The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday June 6th

Faculty Council talk Spellings, Student Stores at October meeting

The first Faculty Council meeting since the election of new UNC-system president Margaret Spellings predictably revolved around George W. Bush's former secretary of education. 

Several faculty members expressed their concerns about Spellings at the meeting Friday, but Chancellor Carol Folt remained positive.

“She hasn’t had the chance to come on campus, but I’ve already begun to have conversations with her about our university, what we do, who we are, and she starts in March,” Folt said. “We have lots of time to really develop an understanding for her about what our special aspirations are.”

Geography professor Altha Cravey was one of the council members to express concerns about how Spellings was elected.

“There was a very strong statement by Faculty Assembly about the process and about how our processes of shared governance have deteriorated within the past five years in the UNC system,” she said.

Folt said she and the other chancellors of UNC-system schools were part of the conversation in making the mission statement for the universities, but the candidate pool was kept confidential.

“I am familiar, as a lot of you are, with searches of people who are the president and truthfully I was private,” she said at the meeting. “They did the search for the chancellor without inviting everybody into a public forum. They do that for all the presidents and all the chancellors — that’s how they run. I’m quite understanding that when you’re looking for people at that level, you frequently do not open it.”

Student Stores saga

Matthew Fajack, vice chancellor for finance and administration, gave an update on the request for proposals regarding the possible privatization of the Student Stores.

“This year, there was about $400,000 that Student Stores gave to scholarships, and it had averaged around 400,000 for the past ten years,” he said.

Fajack said the Student Stores could get about $4 million in scholarships if the store is privatized.

Fajack contacted other universities, like Notre Dame University and Wake Forest University, with outsources stores and will compile his finding in this week.

“For the most part the large universities were happy about the services they were getting, that Follett and Barnes and Noble had followed through on their promises and treated their employees well, and thought it was a good move for them.”

But the response was not all positive. Fajack said the smaller universities he contacted had mixed feelings about the privatization of their stores, and sometimes had to cut costs.

Fajack said he and his colleagues are in the process of comparing plans and entertaining ideas like keeping the Bulls Head bookstore independent.

“No decision has been made about whether we will outsource it,” he said. “We want to look at what their answers are in a stricter, legal fashion and see what the options are. We’re trying to protect our employees, and one of the goals of the student stores, too, is maximizing financial aid to our students.” 

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