Letters to the Editor

04/05 What You’re Saying: Sara Malone, and Roberta Madden

Look more deeply at black athlete graduation rates

The graduation rate of black male athletes who attend UNC-Chapel Hill noted in the news story “Study: Black male athletes at UNC have low grad rates” (Mar. 29) appears to give an extremely biased and incomplete picture of the experience of student athletes who have the privilege of attending a superior public university.

As he looks more deeply into the matter of graduation rates, Christopher Faison may find it helpful to do some additional analysis for the four years included in the Shaun Harper study and forward (2009-2018).

Some questions to ask include: Of the black male athletes recruited by UNC to play football or basketball on scholarship,

▪ How many were fully eligible academically and how many were considered “highly talented but academically at-risk” when they were admitted;

▪ How many intended to earn a degree and how many never intended to graduate because they fully expected to be drafted by the NFL or NBA and enter the workforce as professional, highly paid athletes within one to three years of admission;

▪ How many left school before graduation because they were drafted by the NFL or NBA and entered into paid employment as a result of their experience and training at UNC and how many left school for other, personal reasons and later returned to finish their degrees?

If the purpose of attending a university is to gain skills and experiences that help a student get a well-paying job, the answers to these questions may show a more positive picture for black male athletes than graduation rates alone, especially since UNC won an NCAA National Basketball Championship in both 2009 and 2017 and, as a result, lost several athletes to the NBA before they graduated.

Although currently popular, the claim of “institutional racism” at UNC is intellectually weak and likely not sustainable when other factors are considered.

Sara Malone

Carrboro

Way past time to ratify ERA in NC

April 10 is Equal Pay Day. That date symbolizes how far into 2018 American women must work to get paid as much money as men did in 2017.

According to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, women make 80 cents compared to every dollar men make. But wait. That stark fact applies to all women. Black women, however, must work until August 7 to catch up with men. Latina women won’t get there until November 1.

Shockingly, the American Association of University Women concludes that at the current rate of progress in closing the gap, women won’t get pay equity until the year 2119—a whole century.

Since many families depend on two incomes, paying women less hurts men and children too,

Women deserve equal pay. To ensure equal pay, women need constitutional protection. The Equal Rights Amendment would provide that.

Ratification of the ERA will be considered soon in the Illinois Legislature. It will come up in North Carolina again in 2019. It’s way past time for state lawmakers to do the right thing—for women, for men, for families. It’s a matter of fairness, justice, and common decency.

Roberta Madden

Black Mountain, NC

The author is co-president of the ERA-NC Alliance.

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