The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday February 28th

Board of Governors talks budget, public service awards at Oct. 30 meeting

For the first time in weeks, the UNC-system Board of Governors did little to make the news.

The full board met Friday for its October meeting — its first since former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings was named president-elect and former board chairman John Fennebresque resigned

2015-16 budget

Harry Smith, the Committee on Budget and Finance chairperson, said the 2015-16 budget allocations from the state legislature will include dollars to assist campuses in general administration — including enrollment change funding, management flexibility reduction, elimination of the academic summer bridge program, UNC-system smart funding and resident tuition for veterans.

Board member Marty Kotis voted against the new budget, citing concerns about the management flexibility reduction funds and how they are allocated. He said this encourages campuses to decrease education-related spending, resulting in a “race to the bottom.”

The motion to accept the budget carried, though board member Thom Goolsby also voted against it.

The board also approved a second item. As part of the 2015-16 capital improvement allocations, the general assembly gave $45 million for the three campuses in the UNC-system that had not received a specific project in the bond proposal: UNC-Asheville, UNC School of the Arts and Elizabeth City State University.

ASG report

Zack King, president of the UNC-system’s Association of Student Governments and the only student member on the board, gave an address about his main concern for this school year: mental health.

“Mental health is deeply intertwined in the fabric of our campuses,” he said. 

Mental health services in the state have been on the chopping block; the legislature cut more than $100 million from North Carolina's eight mental health agencies from the 2015-16 fiscal year. 

Public service awards

Sylvia Flack of Winston-Salem State University and Carmen Russoniello of East Carolina University were awarded this year's James E. Holshouser, Jr. Awards for Excellence in Public Service. Flack is the executive director of Winston-Salem State's Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Health Disparities, and Russoniello is the founding director of ECU's Center for Applied Psychophysiology.

“My belief about service is best summarized by the idea that the more we share, the more we have,” Russoniello said in a press release. “I am honored to receive an award in the name of a man who practiced this philosophy and did so much to help our communities and state grow.”

The meeting concluded with a motion from board member Alex Mitchell to adopt a resolution formally thanking former chair John Fennebresque for his service to the board and for leading the university through a “period of transformation in higher education.”

Fennebresque announced his resignation Oct. 26. 

“We all consider John a great friend of ours,” vice-chairperson Louis Bissette said. “He did have a very tumultuous period in this office, but he had a number of accomplishments that he can be proud of and I think this board can be proud of.”

The motion carried unanimously.

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