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Saturday April 1st

New committees hold first official meetings in first BOG meeting of school year

The UNC System Board of Governors met Tuesday at UNC System Office in Chapel Hill.
Buy Photos The UNC System Board of Governors met Tuesday at UNC System Office in Chapel Hill.

Three of the UNC Board of Governors Special Committees met on Tuesday. These were the first official meetings for the newly formed special committees. Here’s what you need to know:

The Committee on Military and Veteran Affairs met and heard input from several state leaders regarding the future goals of the Committee. 

William Webb, BOG member and chairperson of the Committee, called on several leaders of military-affiliated organizations in North Carolina to provide insight on military initiatives at the University. Among the speakers, there was an emphasis on providing stronger online programs, financial assistance and increased support from faculty and staff for veterans and active-duty military members.

Webb said the committee’s goal is to help create and maintain a welcoming environment for active-duty military and veterans at each UNC-system campus and ensure that each university recruits, educates and graduates these military-affiliated students.

UNC System President Margaret Spellings commended Fayetteville State Chancellor James Anderson and Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts for their efforts to create visible and fully-staffed veteran centers and affordable online degree programs accessible to military-affiliated students.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to elevate the needs of veterans,” Spellings said. “We are at the moment underweight with respect to the large number of veterans that we have in our state and the services and educational attainment levels that are currently in place here in North Carolina - so we can improve and we will improve.” 

The Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions met Tuesday to outline its goals of understanding the needs and fighting challenges faced by UNC-System institutions that primarily enroll minority students.

Leaders from UNC-Pembroke, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Central University, N.C. A&T University and Winston-Salem State University outlined the current state of each institution, frequently pointing to the need for more funding, faculty, research resources and infrastructural improvements.

Robin Cummings, chancellor of UNC-P, thanked BOG Chairperson Harry Smith for establishing the committee to improve representation of the state’s minority-serving colleges. 

“I certainly want to thank (Smith) for forming this committee,” Cummings said. “I would agree with him that the need is there and sometimes when you are a small institution, it’s easy for your voice to not be heard and overlooked. As I’ve been at Pembroke for the last three years, that’s something I’ve received the impression of.”

The institutions’ leaders expressed the desire to improve student enrollment, retention and graduation rates, which tend to be lower than the national average at peer institutions. Many of them cited improving campus infrastructure and resources as ways to attract and retain students. 

“We have critical infrastructural challenges, and every HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) here has these challenges,” James Anderson, chancellor of Fayetteville State University said.

Darrell Allison, chairperson of the special committee, said an interim report will be given by Dec. 1 to the BOG through the Committee on Educational Planning, Policies and Programs and the Committee on Budget and Finance. The report will likely include the challenges faced by these institutions and the status of their infrastructural, funding and human capital needs.  

The Committee on Healthcare met on Tuesday in closed session. 

The forced removal of Silent Sam by demonstrators on Monday night was not addressed during the committee meetings but was briefly referenced by a board member.

Leo Daughtry, member of the BOG and the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, addressed the committee regarding the events of the protest before discussing committee matters.

"I am saddened by the events of last night," Daughtry said. "I'm disappointed it happened, and I hope the University responds."


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