Archives

News

Note: This post has been updated to include comments about the dismissal from Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.

Assault charges against R. Doyle Parrish, a member of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors, were dropped last week, according to court information.

R. Doyle Parrish

R. Doyle Parrish

Parrish, 61, was arrested in May and accused by Raleigh police of assaulting his wife by slapping and pushing her in a May 12 incident at the couple’s North Raleigh home.

He is the chief executive officer and co-founder of the Raleigh-based Summit Hospitality Group, which manages 17 hotels and several restaurants.

Parrish faced a misdemeanor charge of assault on a female, but the case was dismissed by prosecutors on Wednesday, according to information filed at the Wake County courthouse.

Update:

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Tuesday that the assault charge against Parrish was dropped because his wife Nancy Parrish, who hired an attorney of her own, was not willing to testify against her husband.

The couple has undergone counseling since the May incident and it did not appear to be a situation where there was an ongoing pattern of physical abuse, Freeman said.

“There was no indication this was an ongoing domestic violence situation,” she said.

Freeman said her office does not generally drop domestic violence cases based on victim’s cooperation alone, but did so in Doyle Parrish’s case because there was little evidence to purse the criminal case with outside of Nancy Parrish’s statements.

Freeman also said Doyle Parrish was not given any special treatment by her office. 

The court file for Parrish’s case could not be located Monday by staff at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.

Following his arrest, Parrish kept his seat on the UNC Board of Governors, the 32-member board that directs the state’s 17-campus university system. He did step down from committees tasked with selecting the UNC system’s next president, citing the need to take care of some personal issues.

This post will be updated if more details about the dismissed charges become available.

 

Commentary

There were two new and great editorial page “must reads” this past weekend on the state’s education wars.

Number One was Gene Nichol’s fine essay in Raleigh’s News & Observer on the public school teachers who continue to fight for their children and profession despite the ongoing assault by state lawmakers.

“I think [teachers NaShonsda] Cooke, [Angela] Scioli and [Brendan] Fetters knew what they were signing up for. This path has never been strewn with rose petals. I know they didn’t expect, however, to be officially derided for their efforts. ‘The elephant in the room,’ Fetters explains, ‘is the constant claim that we are failing our students.’

The politicians who accuse them, of course, never go to their schools, never talk to the teachers. They do, though, ‘take away our teaching assistants, run good teachers off to other states, give us bigger classes, cut our budgets and disparage our schools,’ Cooke says.

It’s not lost on teachers of high-poverty children that all the current political energy is directed toward vouchers and charter schools, draining already inadequate resources. They “evaluate us on matters outside of our control,” Cooke says, “pronounce us broken, and then make it tougher to do our work.”

Cooke’s own daughter attends one of the high-poverty Durham schools receiving an F on the state’s new scorecard. ‘I know the greatness of what they do in that school. I’d never move her,’ Cooke says. She gets angry when her daughter’s teachers are maligned by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

It’s one thing, I suppose, to wage war on public education. It’s another to shamelessly defame in the process.”

You can read the rest by clicking here.

Essay #2 comes from the Greensboro News & Record and it takes down the absurd an inappropriate partisanship that marked the firing of UNC President Tom Ross (which has been confirmed recently in emails released to N.C. Policy Watch and other news outlets). As the N&R Notes:

“The indication of misguided and unfair partisan attitudes toward Ross raises concerns about the next president. The Board of Governors won’t serve the people of the state well if it limits its choices to only Republican candidates. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

A report released yesterday by ThinkNC First argues that decision makers in Raleigh have walked away from many of the programs that helped to build a middle-class in North Carolina. Authors William Lester and Nichola Lowe of the University of North Carolina review data showing that middle-income jobs have become much harder to find over the last decade. The report ties this disturbing trend to recent policy decisions to underfund state programs that foster industries that create livable wages and ensure that all North Carolinians can access those jobs. The report makes a strong case that state leaders should heed our history and remember how North Carolina became an economic powerhouse in the Southeast in the first place.

The central problem documented in the report is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. For the second half of the 20th century, North Carolina’s economy generated strong employment growth up a down the wage scale. Since the start of the Great Recession however, most of the job growth has been in either very high or very low paying industries. The labor market hollowed out, as many industries, particularly in manufacturing, saw employment decline. We here are the Budget and Tax Center have been watching this same trend, and its not pretty.

Read More

News
UNC law professor Gene Nichol

UNC law professor Gene Nichol

The University of North Carolina’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, in order to comply with a February decision by the university’s system governing board, shut its doors last week.

The privately-funded center based out of the Chapel Hill law school, UNC Board of Governor Chairman John Fennebresque explained in an editorial, “was unable to demonstrate any appreciable impact on the issue of poverty.”

But many had trouble believing that reasoning, speculating that the center’s closing was an attempt to censor Gene Nichol, the tenured law professor who heads the poverty center and a vocal critic of policies passed by the Republican-led legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

The UNC Board of Governors gets its appointments from the state legislature, and its ranks include several major contributors to the political campaigns of state Republicans.

But the work at the poverty center isn’t finished, Nichol wrote in the Institute for Southern Studies last week.

Funding for the center’s work has continued, and even increased, after the controversial closing of the center, and Nichol will now head the N.C. Poverty Research Fund.

From Nichol, in the Institute for Southern Studies:

I’ve been blessed with a long and varied academic career. But none of my efforts has approached the extraordinary honor of working, side by side for the past seven years, with North Carolina low-income communities and the dedicated students, professors, advocates and providers who seek to serve them. Together, we have sought to focus a meaningful light on the challenges of poverty and to push back against policies that foster economic injustice. Those efforts, as you know, have led the UNC Board of Governors to close the Poverty Center. But poverty is the enemy in North Carolina. Not a tiny, privately-funded Poverty Center.  Heather Hunt and I have no words to match the gratitude we feel for the astonishing support the Poverty Center has received, in recent months, from thousands across North Carolina and the nation.

As the Poverty Center closes, the Law School now launches the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund. Thanks to the generosity of North Carolina foundations, and engaged and committed citizens from across the country, the new Fund will allow us to hire student, faculty and post-doctorate scholars to assist us in probing the causes of, and solutions to, economic injustice – and to publish, extensively, the fruits of our research. Donors have indicated repeatedly that they are unwilling to see the crucial work of the Poverty Center driven from the halls of the university. The Fund will assure that it continues, and that it continues in Chapel Hill. Censorship has poor track record. It won’t prevail here either.

Poverty is North Carolina’s greatest challenge. In one of the most economically vibrant states of the richest nation on earth, 18 percent of us live in wrenching poverty. Twenty-five percent of our kids. Forty percent of our children of color. We have one of the country’s fastest rising poverty rates. A decade ago, North Carolina had the 26th highest rate among the states. Now we’re 10th, speeding past the competition. Greensboro, the federal government tells us, is the hungriest city in America. Charlotte has the nation’s worst economic mobility. Over the last decade, North Carolina experienced the country’s steepest rise in concentrated poverty. Poverty, amidst plenty, stains the life of this storied commonwealth. Even if our leaders choose to ignore it.

You can read the rest of Nichol’s comments here.

News

Want to know what the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors is looking for in its next leader?

Here’s the 46-page leadership statement (scroll down to read) adopted Thursday by a board subcommittee that spells out what qualifications, qualities and values are desired for whoever replaces outgoing UNC President Tom Ross.

The statement was developed by taking input from a number of stakeholder groups, from the board itself, as well as faculty, students, alumni, business leaders and the general public.

As would be expected, there was significant variety in what different groups are looking for in the next UNC president.

According to the lengthy leadership statement, students want an energetic leader, who “values diversity and accessibility in the UNC system.”

Read More