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WUNC's American Graduate Project is part of a nationwide public media conversation about the dropout crisis. We'll explore the issue through news reports, call-in programs and a forum produced with UNC-TV. Also as a part of this project we've partnered with the Durham Nativity School and YO: Durham to found the WUNC Youth Radio Club. These reports are part of American Graduate-Let’s Make it Happen!- a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and these generous funders: Project Funders:GlaxoSmithKlineThe Goodnight Educational FoundationJoseph M. Bryan Foundation State FarmThe Grable FoundationFarrington FoundationMore education stories from WUNC

Education Roundup: Sexual Assault Prevention, Student Athlete Pay

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt
N.C. General Assembly

State Representatives approved or considered bills on Tuesday that would address sexual assault on college campuses, as well as study the possibilities of giving college students fixed tuition and K-12 students competency exams. Representatives defeated a bill that could've given pay to college football and basketball players.

Addressing Sexual Assault On Campus  

A bipartisan bill would require colleges and universities in North Carolina to adopt policies that address sexual assault and provide support services for victims. Public and private institutions would need to outline standards for consent between people involved in sexual activity. "Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time," the bills says, and a lack of protest or resistance wouldn’t qualify as sexual consent. The bill also outlines how institutions, which include private schools and community colleges, should properly investigate and respond to allegations of sexual assault. Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Orange), a lead bill sponsor, says the proposal builds on best practices in North Carolina and around the country.

Representatives discussed the bill Tuesday, but have not yet taken it up.

No Money For College Athletes

  House representatives rejected a plan that would’ve allowed private and public universities to pay male basketball and football players. The bill would’ve gone into effect if a lawsuit against the NCAA is upheld on appeal, said bill sponsor Rep. Brian Brown (R-Pitt). UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA over rules that kept him from getting paid when video games used his likeness. The bill would’ve required schools to give athletes stipends to cover the full cost of attendance and create trust funds so players could collect pay after they graduate or finish the program.  

Trying To Keep Tuition Down

To help address the rising cost of college, the sponsors of HB657 want to direct the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to study the possibility of creating a fixed tuition payment program. Sponsors want the board to analyze the feasibility of guaranteeing college freshmen that tuition will stay the same rate through their college career. The measure originally directed the board to develop and implement a fixed tuition program, but it now only requires the group to study the potential of such program. The bill passed unanimously in the House and was sent to the Senate.

Considering Competency Assessments For Students

Under HB 439,state education officials would look into the possibility of giving students competency-based assessments. Sponsors say the plan would generally allow elementary and high school students to advance if they’ve showed mastery in a topic, or get more help if they’re struggling. The bill, which received broad support in the full House, would encourage State Board of Education members to figure out how feasible it would be to implement the competency assessments.

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.
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