class seats system-wide.

“If we have cuts of 15 percent, I think we all understand the quality of UNC will be diminished,” said UNC-system Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage.

Students will suffer as professors would not have the time or the resources to individualize attention, Ross said.

“Students tell me about not being able to get the courses they need to graduate,” he said. “Students are forced to drop out of school because of tuition increases.

“This vicious cycle undermines all of our efforts,” he said.

Gage said the family of a freshman this academic year will feel the difference in the type of education their child receives compared to a brother or sister who may have gone to UNC several years ago.

Many of the meeting’s attendees were there to honor David Belcher, the newly elected chancellor of Western Carolina University.

“I told (the search committee) to bring me a superman or a superwoman,” Ross said.

Belcher has served as the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 2003.

UNC-Charlotte professor Diane Browder was also honored with the O. Max Gardner Award, which recognizes faculty that has “made the greatest contributions to the welfare of the human race.”

Browder has worked to dispel the belief that children with severe disabilities could not learn cognitive or academic skills.

Ross also highlighted UNC-system mentions in university rankings by the U.S. News and World Report. UNC-CH was ranked first for its School of Information and Library Science, second for the master’s and doctorate programs of the Gillings School of Global Public Health and second for primary care in the medical school.

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University ranked tenth for primary care.

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