The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

Board of Trustees reviews state of UNC

Correction: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story said the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory received at $1.5 million challenge grant. The challenge grant is actually worth $3.5 million. The story has been updated and The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error. 

The Board of Trustees met in full Thursday to discuss tension on campus, hear budget proposals and give the state of the University thus far. Here's what you need to know:

Chancellor Carol Folt began her remarks with the acknowledgment of the recent controversy surrounding the Confederate memorial Silent Sam. 

 “I do believe that as long as Silent Sam stands in its current location it runs the risk to drain energy and goodwill that we’ve worked so hard to maintain on this campus," she said. "And (it) truly does extract us from reaching the important goals we all share.”  

BOT chairperson Haywood Cochrane spoke on the legal restraints placed on the University preventing the statue's removal, but said the administration is actively working to maintain safety on campus and resolve the issue within the current government system.

“I stated publicly that if it were my choice I would relocate Silent Sam based on concerns for public safety, but I don’t have that authority under the law,” Folt said. 

 North Carolina Policy Collaboratory aims to bridge gap between legislature and environmental research 

The Collaboratory, a name suggested by Chancellor Folt, was launched in 2016 as a means to meet the interests of legislators with the expertise generated from research opportunities granted to the University. Brad Ives, the associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises, serves as the initiative’s director.

The North Carolina General Assembly granted an $8.15 million commitment to the Collaboratory, in addition to a $3.5 million challenge grant that was recently extended for two more years.  

The Collaboratory's research director, Jeff Warren, outlined the projects currently being undertaken, including research on: data management, energy storage, Hurricane Matthew, invasive species, lead in rivers, nutrient management, oyster restoration, water well stewardship, wildfires and other statewide projects.  

One of the most pressing problems of North Carolina's environmental health is water contamination in rivers as a result of the agricultural industry. Folt said environmental health and policy are some of the largest focal areas of the University, with research in this area being conducted in at least six of the University's programs — including the Institute of Marine Sciences, the Gillings School for Public Health and the Geological Sciences department.

In the first quarter of 2017, the Collaboratory totaled $1.2 million back to the University with 14 active projects. The Collaboratory plans to add at least two more projects by the end of the year. 

"The thing about the Collaboratory that's cool is that it sits there as a kind of connection between interest that the legislature has and expertise that can be brought to bear from all those departments," said Folt.  "It's really just beginning, and I think we'll see more of it, but those kinds of projects are throughout the institution."    

 Funding achieved for research and development

The next report revealed the University's progress in development and fundraising. 

The University is continuing its commitment to research through fundraising on a private and federal level. Folt's strategic plan, Blueprint for Next , stresses the University's goal to become a center of innovation. 

Secretary Bill Keyes said they received a report from the federal affairs committee that they got $577 million in federal research and received $205.3 million on student financial aid. 

"(The $505.3 million) benefited 13,000 students," he said.

According to the development report, they raised $1.7 million  towards their capital campaign and $543 million in their 2017 fundraising, which was another record, Keyes said.

"Congratulations to the development team for the great success that they are having," Keyes said. 

Reporting contributed by Marine Elia.

university@dailytarheel.com

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