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UNC system happenings for April 16, 2018

N.C. Central University student Bettylenah Njaramba was elected president of the UNC Association of Student Governments. She will have a non-voting seat on the UNC Board of Governors. Photo courtesy of NCCU.

UNC system gets a new student body president

Bettylenah Njaramba, a junior at N.C. Central University, was elected president of the UNC Association of Student Governments Wednesday. She is the first African-American student to be elected to the position.

ASG is a student organization representing student interests to the UNC Board of Governors. 

Njaramba, who studies elementary education, will serve as the official representative of ASG and will have a non-voting seat on the BOG.

At NCCU, she is a member of student government and president of the university’s Association of Students for a Better Africa. She served as NCCU’s first-year class president in 2015. 

Njaramba is from Raleigh with family roots in Kenya. In a statement, she said her African roots have influenced her life and success.

“My culture is very important to who I am as a student leader,” Njaramba said. “In order to be a great servant leader, you must be true to yourself.”

After graduating, she plans on joining the Peace Corps and pursuing a doctorate in education. 

ECU students arrested during fraternity drug bust

Four East Carolina University students were arrested Tuesday at an off-campus fraternity when officers with a warrant searched the house. 

The arrests happened at the Phi Kappa Tau house at 409 Elizabeth St. in Greenville. The arrests come after a three-week investigation by the Greenville Regional Task Force. The task force said officers seized 2,500 bars of Xanax and two shotguns at the house, and said marijuana was being sold from the house.

Grant Swanner, 20, was charged with three counts of possession of Xanax with intent to sell and deliver, three counts of maintaining a dwelling for drug sales, possession of drug paraphernalia and underage possession of alcohol.

Nolan Leonard, 19, was charged with one count of possession of Xanax with intent to sell and deliver, one count of maintaining a dwelling for drug sales, possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Jordan Kowalski, 20, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver and maintaining a dwelling for drug sales.

William Carter, 20, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and underage possession of alcohol.

Phi Kappa Tau has been placed on suspension by both the university and its national chapter while an investigation is completed. 

In a statement, ECU Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Virginia Hardy said, "ECU, along with the national organization, is to holding these individuals and groups accountable. It is imperative that we continue to work swiftly when we learn of violations and continue to be proactive in educating and training our students involved in fraternity and sorority life."

This year, three other ECU fraternities were shut down. Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed its chapter on February 23rd, while Tau Kappa Epsilon and Delta Chi shut down in January.

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UNC-system president Margaret Spellings may leave the system soon, according to multiple sources.

President Spellings speaks at the Reagan Institute's Summit on Education

UNC-system President Margaret Spellings spoke at the Reagan Institute’s Summit on Education in Washington on Friday. 

Education leaders came together Thursday 35 years after former President Ronald Reagan's "A Nation at Risk" report. Spellings, who was the U.S. secretary of education under former President George Bush, spoke on a panel alongside former U.S. education secretaries Arne Duncan, John King and Rod Paige. Former White House correspondent for U.S. News Ann Compton moderated. 

The panel discussed in what ways American education is still at risk 35 years after the release of Reagan's report. Spellings highlighted the lack of a sense of urgency to better education. 

"I think people are exhausted with education reform or feel like it's not possible to close the achievement gap," Spellings said. "So I think the boulder is drifting back down the hill because of a lack of urgency around the imperative of closing the achievement gap."

She said it's up to the national government and local governments to work together to decrease the risks in U.S. education systems.

"I'm a good, card-carrying Republican, but I would just say — and I think it's a very Republican principle — that when we invest billions of dollars on behalf of poor, minority, special education students, et cetera, we ought to get something for our money," she said. "We do that on focusing on accountability for their performance.

She said the failure of the Bush administration was the lack of permanent immigration reform. 

"Would we have all this DACA issue if we had gotten a solution then?" Spellings said. "Anyway, coulda, woulda, shoulda."

She closed by saying she imagined education in 30 years, especially secondary and postsecondary eduction, to be increasingly transactional, where students go to centers to take tests as they are learning on their own with technology.

"I worry that this institution known as our public schools and our public institution system will be trimmed," she said. "That it will exist in elementary and middle schools maybe, but that there will be a trend toward every man for himself."

You can watch the full panel discussion here


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