UNC Title IX Task Force Recommendations Anticipated To Be Ready By End Of April

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said Friday that she anticipates having a report from the University’s Title IX Task Force by the next Faculty Council meeting, which is on April 25.

The Task Force has been working since May of 2013 to rewrite UNC’s sexual assault policy. The tentative goal was to have had recommendations ready by the fall of last year.

“I think we are all waiting for the report from the Task Force, and I know some people wish that report would come forward,” Folt said.

Christi Hurt, Chair of the Task Force, who also served as Title IX Coordinator for an interim period, has said that the group is regularly reexamining their work and ideas on the sensitive issues.

Once a draft is completed, it will be presented for campus community feedback and then will go before administration for final review.

The Task Force was formed in response to changing federal Title IX requirements for universities and incidents on UNC’s own campus that prompted the need for change.

Folt, who spoke during Friday’s Faculty Council meeting, said she applauded the extent to which the task force is “trying to get it right.” She said a number of changes have already been implemented.

“We believe that a number of ideas that are being put forth by our Task Force are already anticipated, or would be the ones that are the guidelines, for some of that federal attention,” she said.

In January, President Barack Obama announced the creation a national task force to combat sexual assault, particularly at the university level.

The same month, Folt traveled to the White House to participate in policy discussions on a number of topics. During the trip, she spoke with the President and Vice President Joe Biden about policies regarding sexual assault on college campuses. Biden is leading the efforts of The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, as it is called.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

“There is a great deal of interest built on concern that sexual violence has reached epidemic proportions in our nation’s universities,” Folt said.

A number of representatives from UNC have participated in the on-going national conversation.

UNC graduate student Katie Akin, a member of the UNC Title IX Task Force, was invited to sit at the table next to the Vice President in February during a discussion on sexual assault. She offered several recommendations for his consideration.

Vice President Joe Biden talks with Katie Akin; Photo by David Lienemann

Vice President Joe Biden talks with Katie Akin; Photo by David Lienemann


VP Biden To Visit Chapel Hill For Hagan Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Chapel Hill Friday to help raise campaign money for State Senator Kay Hagan.

The White House made the announcement on Tuesday.

Hagan seeks re-election next year. Vice President Biden had planned a trip to Durham last month, but that trip was cancelled due to the partial government shutdown.


Vice President Joe Biden Calls Chapel Hill Mayor

CHAPEL HILL – Shortly after Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was easily re-elected to his third term last Tuesday, he received a surprise phone call of congratulations from the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden.

“I just picked it up and said hello, and I was greeted with a ‘Hello, this is Joe Biden,” said Kleinschmidt, a Democrat.

After leaving an election party, he received a call from an unknown number and thankfully answered it rather than letting it go to voice mail.

“I’ve participated in several campaigns over the years and never received a call like that one,” Kleinschmidt said.

Biden, considered likely to run in the 2016 presidential election, made several calls that evening to Democratic municipal election winners in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucus, and the battleground states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to USA Today.

“We have a particularly well-tuned-in White House that understands that change is made by fostering and nurturing connections between all levels of government,” Kleinschmidt said.

The Vice President has pledged support for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan as she seeks a second six-year term in 2014. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is one of several Republicans running for their party’s nomination to challenge her.

Kleinshmidt is among those who support Hagan.

“I told him [Biden] how excited I was to participate in the next election here in North Carolina next year and [for me to help] Senator Hagan get re-elected. He was glad to hear that.”

Republicans hold a super majority in the North Carolina House, Senate and Governor’s Mansion. Many local elected officials here in Orange County have voiced their opposition to legislation enacted by the General Assembly this past legislative term. Kleinschmidt said Biden offered praise for the progressivism that’s come to be attributed to this community.

“He responded by thanking [us] for the work we have been doing and acknowledging that places like Chapel Hill are where progress is being made in our country, and he was grateful that we were continuing to be committed to it.”

As far as offering endorsements for potential presidential nominees in the 2016 election, Kleinschmidt said he was inclined to support Hillary Clinton, though he said it was still early in the process.


Hagan To Get Help From VP Joe Biden In NC

RALEIGH – Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina later this month in part to raise money for U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election bid.

A Hagan spokeswoman confirmed Monday that Biden was scheduled to speak Oct. 21 at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham. Tickets range from $500 to $10,000. Proceeds go to a committee for Hagan, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and state Democratic Party. The News & Observer of Raleigh first reported Biden’s appearance.

Hagan is seeking a second six-year term in 2014. At least four Republicans are running for their party’s nomination to challenge her, including state House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Tillis is getting fundraising help from Karl Rove, the one-time strategist for President George W. Bush. He’ll be appearing at Tillis events next month.


Early Poll Shows Paul, Clinton Favorites For 2016

RALEIGH – In a very early poll for the 2016 Presidential Election, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as favorites for the ticket.

On the Democratic ticket, Sec. Clinton is a clear favorite with 52 percent of Democrats favoring her in the hypothetical primary. The only other candidate who came close is Vice President Joe Biden with 12-percent support.

In the Republican field, it is more of a dead heat, with Senator Paul leading with 16 percent. Just behind Sen. Paul are former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, all with 13-percent support.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who had previously lead polls of potential Republican candidates for the presidency, is now at ten percent, which PPP director Tom Jensen says is a result of Sen. Rubio taking the lead on immigration reform in the Senate.

“A lot of Republican voters think that he’s been too liberal on that issue and that they don’t want to see an immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Jensen says.

On the flip side, Jensen says that Sen. Paul’s high poll numbers and attention come from his filibuster regarding the United States’ drone policy, taking the liberal position on that issue. However, Jensen says it is important to consider who is on the other side of the drone debate.

“Even though the stance Paul was taking on drones maybe was a little more liberal, he was definitely standing in opposition to the president,” Jensen says. “And, I think, if there’s one thing that Republican voters appreciate, it’s a willingness to take on the president.”

Jensen says support for Sec. Clinton’s run for office comes from most Democratic voters wanting both then-Senator Clinton and then-Senator Obama as their presidential nominee but having to settle for just one.

“What you’re seeing now is voters saying, ‘Well, you were very loyal to President Obama, serving in his administration. After his eight years are up, we want you to be the next in line,’” Jensen says.

With the presidential election still far away and no one announcing their candidacy yet, party leaders have yet to weigh in or give their support. Jensen says Democratic leaders would likely support Sec. Clinton if she was to run, but on the Republican side, he says it’s not that simple.

“The Republican side, I think, is a total muddle,” Jensen says. “There’s lots of qualified candidates who are pretty well known and that’s going to take a while to sort itself out.”

When Democratic voters were asked to consider a Democratic nominee besides Sec. Clinton, Vice President Biden was in the lead with 34 percent, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren following with 13 percent.


Fiscal Cliff

I was very fortunate to receive an invitation to visit the White House last Thursday. I was among a delegation of 40 community leaders from across the state of North Carolina who were asked to join in a conversation with the White House Office of Community Engagement about the impending fiscal cliff.

Now the fiscal cliff isn’t exactly my top issue, but I figured that there was no good reason to turn down an invitation to The White House. So while President Obama was having lunch with Mitt Romney and Joe Biden was at a local Costco (see that link for some amusing pictures), we were talking about why it’s important for our country to find a balanced approach to solve this fiscal crisis.

Many members of our delegation pointed out that the country’s poor are likely to suffer the most from government spending cuts that would come with the cliff. That includes the 1.6 million North Carolinians living in poverty, including 600,000 children.

The White House is emphasizing the $2000 that a tax hike would cost middle class families. The Republican plan is patently unfair, asking middle class families to sacrifice in order to keep tax rates low for millionaires and billionaires.

What does this mean for Chapel Hill and Carrboro? I pointed out that a cut in Title I and Title III education funding would eliminate teacher jobs and reduce services to poor students and English Language Learners. Some members of the delegation from UNC described how the fiscal cuts would hurt science researchers and health care providers. Across the state there were concerns about military spending, Medicaid and medicare recipients, and unemployment benefits.

So, let’s sum this up… The President wants millionaires and billionaires to pay a little more. The GOP want to cut spending and hurt the poor, the middle class, education, science research and more. And you (yes, YOU!) can really make a difference by doing one more thing beyond listening to this rant… Contact your Senators and Representative (especially the ones who don’t support the President’s agenda).