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Town Hall meetings focus on growth and safety

By Adam Fenwick
Electronic News Editor

Campus construction, safety, growth and e-mail spam were just some of the topics that were brought up Aug. 23, at the first of three town hall style meetings hosted by the university for faculty and staff members.            

Nearly 100 members of UNCP’s faculty and staff were on hand to voice concerns they may have had on any topic.

Community Involvement

The meeting was designed to give individuals on campus the chance to discuss any issues that they might be interested in according to Chancellor Allen C. Meadors.    

“We have a lot of people that are new or relatively new, so this, in my opinion, is very important,” said Meadors.  “We want everyone to have the opportunity to clarify items or ask questions about items that they are interested in.”

Rapid campus growth

Chancellor Meadors opened the meeting by greeting faculty and staff and welcoming them to the meeting.  He touched on a few topics of discussion including the growth of UNCP.             

He noted that from 1985-1999 there were only two new facilities built, but by the end of the 2006-07 school year 17 new facilities will have been built since that time. 

He also noted that over 150 members of the faculty and staff currently employed by the university weren’t here 7 years ago and that anyone with 7 plus years of experience with the university are now in the minority.          

Despite the rapid growth of the university, Chancellor Meadors insisted that the school will maintain its small atmosphere.

“My personal bias is to keep this campus small,” said Meadors.  “I’m trying to protect the jewel we have here and that is the small class size.”

Tight Squeeze            

Chancellor Meadors also spoke briefly about the cramped spaces around campus including touching on the cramped dorms.  He made note that at one point there were 84 upperclassman without housing arrangements that wanted on-campus housing and they were doing everything they could to accommodate every one of them.

Chancellor Meadors was quick to mention however that in the 2007-2008  school year an additional 800 beds will be available once the new residences for students are completed.          

The growth of the university wasn’t the only topic of discussion on the table at the meeting; several university employees were given the chance to ask questions to various members of the administration.

Traffic Issues

The topic of campus safety was raised by Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jason Tinsley.  Coach Tinsley voiced his concern about people speeding down University Road, especially with students having to cross the road more and more to get to their vehicles and the track for sports practice.             

Chancellor Meadors quickly asked University Police Chief David Helton if he would start patrolling University Road and start pulling over speeders.  Any road that runs adjacent to the university is within University Police’s jurisdiction according to Chief Helton.

“What we will probably do is get the highway patrol to come in and assist us with it,” Chief Helton later added.            

Campus Security            

On the topic of campus safety Chancellor Meadors also reminded faculty and staff that if they felt uncomfortable walking at night to call campus police so that they could escort them to their cars.            

“We are among the safest campuses in the UNC system, but that doesn’t mean things don’t happen,” said Meadors.

Spam filter program            

When the topic of spam in the university email accounts was brought up Chancellor Meadors turned the floor over to Dr. Maurice Mitchell, associate vice chancellor for information resources and chief information officer. 

Dr. Mitchell announced to those in attendance that the school had just purchased a new filter program that should be operational within a week’s time.  That, he said, should severally trim back the amount of junk emails to the university email accounts.             “When I wake up in the morning I have 62 emails and two of them might be important,” Chancellor Meadors jokingly added after Dr. Mitchell finished.

Academic Affairs            

Chancellor Meadors also took the opportunity to put to rest a rumor he had heard around the school, which was that all the university fundraising efforts were going towards football.  He stated that this past year the school raised 3.1 million dollars for academics while they only raised 1.2 million for athletics.             

“This university will never put athletics over academics, never,” said Chancellor Meadors.            

Chancellor Meadors also announced near the end of the meeting that they were changing how the coaches were paid. 

In previous years all coaches’ salaries had been paid through academic affairs but starting this year the university has implemented a 10 year plan to remove the coaches’ contracts from the academic affairs budget and give academic affairs more money to use.           

This year alone academic affairs got back $150,000 that in previous years would have been used to pay coaches, but instead will now go wherever academic affairs felt it needed to go. Town Hall meetings were also held Aug. 25 and 30.

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Updated: Tuesday, September 5, 2006
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