UNC students had a chance to air their concerns about the University in an open house meeting with the administration Wednesday.
“All the questions that you ask are the same questions that we ask every day,” said Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs. “And we’re trying to figure it all out.”
The Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor hosted the public forum in the Student Union where several top administrators — including Chancellor Carol Folt and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean — had a chance to sit down with about 50 students and alumni for an hour and address their questions and comments.
“It’s about doing what we do with pride and intensity to make it better,” said Folt. “You can’t fix it all in just two weeks.”
This has been the first open house that SACC has been able to hold this academic year since Folt and Dean joined the administration in 2013. SACC is an all-student committee that meets with the chancellor once a month to represent the student perspective on a lot of issues.
For the first 30 minutes of the meeting, the administrators rotated to different small groups to talk to students.
“I want to see what the chancellor and administration are doing to help out students that are affected by the tuition hike that’s underway,” said sophomore Nabil Lachgar. “For students that can’t afford it, Carolina is losing potentially great students.”
Topics that were brought up included gender-neutral housing, the Greek system, on-campus voting services, sustainability projects, mental health awareness and many more.
When a student asked about UNC’s response to athletics being more “defensive” than “offensive,” Dean said UNC was working to reform through the Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group.
“It’s important for us to understand what the opportunities are and the changes that need to be made,” he said. “Sometimes perception isn’t reality.”
Sophomore Jack Largess attended the open house because he said it was a chance to hear from administrators.
“I want to know what they’ve been up to and what they think of everything that’s been in the news lately,” he said.
SACC member Lincoln Pennington said this being Folt’s first year at UNC, they wanted her to better understand the campus — and he said there was no better way than talking to students.
Crisp said he will host another open house for students March 25.
“If you didn’t go to school or live here and only saw the media, you would think that nothing happened here,” said Crisp on UNC’s spotlight in the news the past few months. “If people really want to know our values and what we’re about, come and see us.”
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