UNC System

wileydoc / Flickr

North Carolina State University announced a return to in-person classes and on-campus living for the spring semester yesterday. The school closed in late August after a rise in COVID-19 cases. School reopenings led to spikes in cases across the country, according to a new study co-authored by two North Carolina-based professors — as many as 3,000 cases per day. 

Liz Schlemmer

Despite the pandemic, the UNC System reached record-high enrollment this fall for the third year in a row —  and that's good news for the university system's bottom line.

Overall, the UNC System saw a 1% increase from last year's enrollment.

"In any other year, that might be a completely ordinary bit of news," said UNC System President Peter Hans, "And yet, in this year of unprecedent disruption across our state — across our world — I think that's an extraordinary achievement."

Courtesy of UNC System

The UNC System president will now have more say in choosing new chancellors when vacancies arise at the system's 17 campuses.

On Wednesday, UNC Board of Governors approved a major change to its policy on chancellor searches, at the request of Peter Hans, the UNC System's new president.

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

 

Walking through the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s campus, some things feel like a normal fall semester, with familiar sights like student volunteers running a voter registration drive.

Other things look very different.

As COVID-19 cases climb at many colleges and universities in North Carolina, schools are maintaining dashboards to track and present different data and terminology. But are the dashboards enough of a resource to keep students and faculty informed about the virus on their campus?

On this edition of the Politics Podcast, we're featuring an episode from Tested, a podcast at WUNC that takes a hard look at how North Carolina and its neighbors are facing the day's challenges.

Tested host Dave DeWitt talks with WUNC education reporter Liz Schlemmer about the role of dashboards in tracking COVID-19 cases at colleges and universities.
 


As COVID-19 cases climb at many colleges and universities in North Carolina, schools are maintaining dashboards to track and present different data and terminology. But are the dashboards enough of a resource to keep students and faculty informed about the virus on their campus?

Host Dave DeWitt talks with WUNC education reporter Liz Schlemmer about the role of dashboards in tracking COVID-19 cases at colleges and universities.
 


Gerry Broome / AP Photo

At least 3,000 college students in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus since campuses reopened last month for in-person classes, with an overwhelming number of cases coming from just three campuses, an Associated Press analysis shows.

Students sitting on the North Carolina State campus wearing masks and socially distanced.
N.C. State University

Within one month of reopening campuses, positive COVID-19 cases are cropping up throughout the UNC System. Three of the system’s 17 schools have already pivoted to remote instruction: UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University have all ended in-person instruction, encouraging students to move off campus as soon as possible.

UNC-Chapel Hill covid masks
Gerry Broome / AP

As North Carolina college students return to campuses to resume in-person classes, universities are providing infrequent coronavirus updates with wildly different levels of transparency.

Meanwhile, two schools in the University of North Carolina System reported new COVID-19 clusters.

photo of drive-thru coronavirus testing in Chatham County
Staff Sgt. Mary Junell / U.S. Army Photo

While UNC-Chapel Hill moves all of its undergraduate classes online this week due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases among its students, several other universities in the UNC System are facing smaller outbreaks.

A photo of a tunnel at the Coker Arboretum in Chapel Hill.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

A week after students returned for a combination of in-person and online classes, leadership at UNC-Chapel Hill moved to fully online learning in response to a surge of COVID-19 on campus. The positive testing rate among students rose from 2.8% in the week of Aug. 3 to Aug. 9 to 13.6% in the week of Aug. 10 to Aug. 16. 130 positive cases were reported during that period.

UNC Facilities

Students are beginning to arrive back on campuses across the UNC System, and workers are concerned for their own safety amid early accounts of inconsistent mask-wearing and large social gatherings on campuses.

Courtesy Jon Gardiner / UNC-Chapel Hill

A group of university staff and faculty have filed a lawsuit against the UNC System to seek safer working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. The plaintiffs are asking for a Wake County Superior Court judge to grant them class action status, and to step in on behalf of all UNC System employees.

Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Amanni King sits at the front desk of a residence hall at Fayetteville State University, killing time while she waits for students. She's a resident assistant and her first move-in day of the pandemic feels slow compared to the usual welcoming.

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. 

Peter Hans, the newly elected president of the N.C. Community College System, delivers remarks while North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, from left, House Speaker Tim Moore and Gov. Roy Cooper listen during a news conference in Raleigh
Gerry Broome / AP

 

The current president of the North Carolina Community College System Peter Hans will take the helm of the University of North Carolina System beginning in August.

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

North Carolina's community college system president will become the next head of the University of North Carolina's 17-campus system, a UNC governing board member said on Thursday.

Kristy Dactyl

As colleges across the nation deliberate over whether to continue holding classes remotely in the fall, UNC system schools — including North Carolina A&T State University, NC State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — have already announced their tentative plans for campus reopening.

Courtesy of UNC System

The University of North Carolina System is tightening its belt in anticipated billions of lost state tax revenue in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nchole Yeo / Flickr

 

Vanessa Barnes has helped students navigate college admissions as a high school guidance counselor for 20 years. She knows all the ins and outs of applications, but her goal is simple.

“My passion is I want kids to be able to go to school,” Barnes said.

Barnes is a member of the North Carolina School Counselor Association, and has worked in both urban and rural schools. She says especially for less advantaged students, college can make all the difference.

The Statue of Minerva on the campus of UNC Greensboro
Courtesy of UNC Greensboro

While colleges and universities across North Carolina move classes online, administrators are also dealing with the complications that come with reducing on-campus operations.

Silent Sam
Gerry Broome / AP Photo

A group of high-profile UNC-Chapel Hill alumni are joining the fight against the UNC System Board of Governors' settlement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

NC School of Science and Math-Morganton

The North Carolina School of Science and Math has been aiming to open a residential campus in western North Carolina for fall of 2021, but it could be delayed by a year due to the state budget stalemate.

Amy Townsend / WUNC

North Carolina students face a new roadblock when it comes to participating in the next U.S. election. Most of the state’s public universities have until Nov. 15 to re-apply for their student identification to be used as valid photo ID at polling places. Nearly half of N.C. higher education institutions missed the initial March deadline and had to scramble to meet a new deadline on Oct. 26.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

More trouble in the UNC System this week with a chancellor suspended after being caught on film at a bar with co-eds. 

A former congressman and North Carolina GOP chairman pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an investigation of a bribery scheme.

And state lawmakers ressurected a controversial bill, backed by Duke Energy, that would, among other things, give the energy company more autonomy to set rates. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss all that and whether the General Assembly will adjourn before Halloween. 


Randy Ramsey, left, and Wendy Murphy are now chairman and vice chairwoman of the University of North Carolina board of governors.
UNC System

The governing board that oversees the 17-campus University of North Carolina System appointed two new top officers on Tuesday.

The UNC Board of Governors promoted Randy Ramsey from vice chairman to chairman, and Wendy Murphy to take Ramsey's vacated role. The chairman seat came empty when Harry Smith said last week that he would step down, though he remains on the board.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Democrats have filed another lawsuit challenging North Carolina's political boundaries, this time charging that the congressional map is too partisan. Could it make tensions between state Republicans and Democrats worse? This week the finger-pointing between lawmakers in the General Assembly included calls for lie detector tests.

Meanwhile, more resignations made us wonder who would want to be president of the UNC System. And video of a drunk driver raised questions about whether Blue Cross NC properly reported the arrest of its CEO. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch synthesize the week's political news.

File photo of a family meeting a new baby.
Scott Sherrill-Mix / flickr, creative commons, https://flic.kr/p/KP8gps

Employees across North Carolina's public university system will soon receive paid time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child.

The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors, which oversees the 17-campus public university system, approved a new family leave policy that will give eight weeks of paid time off to birth mothers, and four weeks of paid time off to new fathers or other non-birth parents.

Raja Sambasivan / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/tracerbullet999/5825323478/

Twenty-one states extend in-state tuition to either undocumented immigrants or beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Legislation proposed by state Democrats would make North Carolina the 22nd state to offer that tuition rate, but Republican support is an unlikely prospect.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

It was a controversial week in the University of North Carolina system. As the chancellor at East Carolina stepped away, a sitting member of the Board of Governors criticized the chair of that body, and legislators voted on future BOG members.

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