When lawmakers look at education, they usually focus on funding priorities, teacher certification and test standardization. Slightly lower on the scale are the needs of autistic children and other students who require special treatment in public schools. It's time for N.C. legislators to pay closer attention to these students and to implement new guidelines or rules about how teachers treat them - because recent evidence suggests that some kids could use the help of policy-makers.
State legislators would do well to repair a situation in which more than 10,000 drunk driving cases are dismissed each year, according to an analysis by The Charlotte Observer. That's one in every five suspects who gets off free - and that's simply too many cases that are slipping through the cracks. The Observer found that the charges primarily are dismissed not because of weak evidence but because either police officers or the suspects don't show up for their court dates.
Roy Cooper, the state's attorney general, took a necessary step last week when he made clear his intention to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unless it addresses potential violations of the Clean Air Act by groups in other states. The Tennessee Valley Authority, which Cooper also plans to sue, and other government agencies in nearby states should be held accountable for evidence that coal-fired power plants in those states are contributing to air pollution in North Carolina.
Recently, there's been some bad blood between the UNC-system Association of Student Governments and UNC-Chapel Hill's student leaders. UNC-CH Student Body President Matt Calabria shouldn't allow that blood to thicken. Despite his assertion that this campus would be better off doing "its own thing," the University and the ASG need each other. Calabria wrote ASG President Amanda Devore a five-page letter detailing his complaints about the association. Devore responded with 10 pages that included rebuttals of some of Calabria's claims.
In making a decision to withdraw its financial support from WUNC-FM, Ipas has made a move that harms both the Chapel Hill-based international women's heath group and the radio station. WUNC has lost the backing of one of its sponsors, and Ipas has abandoned a valuable medium through which it could advertise its services to a needy public. Ipas canceled its sponsorship of WUNC after the station eliminated the term "reproductive rights" from an underwriting announcement.
Football coach John Bunting experienced two personal victories Saturday. One was beating Duke in convincing fashion to reclaim the Victory Bell, which the Blue Devils snatched away from the Tar Heels last season. The second was a Saturday announcement by UNC Chancellor James Moeser that he would recommend a two-year contract extension for Bunting to the University's Board of Trustees. Any rumors about Bunting's job going to someone else next year effectively have been quashed.
According to The Associated Press, an outside consultant's recent report recommends that the UNC system guarantee every N.C. community-college student a spot at one of the 16 UNC-system schools upon completion of a two-year associate general-education degree program. State legislators should not interfere with the UNC system's admissions autonomy by requiring it to accept any particular group of students.
Members of the Downtown Economic Development Corporation took a serious misstep Wednesday when they went into closed session to talk about how to spend the public's money. In doing so, they run the risk of alienating the very people - the residents and companies of the town - for whom they are working. Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy told The (Durham) Herald-Sun that the board was expected to function like a public body, which must meet very specific criteria outlined by state law to move into closed session.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College administrators ventured into dangerous territory when they pulled the plug on an instructor's showing of "Fahrenheit 9/11" in class during the week before Nov. 2. They probably didn't know what wire they were tripping over. RCCC's administration should apologize for suspending Davis March, an instructor at the college for more than 20 years. March acted within the acceptable limits of an academic setting - he should not have been censored in his approach.
When Playboy's "Girls of the ACC" issue came out this year, people approached me about it constantly. They wanted to know why, as a feminist, I wasn't up in arms about it or, at the very least, making some kind of an issue out of it. And I'll be completely honest with you: I ducked the subject. I didn't avoid it because I didn't care. I avoided it because I wasn't sure where I stood. I think that my feelings are on par with those of a lot of women my age, and perhaps with those of most women in general.
TO THE EDITOR:
Rabah Samara might feel sorry for the death of Tar Heel Sports Network reporter Stephen Gates - but Samara's regret doesn't make up for the fact that justice ultimately was not served. Samara was found not guilty of hit-and-run charges in relation to the car accident that killed Gates. The jury found that the wording of N.C. law didn't qualify the incident as a hit-and-run. The state rule must be changed so that someone is held accountable should a similar case come to court in the future.
TO THE EDITOR: Last week's editorial - "What's the point?" - argued that Foster "did the University community no favors by launching an ineffective defense." However, this opinion is flawed by a misunderstanding of basic aspects of the University's honor system. Most shocking is the Editorial Board's suggestion that by attending a "preliminary meeting, (Foster) could have avoided Honor Court action in the first place." This reflects a profound lack of understanding on the part of the Editorial Board.
Last year, the Educational Foundation wasn't able to meet its scholarship obligations for the first time in the club's history. It was hundreds of thousands of dollars short - a sure sign that the increase in the athletic scholarship budget over time has taken its toll.
Thanks to the town's Land-Use Management Ordinance, 15 percent of units in most new residential developments must be affordable housing - defined by the Chapel Hill Town Council as any unit affordable for individuals or families whose incomes are at or below 80 percent of the area median income for a family of four. That's a rule the town should work to keep up, and recent efforts by the council to bolster the plan should be applauded.
A number of students recently have been vocal in their complaints about the ticket distribution process for UNC sporting events - and it's only right that they should be. Many students waited for several hours this Saturday, and on many other Saturdays in the past, only to receive no tickets. They're understandably unhappy about getting up early and having nothing to show for it.
The Office of State Budget and Management recently told state agencies they will be hit with one-time budget cuts of 0.75 percent to help finance emergency hurricane relief. UNC-Chapel Hill's contribution will be about $2.85 million. It's really a shame, and a tough position for the UNC system, especially UNC-CH, to be in. The cuts represent almost $3 million University officials had thought would be in place this year.