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Neighbors on Call’s NC Policy Update for 7/27/20

Education Policy

  • Citing the need to support ongoing campus salary and operational costs, the UNC Board of Governors affirmed that tuition and fees at all UNC campuses will not be decreased, prorated, or refunded if the COVID-19 crisis forces universities to move to online instruction. A few Board members disagreed with the decision, asserting that the online experience is inferior and operational costs should not be passed on to students or families. In another split vote, the Board also agreed to waive the requirement of SAT and ACT test scores for admission to UNC schools, although students may voluntarily submit scores and schools can choose to consider them.

  • A proposed change to chancellor searches at UNC System schools would give more control to the UNC System President at the expense of the local boards of trustees. The change would allow the UNC System President to add up to two finalists to those presented to her/him by an individual school’s Board of Trustees, and – as is now the case - to choose a final candidate to present to the UNC Board of Governors. Incoming UNC System President Peter Hans, who proposed the change, said it would help identify the strongest final candidates, but some UNC Board of Governors members and trustees expressed concerns that a school’s trustees would have little power to object to a candidate. The proposed change passed a vote unanimously in the Committee on Personnel and Tenure and will come before the full Board of Governors this week.

Environmental Policy

  • In a setback for Wake Stone Corporation, the NC Department of Environmental Quality has returned the company’s application to mine a tract of leased land in Raleigh next to Umstead State Park. NC DEQ said the application, which proposes to create a 40-story deep pit in order to extract, crush, and sell minerals for road building, lacks essential environmental impact information. In addition to the NC DEQ questions, many private opponents have claimed the RDU Airport Authority, which is leasing the land to Wake Stone, does not have a legal right to do so.

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