Opinion: Clarion Call

Call. 7: St. Augustine’s Fires Admissions Director

St. Augustine’s Fires Admissions Director

St. Augustine’s College of North Carolina made national headlines last week when it announced the firing of admissions director, Keith M. Powell. The announcement prompted the resignation of the entire admissions staff, except for a counselor who was on vacation until Monday, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on March 11. Graham Watt, executive assistant to the president, said that the decline in enrollment at St. Augustine’s did not factor into the decision to fire Powell. Watt told The News and Observer on March 9 that the decision was part of a larger effort to make the college more efficient: “We talked about it as an administrative team…. It brings the whole process together. It just works better when you have people not bumping into each other and working in harmony.”

Mr. Powell, who has worked for the college for 15 years, expressed confusion over the decision. “We were up 20 percent in applications in January than we were last year,” Powell told The News and Observer. “We were up 12 percent in February. I don’t have anything negative in my file… I think the question is: Why did the rest of the staff leave?”

Lawyers protest decision to allow Scalia to speak at UNC School of Law

Some members of the National Lawyer’s Guild, a left-wing activist group, are protesting the decision of the UNC School of Law to bring Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to speak in March. Scalia, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 under President Ronald Reagan, is scheduled to speak at the William T. Joyner Lecture on Constitutional Law on March 16.

This year’s lecture topic – “On Interpreting the Constitution” – would allow Scalia to display his conservative point of view. However, the National Lawyers Guild says Scalia’s interpretation of the Constitution is outdated and against minorities and women. “When the Constitution was written African Americans were not considered human and women were considered property. Through his decisions [on the Supreme Court] he is calling for us to revert to the way things used to be,” the National Lawyers Guild’s President, Milan Pham told The Daily Tar Heel on February 26.

Members of the guild have constructed a letter of protest that they will send to the Black Student Movement and the Sonja H. Stone Black Cultural Center at UNC-CH. Meanwhile, law school Dean Judith Wegner said all of the first-year law classes had expressed interest in attending the speech, “making seating arrangements difficult.”

Students propose compromise on tuition

In response to Governor Jim Hunt’s budget proposal for the UNC Board of Governors to raise an additional $6.5 million in tuition revenues, the Student Senate of North Carolina State University has developed its own tuition proposal. They will accept a tuition increase of up to 4.1 percent but oppose any increase over 4.1 percent. “We wanted to take a stand,” Student Senate Pro Tempore Seth Whitaker told the Technician, NCSU’s student newspaper. Whitaker said that the Student Senate recognized that tuition increases were necessary, but they wanted to make sure student voices are considered in such decisions. The Senate proposed a timetable that would allow the UNC Board to submit its proposed increases to the campuses by October of each year.