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Today it hit me: there are 60 days before my time as a UNC student ends. There’s nothing like a quarter-life crisis and a concert in the Pit to bring on the senior spring nostalgia. But it’s more than nostalgia; it’s an attempt to find a narrative in the hodgepodge of fond memories we’ve accumulated over the past four years.
Working at The Daily Tar Heel, one often hears a great deal about the plight of the modern journalism student. But I was shocked to learn that starting salaries for graduates of the J-School, as they like to call it, are often considerably less than those of plumbers, electricians and mechanics. Despite what we were told in high school, apparently a college degree doesn’t guarantee a higher income.
Next week, Student Congress will review changes to election law that, if passed, could make this year’s elections dramatically more student-friendly. By reducing the number of signatures required to be placed on the student body president ballot and making minor changes to election law, Speaker Zach De La Rosa’s and Adam Horowitz’s bills take a step in the right direction, but still do not go far enough to change this mediocre process into one that adequately reflects potential candidates’ true legitimacy.
It is undeniable that this year’s elections have been a circus, but I have good news: It is almost over.
Students and community members gathered Saturday to learn judo techniques and receive words of wisdom from a true master.The 40 people who attended the seminar met in Fetzer Gymnasium and heard from renowned seventh-degree black belt Randy Russell.The seminar hosted by the Carolina Judo Club gave participants the chance to improve their technique and also compete against each other in one-on-one matches.Russell has been practicing judo since 1963 and has competed at national and international events. During the seminar" he stressed the importance of self-control and positioning yourself in relation to your opponent.""If you can't control yourself" you can't control your opponent" Russell said. Judo, or The Gentle Way"" was developed in the late 1800s by Jigoro Kano from the Japanese martial art form jujitsu.Jukoda, or those that practice judo, are ranked by a belt system, with black being the highest.Once a participant has reached the level of black belt, he then earns numbered degrees. Austin Cook, a senior at the Carolina Friends School, was promoted to black belt during the event.At the seminar, participants of varying skill levels learned a variety of new techniques and engaged in randori, or free practice.During this time, many were repeatedly taken to the mat as their opponents tried out new techniques. Arwen Frick-Cheng, a UNC sophomore and regular member of the judo club, was one such attendee, who attended to improve her technique.When a seventh-degree black-belt comes in" you know he's gonna know something you don't" Frick-Cheng said. It's great.""Frick-Cheng's excitement was echoed by graduate students Alex Couture and Louis Barrios of Durham.""He's good. He's really good"" both said while trying out a few moves. Those in attendance were of all ages and had come from around the area to learn from Russell, whose son Jason Russell is an assistant coach for the club.Eleven-year-old Cary resident Troy Madden was an attendee who often took down men twice his size. It was hard" but a lot of fun" Madden said.Russell Nash, president of the Carolina Judo Club, said the club tries to hold such events once or twice a year.Nash, like many of the people in attendance, got into judo only after coming to UNC.At the end of the seminar, Russell reiterated his desire to offer those in attendance a new perspective. People say" ‘You're a master you know everything.' Well let me tell you" I learn something every day.""Russell also attempted to relate judo to people's daily lives.""If you can make it through a judo workout" you can get through anything" Russell said. Life's easy.""Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A state employees association is threatening legal action against the University in response to announced layoffs in the Information Technology Services department.The current layoffs will affect a total of 15 employees in the department Larry Conrad vice chancellor for information technology stated in an e-mail Sunday. Three ITS senior management positions have already been eliminated and 12 staff layoffs across the department are under way.On Thursday Dana Cope the executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina" sent a letter to UNC-system President Erskine Bowles claiming that these layoffs violate the State Personnel Act. The act mandates that employees can only be let go ""whenever it is necessary due to shortage of funds or work."" Cope argued that since the state's budget has not been finalized" there is not yet a shortage of money — though a shortfall is expected.Bowles responded Friday" claiming that in these ""extraordinary times" conducting layoffs now is appropriate and prudent and that such actions were in compliance with current laws.Bowles cautioned Cope on the dangers of waiting until the state budget is ratified to make such cuts. Waiting would only increase the number of staff that would need to be laid off Bowles said.But Cope reiterated Sunday to The Daily Tar Heel his belief that the layoffs under way are illegal.We are looking into possible legal action to the stop the University from continuing the layoffs" he said, threatening a court injunction.The cuts at ITS — which amount to about 3.5 percent of the department's total workforce — will begin in June, giving those affected 90 days notice.Conrad noted that ITS had already mothballed"" the vast majority of its future projects because of an earlier one-time cut. He said more drastic action was necessary for the recurring cuts the department will face.UNC administrators have ordered a 7 percent cut in this year's budget" considered one-time meaning for this year only. Chancellor Holden Thorp ordered a 5 percent reduction in recurring spending last week which would remain in future budgets.One-time cuts can be met with almost any decrease in spending. Recurring or permanent cuts require the elimination of a permanent source of funding such as a staff position.Employee Forum Vice Chairwoman Brenda Denzler said the forum was surprised by the layoffs. University administrators had said they would not know what action would be necessary before April 15" she said.""Some of us at the forum are scratching our heads and wondering what caused this sudden change of approach by the administration"" Denzler stated in an e-mail. Students also worried about how these reductions would affect the quality of service ITS provides.Ching Wei, who works part-time at ITS labs around campus, expressed concern over how the layoffs might effect the department's ability to quickly respond to program issues, such as the Pharos printing software and Student Central.People are already freaking out when a program is down and it takes a long time to get them back up and running" so I think if they laid off people the problem could get worse Wei said. People expect the programs to work and if they don't" people are basically screwed.""Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.
The University's proposed $4 billion fundraising campaign was put on hold this week as bigger economic fears put its feasibility into doubt.The campaign announced last September under the name Carolina Big" was touted to be the largest fundraising campaign in the school's history.""These are tough times and it just isn't the right time to announce something that big"" said Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for University advancement. With what's going on in the world"" sadly that project is very much on hold.""Kupec's comments come at a time when the state's unemployment level is rising and state tax revenue is down — a situation which has led to cutbacks at the University.The campaign" which was still at very early stages of development was not set to be rolled out for several years.Sallie Shuping-Russell a member of the Board of Trustees highlighted the infancy of the campaign when she stated in an e-mail that the project has been the subject of a few general discussions but no official campaign plans have been presented to the board.Board of Trustees Chairman Roger Perry who sits on the University advancement committee overseeing fundraising said that because the campaign is at such an early stage" he did not believe the decision would ultimately delay the campaign.""The campaign is constantly being reassessed and when the time is right" we will continue" he said.He went on to say the Board of Trustees has complete confidence in Kupec's judgement and Kupec would decide when the timing was right to restart the campaign.The campaign would have sought to raise $4 billion during an eight-to-10-year period and was designed to keep UNC on par with its peers. It would have provided large sources of funding for the School of Medicine, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Kenan-Flagler Business School and many academic departments.Despite the decision to put the campaign on hold, Perry noted that the economic crisis was not significantly affecting the University's ability to raise funds.We are still having a very good year. We are bringing in close to $25 million a month"" Perry said. In the face of the economy that's pretty good.""Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student elections are over but the election law battle rages on.In response to several controversies this year about Board of Elections decisions Student Congress has passed two bills that could radically alter election procedure for the coming years.But current elections board members warn that these changes might swing the pendulum too far and unfairly limit the board's power.One bill passed Tuesday with barely enough Congress members in attendance to hold a meeting" narrows the board's ability to interpret laws on a case-by-case basis.The bill states that ""candidates retain the right to all actions not explicitly prohibited or reasonably prohibited by the spirit of a standard provided for by election law.""But this could mean that any action would be allowed unless explicitly outlawed" said Val Tenyotkin" vice chairman of the elections board. He said the board would lose its power to interpret law in response to ever-changing campaign methods.""We will have mayhem" basically" he said. We will be strangled.""The bill's intent" its sponsors said" is to free campaigns from unneeded regulation.""The bill is really to ensure that the BOE is a little more predictable in their decisions" and their regulations more consistent" Congress member Jason Sutton said in an e-mail. He added that it should allow candidates the freedom to act creatively and in innovative ways.""Student Congress also passed a bill Jan. 22 that clarifies how the Board of Elections must regulate private campaign meetings and the use of campaign Facebook groups.The bills followed a series of incidents that brought into question the extent to which the board was free to interpret current law.Former student body president candidate Ashley Klein sued the board last semester after being fined based on the Board of Elections' interpretation of what is public and private campaigning. Her meeting in the Campus Y was ruled public by the board" but the Court ruled it was private based on its interpretation of the same part of the Student Code.The decision also stated that the elections board has the power to interpret the Code — rankling some Congress members.Last Tuesday's bill also increases the number of petition signatures required for student body president candidates from 800 to 1000 and lowers the number for senior class officers and Residence Hall Association president from 350 to 250.Tenyotkin said students would suffer because of increased advertising by the candidates.It is still yet to be seen what effect the changes to election law will have" but Tenyotkin said that discussions about election law happen every year between the board and Congress to incorporate lessons learned.""Every year it's a tradition" Tenyotkin said. We find things that could be clearer" and we introduce a bill to that effect.""Contact the University Editor at email@example.com.