Letter to the Editor of The Daily Tar Heel

September 4, 2015

On September 3, The Daily Tar Heel wrote an editorial regarding the state of North Carolina’s One State, One Rate policy.  Chancellor Carol L. Folt provided a statement at the request of the editorial staff the day prior to its publication, but it was not included.  Joel Curran, vice chancellor of communications and public affairs, wrote this letter in response; it was published Sept. 4, 2015:

TO THE EDITOR: I was surprised to read your editorial “All students deserve aid,” regarding the state of North Carolina’s One State, One Rate policy.

In it, you point to Chancellor Folt’s silence on the issue. But she has been far from silent. Her thoughts on the issue were shared with you early Wednesday afternoon, well ahead of your paper’s deadline. And the editorial board is well aware Chancellor Folt addressed the same issue last month during a speech delivered at the National Press Club. It’s archived on C-SPAN’s web site.

The DTH Editorial Board has apparently chosen to ignore the Chancellor’s voice, the same way it has chosen not to meet with Chancellor Folt since July when I requested an opportunity for her to meet with the board during the first week of school. Editorial Board Editor Sam Schafer replied, “…it would probably be better for the new board to have time to get used to our work process and get a little experience before we meet with the Chancellor. It usually takes a little time to get a new editorial board in the swing of things.”

Seems like the editorial board is already swinging, and in this case, missing.

Since your first edition rolled off your presses on August 14, you have published at least four editorials that would have benefited from Chancellor Carol Folt’s position, but no request was made. Her invitation still stands, but the DTH’s silence is, well, deafening.

Chancellor Folt’s response: “Nothing is more important to me than providing access to a great education that is affordable for our students. I speak about this often and quite strongly. My entire administration is working hard to identify financial support for these efforts, particularly those focused on first generation students, students from low income families and students entering from non-traditional backgrounds, like community colleges. Not only have I spoken at the White House on this issue several times and increased financial support for initiatives like the Carolina Covenant and Carolina Advising Corps, I recently spent an hour with the National Press Club speaking about this issue.

As the chancellor of a public university, I am bound by current state and federal law, and North Carolina is not one of the states that forgives out-of-state tuition for undocumented students. For these students, we must use funds that we raise via philanthropy to help academically qualified students cover out-of-state rates, and we are working every day to increase these funds.

Some states have adopted a different approach to charging tuition for undocumented students in the last couple of years. Our State now makes it possible for all active duty military personnel to have in-state rates, and that too is another undeserved population that I strongly support. This is a positive step in the right direction.”

Joel Curran

Vice Chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs

Providing context

September 3, 2015

Today, we introduce a new avenue to provide University information to the Carolina community and beyond.  “UNC-Chapel Hill On The Record” allows us to provide context about issues and stories involving the University, and we expect to provide responses to articles, additional clarifying information and outreach on important topics.  Most importantly, it provides an opportunity to explain our unique perspective, and we hope that it will inform your discussions about Carolina.