Civitas Review

Ignore the Doomsayers about UNC's Spellings


By Jenna A. Robinson

In late October, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina announced that Margaret Spellings, Secretary of the Department of Education under President George W. Bush, would become its next president in early 2016. In the days and weeks that followed that announcement, faculty groups, student protestors, and talking heads sounded the alarm. Margaret Spellings, they said, would surely be the end of UNC as we know it. Jay Schalin cataloged a few of the complaints here:

“To listen to some of the complaints, she will usher in a right-wing agenda that stops just short of a Spenserian 'survival of the fittest' contest—rigged, of course, to promote a power structure that favors straight white males. Or perhaps, the 'people’s university' will be converted into a tool of corporate interests.”

But a look at her credentials and those of her predecessors reveals that most of the complaints are without merit.

Read More »

The Whole Story About UNC Faculty Raises (Or the Supposed Lack Thereof)


By Jay Schalin

Pity the UNC system faculty, who have only gotten one across-the-board raise in the last four years, and whose average wages have not risen since 2009. Throw in a Republican legislature, a Republican-majority Board of Governors, and a “behind closed door” raise for many of the system’s top administrators, and you have all the trappings of a great injustice.

Except that, when you peel back another layer or two of the onion, another picture emerges. Read More »

Good News on Campus Free Speech


By Jenna Ashley Robinson

This year has brought some dismal news for supporters of free speech.

The William F. Buckley Free Speech Survey revealed that today’s college students have little appreciation for freedom of action and conscience. Sixty-three percent of students are in favor of “trigger warnings.” By a 52-42% margin, students say their college or university should forbid people from speaking on campus who have a history of engaging in hate speech. And a shocking 72% of students surveyed said they support disciplinary action for “any student or faculty member on campus who uses language that is considered racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise offensive.”

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the news recently. Student protestors at Dartmouth, Yale, and the University of Missouri made it clear that free speech should take a backseat to politically correct thoughts and attitudes.

But FIRE’s Robert Shibley shares a few pieces of good news in today’s article for the Pope Center. Read More »

State High Court Vacates Death Row Cases


Today the North Carolina Supreme Court vacated all four cases filed under the Racial Justice Act.  All four convicted killers who had their sentences commuted to life without parole by now-retired Judge Gregory Weeks will go back to Death Row. One of the reasons that the ruling was overturned was that three of the cases were heard at one time yet were unrelated.  The Civitas Institute has followed several of the victims families during their journey through the rulings and the families are now relieved that their concerns about the Racial Justice Act have been heard and validated.

So what does this mean in layman's terms?  Well, technically the four murderers are now supposed back to Death Row.  And the case will be heard in the local (Cumberland County) Superior Court.  A new judge will hear the arguments presented again.

There are still questions not answered.  Some of them are: how does this affect everyone else who filed for the Racial Justice Act? How does this effect Death Row inmates who filed the under the Racial Justice Act?  How long will this take?

Needless to say, the victims' families are still waiting for closure in this matter.

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