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UNC student body president candidates have different advising plans

Will Leimenstoll- SBP candidate

Tuition has dominated debate in the student body president race so far, but academic initiatives in candidates’ platforms reveal different priorities.

In the past, candidates’ academic affairs platforms have focused on improving academic advising in broad ways. This year, no common theme has emerged.

A campus community

Administrators have cited faculty retention as the primary evidence for the need for large tuition increases.

Leimenstoll said he will connect students with faculty that need childcare through his “Tar Heel Sitters” initiative.

“Faculty recognition, faculty honor roll and Tar Heel Sitters are all new budget-neutral initiatives thought of by our team,” he said.

Leimenstoll said these programs would build a sense of community that could help retain some faculty.

He said he will also publicize and expand current departmental advising programs by involving more faculty.

But Lee May, associate dean and director of academic advising, said faculty advising is more effective when it is organic.

“Advising is a new role for faculty — faculty have to research, publish and teach,” said May.

Graduate student mentors

Tim Longest said graduate students want to be more involved — an opportunity his graduate-undergraduate mentor program would provide.

“With weekly meet-ups between mentor and student, the idea is to make more informal relationships between graduate and undergraduate students,” Longest said.

He said he will also encourage academic advising to work with the Learning Center and Counseling and Wellness.

“A lot of stress students have comes from academic pressures,” he said.

Longest said he will work to improve advising and registration through a weekly live chat where advisors would answer questions about course planning.

Civility and inclusivity

Calvin Lewis Jr. said his administration would work to diminish classroom dialogue that degrades a specific gender, race, nationality, sexuality or other identification.

“The key principle is fostering an environment in which professors are more aware of their language,” Lewis said.

The initiative is based on a current program at San Jose State University, he said.

Lewis said he will work with the dean of students and academic advisors to determine the best way to approach faculty and make students feel comfortable in the classroom.

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“I hope his idea would help folks become more aware of their language,” said Terri Houston, senior director of recruitment and multicultural programs.

“How to monitor that? I’m not quite sure.”

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