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The board of governors for the 17-campus University of North Carolina system will decide next month if it wants to freeze in-state tuition and reject some of the tuition increases the legislature mandated for out-of-state students in this year’s budget.

Click here for a detailed overview in the News & Observer of the tuition proposal.

The UNC Board of Governors, who discussed the proposals at a meeting Thursday, will also vote on system-wide2014-15 budget recommendations (click here to see) at their meeting next month, on Feb. 21. The proposal also seeks to reverse an estimated $7.8 million in discretionary cuts called for by the legislature.

Tom Ross, the UNC system president, spoke with reporters after Friday morning’s meeting, said  continual cuts to the university system isn’t sustainable.

“What’s the breaking point when it begins to affect quality?,” Ross asked. “There are times now that we’re hearing from students that they can’t get the course they need. We have to be sure we’re protecting quality as well.”   Read More

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You know things have taken a turn for a worse already under conservative control of the UNC system when the pro-discrimination forces on the religious right are happy with one of the first, major, high-profile decisions.

According to NC Values Coalition director Tami Fitzgerald, the Board’s decision to force LGBT kids back into same-sex living arrangements where they can be more easily bullied once again has brought “sanity to the university housing environment.’

Got that? God forbid that some gay 19 year-old boy might be able to room with a straight co-ed! As the WRAL story notes, more than 100 colleges around the country provide for a gender-neutral housing option (an option that former Chancellor Holden Thorp — a person who has actually interacted with a few modern college students — said was vital to protect the safety of some kids).    

But never mind that now; the sex-obesessed religious right (the same troubled group that fought against laws to protect bullied LGBT kids in the K-12 system for years) is still committed to returning North Carolina to the 1950’s — whatever the cost.  

 

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As legislators get back to work this week crafting their version of the state budget, the head of the UNC system is downplaying the prospect of closing one or more of the state’s 17 campuses to save money.

UNC System President Tom Ross say the idea would save the state less money than one might think – as closing one campus would only increase the demands on another campus. Ross says the state would then have the cost of repairing many of these large buildings before they could be put on the market.

Forsysth County Senator Pete Brunstetter first floated the idea of consolidating campuses last month as a way of saving the state millions of dollars.

Ross tells N.C. Policy Watch that while they are willing to study Brunstetter’s idea, it’s unlikely to yield the big savings lawmakers are hoping to find.

President Ross also tells Policy Watch that he has grave concerns another 5% budget cut, as proposed by Governor McCrory, will impact their ability to  provide high-quality educational opportunities to the state’s residents and assist in North Carolina’s economic recovery.

To hear a portion of Ross’s weekend radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below. Or, visit the Radio Interview section of the website to download a podcast of the full interview.

Also be sure to check out our recent interviews with Diane Ravitch and BTC policy analyst Allan Freyer.

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mccrory-121cGovernor Pat McCrory is finding little support for comments he made earlier this week that the basic funding formula for higher-education should be based on how well universities do in placing students in the world of work.

McCrory told a national audience on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show Tuesday:

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs…”

“….if you want to take gender studies, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if it’s not going to get someone a job.”

That kicked off a petition drive by a Ph.D. student at UNC who has collected more than 1,600 signatures (as of this writing), telling Governor McCrory to give UNC’s liberal arts program “the respect it deserves and keep your politics out of it.”

Here’s a sampling of the comments accompanying the petition:

‘Reading, writing and upper level thinking skills comprise the backbone of an education. Please do not remove the backbone of our future, or else we’re just a societal pile of mush.’ -  Marissa E., Carrboro, NC

‘How did NC elect a Governor who does not understand the relationship between the humanities in higher education to the creation of a good society filled with creative minds?’ - Robert S., Carolina Beach, NC

‘Dear Gov McCrory: After studying a liberal arts curriculum at UNC, I have enjoyed a 30-year (and counting) journalism career. I was California Newspaper Executive of the Year in 2002, share a Pulitzer Prize with staff members at the Miami Herald, and many other awards. My liberal arts education at UNC-Chapel Hill was second to none. I’m confused by your recent comments that people who study liberal arts “have no chance of getting … jobs.” North Carolina universities used to be among the best in the nation. It takes a well-rounded curriculum to produce a well-rounded education.’ - Tracie C., Fresno, CA

‘Even though I am a science major, I have found the diversity of interests at UNC has allowed me to meet all sorts of people that I never would have met if I went to a school much more focused on science. I enjoy conversations with people who have very different interests than I do. They have bright futures ahead of them, and we need to continue to have a diversity of interests at UNC.’ - Ilona F., Chapel Hill, NCUNC petition

‘Shocked and disappointed by Gov. McCrory taking such a ridiculous and ill-informed stance. Yes, we need job training and yes, we need to support community colleges, but not at the expense of UNC liberal arts programs.’ - Lori C.,  Chapel Hill, NC

‘Instead of pseudo intellectual politicians preaching on education perhaps they can move their cronies in the corporate sector to actually hire the legions of graduates from our already existent and successful community college system instead of outsourcing jobs to maximize profits.’ - Charles S., Charlotte, NC Read More