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UNC-system happenings, October 4, 2013

UNC-C fraternity suspended for hazing

The UNC-Charlotte chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha has been suspended for an alleged hazing event at a mountain retreat, following the hospitalization of a new member.

At the mountain retreat, which only included a handful of members from the fraternity, new members were allegedly forced to drink alcohol. This resulted in the hospitalization of one of the new members — whose blood alcohol level was at 0.42 percent — and an investigation by the university.

UNC-C Interfraternity Council President Brady Nails said the university suspended Pi Kappa Alpha for 10 years, although police charges were dropped. Members cannot claim alumni status and functions cannot be held in the fraternity’s name during the suspension.

The IFC had recommended a five-year suspension, but the university decided on a longer punishment, he said.

“This was an exception,” Nails said. “Sometimes bad things happen, and it is unfortunate.”

Pi Kappa Alpha will not appeal the university’s decision, he said.

NC State aims to increase graduation rate

By the year 2020, N.C. State University officials hope to reach the goal of graduating 80 percent of students within four to six years.

“We want to improve student success and make it more likely that students leave N.C. State with a degree,” said Trey Standish, assistant director for enrollment planning.

Standish said in the past decade, four- to six-year graduation retention rates have hovered at about 70 to 74 percent.

“There are a variety of factors that affect school retention,” Standish said. “We have done surveys in the past of students who have left the institution and the reasons for leaving are typical to most universities, like a major not being available, not being able to maintain a high enough GPA or personal problems.”

Not only have graduation rates increased with each incoming class, but the school itself is also becoming more selective with average SAT scores rising for the whole university.

“A few years ago, our freshman class was almost 5,000 students, but this most recent class was a little under 4,200,” Standish said. “It is true that our SAT scores and our graduation rates are increasing, but the causal link is difficult to establish. We are putting in programs to help students succeed better, as well as working on policy bottlenecks to see if there are places where students are repeatedly running into problems.”

ASU student government aims to lift skateboard ban

Appalachian State University’s student government is in talks with the town council of Boone in hopes of lifting a long-standing ban on skateboarding in the community.

“What we want to do is take the focus off of skateboarding,” said Dylan Russell, student body president. “At Appalachian State University, we are nationally known for our sustainable efforts, so we want to provide a sustainable alternative to driving for our students — whether that is skateboarding, long-boarding or riding a scooter.”

After past students used a memorial dedicated to war veterans as a skateboarding venue, the ban in Boone was enacted.

“The town views skateboarding as dangerous because of accidents that occurred in the past,” said Carson Rich, the student director of sustainability. “The town’s infrastructure isn’t exactly friendly towards skateboarding, so we are working to create paths for skateboarders that will be safe.”

Currently, the town council and student government are having discussions about implementing a trial period to allow skateboards.

“We have a great relationship with the town, and we want to keep that relationship going,” Russell said. “We want to keep this a community effort.”

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NC A&T gets simulation lab

Last Monday, a brand-new, state-of-the-art simulation lab was added to the facilities at the N.C. Agricultural & Technical State University’s School of Nursing.

The lab, which will serve nearly 450 nursing students, is placed in a newly renovated space and features the newest computer and simulation technologies.

The renovations were funded by Title III federal grants — which are allocated to historically black colleges and universities — and the lab equipment was purchased gradually by the school throughout the past few years.

“This will be an opportunity to learn beyond the classroom,” said Inez Tuck, dean of the nursing school. “Students can take theory from the classroom and apply it in simulated clinical trials, where they can receive immediate feedback.”

The simulators, which feature mannequins that are programmed by computers, can mimic a real-life clinical patient having health issues, like high blood pressure and respiratory problems, that students have to treat.

Tuck said these simulation labs, which are present at most nursing schools, including UNC-CH’s, are important because they allow students to assess problems and get immediate feedback on their treatments.