July 1, 2002
Carolina in the News
Current National Coverage
Here is a sampling of links and notes about Carolina
people and programs cited recently in the national media:
Lincoln Memorial Changes Meaning
The New York Times
Anchored on the National Mall, the monuments that stand as the nation's tributes to its greatest
leaders can seem as unchanging as the stones they are built of. But the meaning of monuments,
the messages they deliver to the future, is capable of change even if the stones are not...
...``Monuments have a way of changing, and even reversing, the meanings initially given to them,''
says scholar Jeffrey F. Meyer. ``Years pass, events occur at them, and one day when the fog
lifts over the Potomac we see a different memorial.''...
...``The Lincoln Memorial as finally approved achieved consensus by ignoring the controversies
surrounding the Civil War,'' says Meyer, a professor of religion at the University of North
Carolina. His book, ``Myths in Stone,'' was published last year by the University of California
(Note: The New York Times requires free registration to access articles. Other international pick-
up of this Associated Press story includes The Guardian Unlimited (UK),
In Brief: Mind Matters
The Washington Post
Pediatrician Mel Levine has a mission: To help every child succeed. Three decades of work with
children despairing over difficulty in school, adult disapproval and labels that brand them as
deviant or disabled have convinced Levine that more must be done to meet kids' individual learning
needs. And from "Oprah" and a PBS special to his new book, A Mind at a Time (Simon &
Schuster, $26), he's taking his message to the masses. Levine says learning is based on eight
interdependent "neurodevelopmental systems" -- brain networks that manage functions such as
attention control, memory, language, higher thinking and motor coordination
(Note: Levine is the director of the Center for the Study of Development and Learning and
professor of pediatrics.)
Sin Tax: Cigarette Taxes Sweep Nation
That's by far the highest price in the nation, double what someone might pay in Virginia or the
Carolinas. It's happening because New York City's excise tax on cigarettes is increasing by
$1.42 a pack — a jump of nearly 1,800 percent over the old tax of eight cents...
...Kurt Ribisl, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina, says so-called
"sin" taxes really do work — whether on tobacco, alcohol or anything else. "You serve two
goals: you raise substantial revenue, and you can also reduce the public health burden of smoking,"
he says. "Generally, when the price goes up 10 percent, there's a 4 percent reduction in smoking
in adults, and a 7 percent reduction in smoking in youth."
The Fall of the Flagships
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Think of the flagships in the Lone Star State -- the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M
University at College Station -- and images of great wealth spring to mind. The details are fuzzy,
but they have something do with extensive land holdings and oil wells, producing an endowment
of Ivy League proportions...
...Tuition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is rising more than 20 percent this year
following steep state budget cuts, but James C. Moeser, the university's chancellor, says he is
bullish on the university's long-term prospects because of wealth generated through gifts. The
university, currently in the quiet phase of its capital campaign, has already received commitments
for 80 of the 200 endowed professorships it aims to create.
(Note: The Chronicle of Higher Education requires a subscription to access articles.)
Former Chairman of the NEH Heads Back South
The Chronicle of Higher Education
SOUTHERN COMFORT: After concentrating on the scholarly work of an entire nation as
chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities until 2001, William R. Ferris says he's
happy to return to his own scholarship as an associate director of the Center for the Study of the
American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Scientists challenge theory on toxicity of Pfiesteria
A long-simmering scientific controversy over Pfiesteria piscicida, the microscopic cell suspected
of killing fish and making people sick, reached the boiling point yesterday when five North Carolina
scientists challenged the work of the nation's main Pfiesteria expert. The scientists, led by
biologist Wayne Litaker of the University of North Carolina, published the results of their research,
saying they believe Pfiesteria is not the complicated creature described by JoAnn Burkholder of
North Carolina State University, the organism's co-discoverer.
(Note: This story was originated from a UNC release:
State and Local Coverage
A conflict over capital
N.C. State University wanted to recruit a rising star in fungal genomics from Clemson University
three years ago and knew he wouldn't come cheap. But where would the money come from? It
made sense, university officials figured, to use some of its governmental funds intended to support
the indirect costs of research such as utilities, administration and debt service on labs...
...The state's two major public research universities have the most to lose as House members set
their sights on the money. UNC-Chapel Hill receives about 70 percent of the overhead receipts,
while NCSU collects about 20 percent. University leaders say that taking even a piece of the
research money would disrupt an economic engine that pays for itself many times over, providing
hundreds of university jobs across the state and at spinoff companies that license university research.
"It would cripple what is arguably one of the greatest success stories in the history of the state,"
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser said last week.
Follow the bouncing budget cut (Opinion-Editorial Column)
Want to make yourself feel better? Well, there's the tried-and-true creature comfort approach --
pleasant music, nice meal, bottle of wine, bubble bath . . . you get the picture. Or, you can jab
yourself with a sharp stick until you can hardly stand it. Then stop jabbing. Feels great, right? If
the latter approach sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because of the resemblance to recent
events at N.C. State University...
...If they hadn't been worried, Chancellor James Moeser of UNC-Chapel Hill and two other top
campus officials wouldn't have bothered to stop by our office last week. What Moeser and his
colleagues wanted to drive home was the importance of a pot of federal money that accrues to
the universities in connection with their federally sponsored research -- increasingly, a signature
UNC-CH activity, especially in the biomedical sciences.
(Note: Chancellor Moeser and Vice Chancellors Tony Waldrop and Jeff Houpt visited with
The News and Observer's editorial board and key news staff last week to discuss the importance
of overhead receipts to the university's research enterprise and the state's economy.)
Unpopular wisdom from a court (Opinion-Editorial Column)
Perceived judicial attacks on God or country are not taken kindly by the populace or politicians.
This point has been illustrated over and over again by constant attempts to amend the Constitution
to allow school prayer and the punishment of flag burners. So it should come as no great surprise
that when God and country appear to be under attack in one fell judicial swoop, the politicians will
indeed become restless. Consequently, the U.S. Senate's 99-0 rejection of the 9th Circuit's decision
invalidating the phrase "under God" in the flag salute was not unexpected. It was, however, unfortunate.
(Note: Arnold H. Loewy is Graham Kenan professor of law at the School of Law.)
Civil liberties (Opinion-Editorial Column)
Now and then you meet someone who talks a lot without saying much, who uses a good many
words with very few ideas behind them. But the authors of the Bill of Rights were just the opposite.
They wrote 10 brief amendments and packed them with meaning -- so much meaning that we still
have and use the same Bill of Rights today. Or do we?
(Note: Buckner F. Melton Jr. is a constitutional historian who is a clinical associate professor at the
School of Law.)
Groups identified for Horace Williams plan
An executive committee headed by Chancellor James Moeser, several top administrators and trustees
and an advisory committee made up of roughly 100 university and community members will begin
discussions on the Carolina North project on the Horace Williams property this fall, university officials
announced Friday. Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, briefed
representatives from Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Orange County on Friday morning on the outline for
developing the university's Horace Williams tract off Airport Road into a new "living and learning" campus.
UNC medical school adds credit to Spanish courses
As North Carolina’s Hispanic population continues to grow, the ability of Tar Heel doctors to speak
Spanish is becoming increasingly vital. To that end, UNC medical school students will have the
opportunity this fall, for the first time, to receive credit for Spanish language courses.
Area educators praise latest SAT changes
When giving examinations, UNC professor Sue Estroff doesn't bother with standardized tests. She
says they don't allow her to really get into the minds of her students. Estroff, a medical school professor
and chairwoman of UNC's faculty, likes the changes made Thursday by The College Board, the nonprofit
organization that administers the SAT to prospective college students. Prominent among the changes
was the addition of a handwritten essay, which will form the foundation of a third section of the test,
along with the traditional math and verbal portions.
(Note: The Chapel Hill Herald requires free registration to access archives.)
N.C. colleges breathe easier in new budget
A new budget year starts for the state today, so maybe UNC Charlotte can finally plug back in some
of its copy machines. Perhaps UNC Chapel Hill can hire at least one secretary to answer phone calls
from parents asking about dorm room assignments.
STUDENT PRESS: Nice try, but no cigar
From The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper of UNC-CH, columnist Patrick Hogan says UNC's
Honor Code "task force" had the wrong focus. Despite being more than a month behind schedule, the
seven-member panel of students and faculty, headed by Professor Marilyn Yarbrough of the School of
Law, has finally concluded its inquiry and proposed several changes to the student judicial system. The
review, which espouses as its goal to help instill a "culture of honor" at the university, proposes three
main steps that will enable the "honor culture" to flourish.
Greensboro man a star to astronomers
Greensboro News and Record
Gamma ray bursts elude Melissa Nysewander. The energetic explosions, some of the most distant events
in the universe, may be hidden behind a thick veil of dust from distant galaxies. An everyday telescope
can't spot them. Equipment designed to look for infrared waves released by the bursts can. And
Nysewander believes when she finds the bursts, she will also find explosive, dying stars, known as
supernovas, in their midst. And the best part is, the 25-year-old doctoral student from Atlanta can
search from a laboratory near her home, via computer, under the light-drenched skies over UNC-Chapel
Hill -- with the help of a lab made possible by Greensboro's J. Donald Cline...
...Educators say the facility has been indispensable for student training. Chris Clemens, assistant professor
of astronomy at UNC-Chapel Hill, said PARI's facility gives students a chance to practice and make
mistakes before moving on to larger projects for employers.
Issues and Trends Affecting Carolina
Northside issue raises larger questions (Editorial)
Residents of the Northside community, in seeking to protect their neighborhood from exploitation, have
raised interesting questions about the future of development in Chapel Hill. Residents of the historically
African-American neighborhood last week asked the Chapel Hill Town Council for immediate relief from
development pressure. Earlier this month, they took council members and town staff for a bus tour of the
neighborhood, pointing out 15 homes that have been purchased and enlarged in recent years, to the point
that they no longer fit with the neighborhood in scale or appearance.
State budget actions warrant close scrutiny (Letter to the Editor)
Kudos to Tim Grant for calling a crock a "CROCK"! More of us need to wake up and look at what is
happening because, to quote media pundit Michael Parenti, "Government best serves those who can (and
will) best serve themselves." If we don't, who will? Did you notice? Governor Easley's 2002-03 proposed
budget called for "the employer's contribution rate to the State Employees' Retirement System be reduced
from 1.97 percent to 0 percent" while "contributions to the Consolidated Judicial Retirement System be
reduced from 14.05 percent to 11.32 percent."
CVS still in plan for now
In response to appeals from North Carolina lawmakers, drug giant CVS has agreed to postpone its decision
to drop out of the state health plan's prescription program. That means, come Monday, CVS pharmacies
will continue to accept state workers' drug cards and fill their prescriptions while the company seeks to reach
a compromise on fees with AdvancePCS, the company that manages the state health plan's prescription
drug benefit. CVS had intended to stop accepting state health plan insurance Monday in response to a sudden
fee cut imposed by AdvancePCS in late May.
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