The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 20th

Letters to the editor: House Bill 243 will hurt UNC System employees

Carolina Pride Alumni Network Board condemns recent anti-trans legislation

The Carolina Pride Alum Network Board, representing 1,400+ LGBTQ alumni of UNC-Chapel Hill, strongly condemns the anti-transgender legislation under consideration by the N.C. legislature. These political stunts are designed to do nothing but divide people and spur hate against the most marginalized, vulnerable members of our community.

To the Carolina trans community of students, faculty and staff: we see you, we hear you and we are with you in this fight. 

On Tuesday, we issued a statement condemning these bills, asking the public to sign on and join in by holding their elected officials accountable in ending these ongoing attacks on our community. We elevate the critical advocacy work of Equality N.C. and the Campaign for Southern Equality, and encourage you to learn about ways you can take action at ncisready.org

We must do all we can to protect those among us most marginalized and under attack. We, the queer Carolina alumni community, are here for you and want you to know that you always have a home. 

The values of UNC are lux and libertas; we stand strongly with our trans community in pursuit of equal light and liberty in this world.

The Carolina Pride Alumni Network Board

House Bill 243 will have a detrimental effect on UNC System employees

The recently introduced House Bill 243 could detrimentally undermine the security that UNC System staff have in their occupations, throw away all vestige of ownership employees have over their positions and eliminate the already tattered and torn principles of collegiality, understanding and shared governance.

Written under the cover of a real crisis, the UNC System is being disingenuous as to why it is looking for this authority. If this were indeed a temporary crisis, then why have the part of the bill that affects the ability to implement reductions in force (RIF) be permanent?

The real reason for this bill is simple: never let a crisis go to waste. The UNC System has been looking for the ability to hire and fire employees at will for decades. This temporary crisis has given them the opportunity to implement a permanent solution to what they see as a perennial problem: employee rights.

Reduction in Force will have a detrimental effect on our employees. By eliminating the already anemic safeguards in place through the North Carolina Office of State Human Resources, RIF authority will further erode employee trust in the institutions they have dedicated their lives to, and undermine the ability of the University to attract and retain top-quality employees.

This bill is a folly, as it purports to be in response to the economic crises COVID-19 has wrought upon the UNC System, yet we find the following is true:

  1. Enrollment is up, bringing in more funding to the UNC System.
  2. The Governor’s office has released a budget showering the average state employee with raises and bonus packages. It seems the chief executive of the state has more faith in our institutions than those who currently lead them.
  3. As our legislative leaders are more than happy to point out, the state has a surplus. Why, with a surplus, would we not invest in the very institutions and infrastructure that are the economic drivers of our state, and instead expect them to cannibalize themselves?
  4. The legislature itself has proposed an increase for state employees. Why do you want to give money for raises if layoffs are on the agenda?
  5. The packages provided for the affected employees in the bill appear to be at the discretion of and subject to be paid out by the UNC System schools. They consistently state that "non-State funds” may be used to cover these costs of the bill. How could an organization that is hemorrhaging cash have the kind of funds floating around to pay for all these programs?

James Holman

Chairperson, State Employees Association District 25

UNC must reduce plastic consumption

In light of Earth Day this week, students at NCPIRG (North Carolina Public Interest Research Group) have been thinking long and hard about the best possible gift we can give to Mother Nature this year. It has become paramount that we do our best to preserve this planet, as well as all of its inhabitants — which is why we believe that the best possible thing to do this year is focus on decreasing the consumption of single-use plastics in our everyday lives. 

Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year, only about 9 percent of it is actually recycled. This leaves 273 million tons of plastic to be improperly disposed of both on land and in our oceans. At the rate we’re going now, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. 

At NCPIRG, we are working on a solution to this issue, which would have UNC-Chapel Hill pledge to reduce the University's consumption of single-use plastics to zero in the future. By signing the Break Free From Plastics pledge, the University would promise to outline and execute a plan to limit plastic waste consumption and do its part in preserving our planet. 

We only get one Earth. So, this Earth Day, we should do our part and pledge to keep it clean. Sign our petition calling on UNC-Chapel Hill to break free from plastics!

Elie Zakhem

NCPIRG Media Coordinator

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