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Correction (March 31 12:54 a.m.): Due to reporting errors, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Janet Abboud Dal Santo was the co-author of the study. She is the lead author. The story has been changed to reflect the correction.
Electronic business cards are a groundbreaking communication technology for exchanging information that have experienced a rapid increase in popularity.
The UNC system is taking another step to strengthen its ties with the military. UNC-system President Erskine Bowles will sign an agreement with the U.S. Marines Corps Forces Special Operations Command and Marine Corps Installations East today to cement a partnership between the two groups. This partnership is similar to the one launched in November 2009 between the UNC system and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.That partnership allowed the Army to use UNC-system resources to train and teach military personnel.The partnership will be signed at the Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., according to a press release from the Marines Special Operations Command.This agreement will allow the Marine Corps to use UNC-system resources to enhance its training programs.They are placing a particular emphasis on the Performance and Resiliency program, which will help deployed Marines handle harsh combat conditions.UNC-system officials are hopeful that the new partnership will be as successful as the one with the Army.One of the premier collaborations with the Army is the combat medic training program, which allows trained military personnel to come to UNC-Chapel Hill and work in specialized areas such as burns and surgery that benefit troops stationed in remote settings, said Charles Cairns, professor and chair of the department of emergency medicine at UNC-CH. “Ideally, special operations’ medics would provide health care provisions in foreign nations,” Cairns said. “We hope to provide unique educational resources for them and develop this brand new area of medicine that they created, which I call situational medicine.”So far, the response to the Army partnership has been positive, said Kimrey Rhinehardt, vice president of federal relations for the UNC system and the one overseeing both partnerships on the UNC system side.“They have been asked to do more than they ever have, for less,” she said. “But no one has complained. They are trying to make a difference in their own world and try to keep as many Americans safe as possible.”Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.
With costs to attend college rising and students’ ability to pay declining, UNC-Greensboro is trying to make education more affordable with a new scholarship called the UNC-G Guarantee.The scholarship was announced last week. A press release compared it to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Covenant scholarship.The new scholarships require academically gifted students near the poverty level to pay only what they can afford for school and allow them to graduate without student loans.“The program is not just financial aid but a complete well-rounded plan, and it comes in at poverty level and helps those with limited financial resources but a high academic profile,” said Steven Roberson, dean of undergraduate studies at UNC-G.“The university is creating a home away from home to foster success.”Although the UNC scholarship requires 10 to 12 hours a week of work-study, the UNC-G scholarship does not allow students to work, preferring that they focus on school.An anonymous $6 million donation provided the funds to launch the program. The university expects to continue funding the scholarship mostly through donations, which they expect will grow over the years, Roberson said.It is already working on fund-raising campaigns and ways to find money sources within the university.Sarah Hatcher, a UNC-CH senior and Carolina Covenant scholar, said that without the scholarship, many Covenant scholars would have chosen less expensive schools than UNC-CH. She said having the scholarship eased the burden on her.“I went to a small high school, and I didn’t get a lot of scholarships. (The Carolina Covenant) eliminated a lot of the load I would have had,” she said. UNC-G plans to kick off the program with 30 to 40 students for the full four years in the fall.Administrators plan to grant the scholarship to a maximum of 150 students after all four years of students have been phased in, Roberson said.
Health officials are still urging students to get vaccinated for H1N1, even though the number of cases has significantly declined since fall’s peak.Although it hasn’t yet materialized, another wave of the flu could happen, and there is currently a surplus of vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.About 119 million vaccines had been shipped nationwide as of Jan. 29, but only 61 million people — about 20 percent of the population — are vaccinated, stated Kristen Nordlund, division of media relations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an e-mail.After staying low for awhile, the number of H1N1 cases is slowly climbing again, said Dr. Zack Moore, an epidemiologist with the N.C. Division of Public Health.“We’re starting to see an upswing on college campuses in the last week or two,” Moore said.“(The first wave) was a very big wave, and it definitely affected students and young people more than the seasonal flu,” Moore said.It’s possible that the numbers could climb as high as they were last fall, but there is no way to predict that now, he said.“As long as this virus is circulating, which we know it is, it has the potential to cause illness. We have no way of predicting if or when another wave or increase in illness will occur,” Nordlund said.“CDC continues to intensely monitor both H1N1 and seasonal flu activity and encourage those who have not been vaccinated to seek vaccine.”Because college students, who live in close quarters with many other people, are highly susceptible to H1N1, vaccination is highly recommended to prevent another wave, Moore said.UNC does not have numbers for how many people have contracted H1N1 this academic year because not everyone who contracted the flu reported it, said Mary Covington, executive director of UNC Campus Health Services.Health officials also struggled to come up with a number because they did not often administer the tests to determine whether the flu a person contracted was the H1N1 strain.“We really have no way of knowing exactly how many people were affected by the virus. … Many people did get the virus, but the number of cases reported were only the tip of the iceberg,” Covington said.There is no particular plan for what to do if another large wave of H1N1 occurs, other than to push prevention methods, particularly vaccination, she said. Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than a month after the ban on texting while driving went into effect, law enforcement officials say they are still struggling to enforce it.The Chapel Hill Police Department does not have a uniform procedure to deal with people violating the texting ban. Officers don’t usually make a note of the violation unless it results in a crash, said Lt. Kevin Gunter. But Gunter said he is hopeful for the long term enforcement of the law. The Chapel Hill Police Department plans to train its officers to catch drivers while they text, Gunter said.“I think it’ll get easier,” he said.The N.C. General Assembly passed the ban this summer in order to decrease the number of accidents caused by distracted driving.According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers who text while driving are 23 percent more likely to be in an accident. “Driving is a visual task, and non-driving activities that draw the driver’s eyes away from the roadway, such as texting and dialing, should always be avoided,” the study states. The study also found that texting while driving is much more dangerous than talking on the cell phone. “While texting on a phone, your level of impairment is the same as being intoxicated,” said Arthur Goodwin, a senior research associate at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.“There’s no question it’s very difficult to enforce. It’s hard for officers to tell if someone is texting.”Nineteen states have passed bans on texting while driving, and more states are considering similar laws.To support those efforts, the National Safety Council is promoting a new organization, FocusDriven, that advocates cell-phone-free driving. The two organizations are promoting laws such as the texting ban to make people aware of the dangers of distracted driving. “We know that younger people tend to be overconfident in their driving skills,” said Deb Trombley, a senior program manager of transportation for the National Safety Council. Although the enforcement of texting bans is proving to be difficult, FocusDriven is pushing for such legislation across the country by putting a human face to the dangers of distracted driving.The organization’s Web site has stories about some of the victims of distracted driving.“Joe’s story” is one about a 12-year-old boy who died when a woman who was talking on her phone ran a red light and drove her Hummer into the car that Joe’s mother was driving.The organization also provides services for family members of the victims of distracted driving.But some UNC students admit they are not complying with the texting ban. “Everyone knows it’s a distraction, but it’s impossible to get rid of something like that. It’s like underage drinking,” said Michael Hamon, a junior English and public policy major. “I’ve almost gotten into accidents before, but I’m not going to stop.”Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.
An organization that protects professors’ rights is becoming more active as cases alleging infringement of those rights rise in number.Professors at universities cannot be fired at will, and they must receive both fair warning and justification when they are fired, according to the American Association of University Professors.In some situations, professors have been fired because of their opinions. They are entitled to speaking their mind, as long as they make it clear they are not speaking on behalf of their university, said Gregory Scholtz, the director of academic freedom at the American Association of University Professors.“If professors are unable to speak their mind in classrooms, then it is a threat to the quality of education,” Scholtz said.The AAUP makes a list of schools that are not conforming to its standards.The AAUP has accused Tulane University in New Orleans of terminating tenured professors with little to no warning, a violation of the AAUP’s outlined procedure, Scholtz said.Michael Strecker, director of external relations at Tulane University, said the professors were fired because the costs of damage from Hurricane Katrina made it impossible for the university to pay them.If the AAUP understood the extent of the damage to the university, it would understand why Tulane had to fire those professors, Strecker said.The university had to cut $60 million from its annual budget after the hurricane, according to the AAUP Web site.At UNC, the policy for professors aims to protect their right to speak their minds in their areas of expertise.“We have reaffirmed the right of the faculty member to have full freedom and the right of the faculty member to take controversial stands on issues in society without fear of retribution and pressure,” said Ron Strauss, executive vice chancellor and provost at UNC.But in the 1960s, a “speaker ban” at the University meant to prevent people associated with communism from speaking limited the speech of professors and students, as well as visiting speakers.And last spring, the free speech issue arose again with a visit by former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who was invited by Youth for Western Civilization to speak about immigration issues.Tancredo was prevented from finishing his speech by protesters.“The Tancredo incident was a shock to the UNC campus. … You may not agree with them, but you give them the option to be heard, and that was a principle that was lost,” Strauss said.“In settings where academic freedom is limited, it will cut down student willingness to express ideas about different issues and is a way of dampening scientific inquiry and discourse.”Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNC students joined together Tuesday to protest a section of the proposed health care reform they said could drive up the cost of generic drugs. The proposed legislation would extend the time drug makers can keep pharmaceutical data exclusive, preventing generics from entering the market. Generics give people cheaper alternatives than name-brand products.The students protesting this part of the bill were part of a nationwide effort to alter the legislation by collecting petition signatures that they plan to send to the White House and to their respective legislators.Similar protests occurred Tuesday at both Duke University and N.C. State University. At UNC, Eric Butter, a junior biostatistics major, organized the event.“It is a really important issue that might not affect us now, but 10 years down the road it will be huge,” Butter said. Congressional Budget Office studies show that after generic versions of drugs enter the market, prices of conventional drugs fall 40 to 80 percent, according to a packet distributed at the event.Meredith Gilliam, a second-year medical student, said the event participants were trying to educate people, not just get them to sign on to their cause.“We are not trying to pressure people into signing our petition. We just want to inform people so that they can form their own opinion,” she said. Quang Pham, another second-year medical student, said they wanted to make sure the students’ voices were heard because legislators usually hear from pharmaceutical companies who spent $1.2 million a day in the last year while lobbying for their personal interests, Phan said. Rachel Kramer, a graduate student studying health behavior and health education who was asked to sign the petition, said the volunteers had not persuaded her.“I wished that they had given me more information,” she said.Contact the State & National Editor at email@example.com.