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Here's what you missed at Friday's BOG meeting


The Board of Governors' Nov. 9, 2018 meeting included remarks from Margaret Spellings on her announcement to resign as UNC-system president, a public comment session on Silent Sam and a grant supporting adult students. 

The UNC System Board of Governors met in full for its regular meeting Friday. Here’s what you need to know:

UNC-system faculty members received the 2018 Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service.

The award was created in 2007 to honor faculty who demonstrate a great commitment to service and the community. This annual service award usually honors one recipient, but this year, both David Westling and Walt Wolfram are recipients. They each received a bronze medallion and a $7,500 stipend.

Westling, a professor at Western Carolina University, is a leader in the field of special education who helps direct the University Participant Program at WCU. This program helps engage college-age adults with learning disabilities with campus life and had become an international model for other campuses.

Wolfram, a professor at N.C. State University, specializes in linguistics and works to preserve the state’s linguistic diversity through documentaries, digital archival programs and his book, “Talkin’ Tar Heel.”

Dr. Westling and Dr. Wolfram both richly deserve this recognition,” said BOG Chairperson Harry Smith. “The Board of Governors honors their strong commitment to service. Their robust work on behalf of the community and the state embodies what the University does best.”

The UNC System and N.C. Community College System received a grant from Lumina Foundation to support adult students.

During her report, UNC-System President Margaret Spellings announced the $552,000 grant from Lumina’s Adult Promise effort meant to support adults who want to earn college degrees and other credentials.

“We are pleased that North Carolina is part of the Adult Promise program, and we are hopeful that these new tools will help our adult learners achieve even greater success,” Spellings said.

She also announced the formation of an 18-member search committee for the executive director and general manager position of UNC-TV, which broadcasts four digital program channels across North Carolina. The search process is expected to take several months. 

Spellings also spoke of her recent announcement to step down and said she has met several times with Bill Roper to create a “productive and seamless handoff,” following Roper being named interim president of the UNC system earlier this month.

“The system will be well served by him at the helm and I’m grateful to him for stepping up,” Spelling said. “We’re both excited about the progress that lies in the months ahead.”

UNC students spoke at the public comment session before the BOG meeting regarding privilege, Silent Sam and harassment from someone who goes by “Jack Corbin.”

Ph.D. student Jennifer Standish began the session by speaking about the intersection of privilege and power, and challenged the present board members to consider how many of them are white. Standish also mentioned the recently released results from the 2016 campus climate survey, which reflected a higher rate of dissatisfaction of Black students compared to white students by almost three times.

“When you decide the fate of Silent Sam, you are doing because of your racial privilege and at the expense of non-white people,” she said. “So I’m asking you to listen to them and to not let the statue come back on campus.

Lindsay Ayling, a Ph.D. student, spoke about someone she said has been stalking her and other Silent-Sam protesters over the last year.

This person, who goes by “Jack Corbin,” is a self-described fascist, who Ayling said has been harassing her with extremely graphic threats on a social media site called gab. She said she recently learned the alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers interacted with “Jack” frequently on gab.

“When you make your recommendation to put Silent Sam back up on its pedestal, the Nazi friend of mass-shooter Robert Bowers will be very proud of each and every one of you,” she said.


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