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Forum attendees talk growth of University democracy, interdisciplinary studies

The goal of the event — “The Blueprint for Next: Carolina’s Strategic Framework” — was to provide Folt with feedback on the focus of the University’s strategic plan.

“What we’re trying to do is build strategically on the core elements that make us strong,” Folt said.

The ideas for the blueprint ranged from putting more emphasis on innovation and new ways of learning to creating more diversity in the University and making it easier to come to UNC.

“A lot of our future depends on modernizing the things that we offer to keep and maintain a very talented and skillful workforce,” Folt said.

After Folt spoke about the blueprint, the audience was encouraged to form small groups and discuss what they thought about the presentation. The attendees ranged from staff and administrators to undergraduates, graduates and community members.

Representatives from the Graduate and Professional Student Federation and their supporters came to the event wearing badges saying “65.97 percent” — the percentage of the student body that voted in favor of the “Two for Two” referendum, which would have allowed GPSF to split from student government.

After the failure of both “Two for Two” and “Better Together,” the referendum that would have reformed graduate representation within student government, GPSF came to the event to voice their concerns about student governance and hear the Chancellor’s plan moving forward.

“We want to make sure that graduate and professional student interests stay a part of the conversation,” said Adam Engel, a sixth-year graduate student in the English department.

Engel said he was pleased with Folt’s presentation. He said even though he is graduating soon, he is still concerned with the future of UNC’s graduate program.

“We don’t want other graduate students to have to go through the frustration and the pain that we went through,” he said.

Folt will be holding two more public forums on the blueprint for faculty and staff on Thursday and Nov. 9.

First-year Esosa Asemota said she enjoyed the presentation and the conversations she had.

“I felt like we weren’t talking about things that were over my head,” Asemota said.

She said she thought it was a good thing the administration was reaching out to faculty and staff through this forum.

“How are they going to grow as a University if they don’t talk to people that are in the University?” Asemota said.

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