Praise for Folt
The Retired Faculty Association of UNC Chapel Hill wishes to thank Carol Folt for her many contributions to Carolina. We appreciate her brilliance, energy, warmth, courage, and compassion, expressed in remarkable and untiring work. She oversaw the development of a strategic plan, successful fund-raising (which dwarfs previous efforts beginning with the Bicentennial Campaign of 1993), major advances in research and research funding, and contributions that include a Nobel prize, creative and productive teaching, and notable public service ranging from local to global. We experienced a flowering of the arts, including the Arts Everywhere initiative, and a vigorous defense of intellectual work, exemplified by her oft-noted characterization of the humanities as both liberal arts and also “liberating arts.” Your decision to resign was courageous and intelligent. Our challenge now is to build on what you have done.
Patricia Pukkila, RFA President
Bravo to N&O for “Let’s remember the MLK who wasn’t liked” (Jan. 21). Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, “a riot is the language of the unheard,” applies so well to so much. It calls to mind UNC Board of Governors’ condemnation of those who protested against and finally toppled Silent Sam, including Chancellor Carol Folt. In the face of the board’s intransigence, civil disobedience was inevitable, and by their stonewalling, the board ceded moral high ground to the demonstrators.
I find the loud opposition to the construction of a wall on our southern border surprising. For years, people from other countries have been crossing the border in sizable numbers. It is estimated that we now have 11 million people living in America illegally. President Trump was elected saying that we need a wall.
The border is over 1,900 miles long with many gaps between barriers, so that entry is not difficult. This must change and soon. Otherwise we will be facing huge problems like those being experienced in Europe.
Richer and whiter
The story, “Popularity of charter schools causing Durham district to lose students” (Jan. 8) details the loss of students to Durham and Wake County public school districts and mentions the negative impact of charter schools on public school enrollment statewide. Terry Stoops of the Locke Foundation said, “Charter schools were designed to foster competition with districts.” What sort of competition---to determine how fast a school system can become re-segregated?
Let’s look at the two gate keepers of the charter school program: First, transportation not required. This would rule out those who cannot afford an automobile and those who could not manage the time frame for drop-off or pick-up of the child. Second, lunch not required. This may rule out many additional groups. Studies have shown that often, the free hot lunch is the child’s principal meal for the day.
These two gatekeepers are extremely effective in making most charter schools richer and whiter.
I applaud U.S. Rep. George Holding’s proposal for term limits for congressman. That is the most encouraging news coming from Washington in a long time! Since the president is limited to eight years, however, it seems appropriate that members of Congress might share the same limit. Holding has my vote for the next election. Now let’s see if others in Congress will endorse this plan.
Present and future needs
The Orange and Durham transit plans succeed not only in managing current needs, but also in meeting future needs. Constructing a light rail line that enables a larger number of people to have a 30-minute-or-less commute to the region’s major employment centers will enhance access to jobs and services and support economic opportunity throughout the region.
Beyond economics, transit plans also have social justice implications — and on this metric, light rail also wins. The DOLRT provides transit access to lower-wealth neighborhoods all along its corridor: 43 percent of those living along the corridor are low-wealth and the majority of Durham Housing Authority units are within walking distance of a station. Critics of light rail continue to drag out old arguments about bus rapid transit being a superior option for the Durham-Orange corridor. The case here, however, is settled. Much work was done by transit and planning experts to determine the best transit mode for that corridor. Light rail has key advantages. It will generate more sustainable growth, move more people more swiftly and safely, and connect people to the Triangle’s major employment centers. Given the challenges and needs specific to our region, light rail is a critical step toward a fully integrated transportation system. It’s vital we move ahead.
Molly De Marco