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UNC faculty committee discusses scholarships, Alert Carolina in meeting

Buying textbooks cheap from Amazon could be contributing to UNC’s lack of scholarship funds, University officials said.

“When you buy eBooks, the bookstore loses its 25 percent markup on books,” said Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost, in a faculty executive committee meeting Monday.

Profits earned from the UNC Student Stores go toward scholarships and financial aid. Carney said this funding has decreased from $750,000 a year to $500,000 in the past few years.

Carney attributed the decline to students turning to websites and used bookstores to purchase textbooks.

Carney, who answered questions about the proposed tuition increases and budget issues, was one of three speakers who appeared at the meeting.

Chief of campus police Jeff McCracken spoke about the new Alert Carolina posters, which have been placed in each classroom, and answered questions about the protocol for handling specific emergencies.

“The weak spot in the emergency plan is communicating with those who are inside buildings, so the posters were created to identify what to do if you are in a classroom when the sirens sound,” McCracken said.

Members of the committee brought up concerns that the posters are not building-specific, which could cause problems in understanding where to go in the event of an emergency.

McCracken said he agreed that the posters are generic, but creating specific posters for each building on campus would be too large an undertaking.

Instead, faculty should familiarize themselves with the building in which their classrooms are located to better prepare for an emergency situation, he said.

The third speaker, Mary Beth Koza, director of the Department of Environment, Health and Safety, also addressed safety concerns at the University.

Koza spoke about laboratory safety and the Chemical Safety Board, a federal agency that investigates chemical incidents.

The board is beginning to focus its attention on colleges due to recent accidents in labs at other schools, she said.

“If UNC has a severe accident, we will be targeted and it will be publicized,” Koza said.

Some committee members said many students disregard safety in laboratories, such as wearing safety goggles and lab coats.

Koza said it is important to enforce these practices.

“You can’t make safety an option,” she said.

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