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WUNC's education coverage is led by reporters Dave Dewitt and Reema Khrais. Dewitt has been with the station since 2003. Khrais is focused on Education Policy Reporting. Browse recent stories here.

Budget Cuts, Health Risks Loom For UNC System Campuses And Workers

Courtesy Jon Gardiner
UNC-Chapel Hill

In an email to leaders at all 17 UNC System campuses, UNC Board of Governors Chairman Randall Ramsey asked each chancellor to prepare a proposal that reflects a budget cut of up to 50 percent. 

The cuts are meant as preemptive preparation for a long-term scenario in which campus funding would significantly decrease due to the impact of COVID-19. In meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, the Board of Governors is also expected to further discuss reopening this fall, as faculty, staff and students push back against existing plans.

Workers tasked with cleaning and sanitizing community spaces like dorms, cafeterias, athletic centers and dining halls are especially concerned, as many have returned to campus in advance of reopening and faced health risks in doing so. Earlier this month, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill athletics department reported that 37 coaches, staff and athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

We reached out the UNC Chapel Hill for comment and received the following statement from a statement from Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Becci Menghini: 
“We acknowledge and hear our employees’ concerns. We are incorporating feedback from our campus community, including our valued staff, in our planning for the fall semester. We will continue to work together to address their concerns.”

Host Anita Rao talks to WUNC education reporter Liz Schlemmer about reopening updates and long-term financial planning for the UNC System. Rao also speaks to two UNC Chapel Hill facilities workers — housekeeper Jermany Alston and groundskeeper David Brannigan — about public safety, compliance and risk.

Stacia L. Brown is a writer and audio storyteller who has worked in public media since 2016, when she partnered with the Association of Independents in Radio and Baltimore's WEAA 88.9 to create The Rise of Charm City, a narrative podcast that centered community oral histories. She has worked for WAMU’s daily news radio program, 1A, as well as WUNC’s The State of Things. Stacia was a producer for WUNC's award-winning series, Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon and a co-creator of the station's first children's literacy podcast, The Story Stables. She served as a senior producer for two Ten Percent Happier podcasts, Childproof and More Than a Feeling. In early 2023, she was interim executive producer for WNYC’s The Takeaway.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
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