UNC Chancellor Carol Folt on SACS, NOA, Silent Sam and more

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt has just started her third academic year at the helm of UNC. She spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about a number of campus-related topics.

You can hear the different segments of the discussion below:

Folt discusses her major priorities for the new year and a self-evaluation of her first two years on the job:


Folt on what she is hearing from the Carolina community in the wake of the ongoing NCAA investigation and accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Folt on the recent spray paintings of Silent Sam and the renaming of Saunders Hall.


Folt on campus issues including underage drinking, sexual assault, and overall campus safety.


Folt on college affordability and accessibility as well as her vision of the future of the university.


10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans has ‘Never Been in Better Shape’ to Protect from Storms

Saturday marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina washed away much of New Orleans, and one UNC faculty member has been along for the ride from the storm’s approach through the rebuilding of the city.

Rick Luettich is the Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill, and he works out of a satellite location in Morehead City. He vividly recalls monitoring models of Hurricane Katrina as it barreled into Louisiana on August 29, 2005.

“[The models] suggested a bad storm, a storm where water levels got high and, in some cases, may have exceeded the protection system that was there,” he says. “But into the evening and into the night, after dark, we didn’t anticipate the massive failures and the catastrophe that occurred.

“And that didn’t start to become evident until the sun came up the next morning.”

When the sun came up the devastation was overwhelming. The nation watched as families were stranded, standing on their rooftops hoping to flag down a rescue squad that had enough room to bring on additional survivors. We still don’t know for sure how many people died during the hurricane and the subsequent flooding, estimates range from 1,200 to more than 1,800. Damage totaled an estimated $108 billion.

The massive number of fatalities and damage was brought about because of the failure of the levees that were designed to protect the below-sea-level city.

“Not because the water in many areas had gone over the top of them,” Luettich says, “but simply because they had failed prior to reaching their design elevation.”

Luettich says that protection against flooding wasn’t new for New Orleans. They’ve been threatened for hundreds of years from the mighty Mississippi River in addition to the coastal waters.

In the two years following Hurricane Katrina, Luettich was one the prominent researchers studying the forensic data to find out what happened and what needed to be done to keep it from happening again, including rebuilding levees that would sustain the city.

“The modeling system that we have was used to understand and predict how high that needed to be,” he says, “whether it was 12 feet above sea level, or 25 feet above sea level, or what, around the entire perimeter of the city.”

Luettich says no matter how much preparation you put into protecting the city, there are certain challenges that will never subside.

“The biggest challenge that Louisiana faces is its geography,” he says, “its elevation relative to sea level, the fact that it’s sinking. That’s their biggest challenge.

“Probably the second biggest challenge is simply the high potential for storms going there. As you map out historical storm paths, southern Louisiana is a hot spot for those hitting.”

Luettich adds that New Orleans is in better position to protect itself today than it ever has been in the past, but that is still no guarantee.

“It will be a constant battle, if you will, between man and nature so long as New Orleans continues to be inhabited,” he says. “It’s easy to anticipate the next 50, maybe even 100 years there.

“But even as you look to much longer time spans – several hundred years henceforth – and predicted sea level rises, it becomes a much bigger challenge to wonder how long New Orleans can hold on.”

Luettich says, “I’d love to be able to come back every 50 years for the next several centuries and just peek at it.”


Charges Against UNC BOG Member Parrish Dismissed

***UPDATE: A member of the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office has told WCHL that the charges against Parrish have been dismissed.***

A member of the UNC Board of Governors is due in court Wednesday morning.

61-year-old R. Doyle Parrish is scheduled to appear in Wake County Court on a simple assault charge following his arrest at his Raleigh home on May 12 after a report was filed by his wife Nancy Parrish – who the report lists as the victim.

READ MORE: UNC Board of Governors Member Arrested in Alleged Domestic Assault

Parrish was appointed to a four-year term on the Board of Governors by the North Carolina House in 2013. Parrish began a leave of absence from the board in July and resigned his post on the search committee, which is looking for the next leader of the UNC system after the board announced in January that Tom Ross would be removed from that position.

READ MORE: Parrish Resigns from UNC Search Committee Amid Domestic Violence Allegations

UNC System Spokesperson Joni Worthington wrote in an e-mail to WCHL on June 29 that, “While many members of the Board of Governors are likely aware of news reports about the allegations regarding Mr. Parrish, this matter remains in the hands of law enforcement and the judicial process, which are in the best position to address it at this time.”

Worthington was responding on behalf of University Governance Committee Chair Joan MacNeill, who was the recipient of WCHL’s original e-mail requesting comment.

READ MORE: Removing a Member of the Board of Governors

University policy states that the Chair of the University Governance Committee, MacNeill in this scenario, would be responsible for submitting a written specification of reasons to consider the board member’s removal.

Clear guidelines are put forward in university policy detailing the removal of a board member for missing a number of meetings or being appointed to a conflicting board, however, there is no clear policy for handling criminal charges being levied against board members.


Researchers Use Smartphones To Track Flu on College Campuses

Katherine Heller is a statistician and assistant professor at Duke University. She and UNC epidemiologist Allison Aiello teamed up with researchers at the University of Michigan to see how a smartphone can help report and predict the spread of influenza on a college campus.

“This kind of data collection technique where we’re recording more data on a personalized level, on a more frequent basis, about people’s health, can be really beneficial in terms of the predictions that we’re going to be able to make or the advice that we’re going to be able to give people,” says Heller.

Using an Android app called iEpi, Heller and associates tracked the health and location data from 100 students at the University of Michigan over a 10-week period during flu season.

Students logged their symptoms on a weekly basis while their phones used GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies to monitor where they went and who they came in contact with.

Students also offered throat swabs for testing if their symptoms suggested they might have the flu. Taken together, these data made it possible to successfully predict who might get the disease next, and to offer iEpi app users a personalized daily health forecast.

Heller says this is part of a trend towards more individualized health care.

“Trying to record more individualized information about each person is really helping allow us to develop these kinds of algorithms where we can do prediction and recommendation about much more person-specific kinds of health advice.”

At the larger level, Heller says this kind of reporting could change how epidemiologists track the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases.

“This gives us much more insight into how disease is being communicated from one person to another, so something like an isolation intervention we might find is very effective in terms of trying to get some disease under control.”

Heller suggests it may prove useful for those with chronic health conditions as well.

“I think it also applies to a lot of other areas of medicine where we can potentially do a much better job if we’re tracking information about patients like diabetics or various other kinds of chronic diseases much more carefully and more continuously than we are currently. That will really aid physicians in being able to treat them.”

Flu season ramps up in October and runs through the spring. This year, one in five college students are expected to get the flu, and close living quarters can help fuel its spread. Officials say vaccination is the best protection.


UNC Launches New Academic Support Website for Student-Athletes

UNC has launched a new website centered on academic services for student-athletes.

The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes at UNC announced the new website that offers information regarding all of the academic support services offered to student-athletes at Carolina, according to the ASPSA Director Michelle Brown.

“The website doesn’t change or doesn’t present new services,” she says. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase the services to the prospective families and student athletes, our current students and our faculty members.”

UNC has an estimated 800 student-athletes spanning 28 sports.

Brown has been at UNC for nearly two and a half years. She says that, since the uncovering of the paper-class scandal at UNC, several new programs have been implemented.

“One of the largest, and the newer, services that we offer is the MAP program,” she says, “which is My Academic Plan. It replaces a traditional study hall program.

“My Academic Plan is more of an individualized plan where it takes into consideration the student’s needs.”

Brown adds they are working to continue the support beyond traditional programs.

“We are taking the skills and knowledge from each individual, putting the learning specialist in there and cross training across from academic counselors,” she says, “so that we can understand how a student would need to study and what they might need to focus on.

“We also have some guided study sessions where we then, in the study hall-environment where they will be studying, practice those skills.”

The university’s website says ASPSA “helps student-athletes explore their interests and abilities and provides numerous academic services, including tutoring, secondary academic and career advising, and University and NCAA eligibility.”

Brown says the new website will better showcase the services being provided to current and prospective student-athletes as well as faculty and administrators.

“This is a place where faculty can come to, to see what services we’re providing [and] find out other faculty committees and groups that are there for them,” she says. “One of the premier parts of the website is the place to showcase the students and their academic achievements.”

Brown adds general population students at Carolina are offered similar services as the student-athletes are provided, but the oversight of the students is not as regimented.


Alcohol-Related Incidents Keep Chapel Hill Police Busy

As the first week of classes at UNC wrapped up, it kicked off the first full weekend of parties with the full student body back on campus. And as the campus was filled with revelers, the UNC student charged in the triple-fatal wrong-way crash on I-85 in July was served new charges.

The police blotter is full of alcohol violations from Thursday through Sunday night.

Chapel Hill Police responded to multiple calls of loud music and parties in Fraternity Court, on the UNC campus, and on Church Street, in Chapel Hill, leading to 10 citations for underage possession of alcohol being issued to citizens between the age of 18 and 20.

It wasn’t only the under-21 population breaking the rules, police also issued six open container citations for the over-21 crowd, along with a 21-year old charged with resisting arrest and public urination, and a 22-year-old cited for being drunk and disruptive and resisting arrest.

More students were issued citations this weekend than compared with move-in weekend earlier this month.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore told WCHL recently that authorities are typically very active early in the semester.

“Our hope is that parents will have set those kids up with some good decision-making skills,” he says, “and then when we set clear expectations, that they’ll choose to follow those. We know that some people won’t.

“But we try to set clear expectations, and then we’re going to have some consequences for those who don’t follow those expectations. And that’s especially true at the beginning of the school year.”

He adds police also have concentrated efforts and a larger volume of calls on certain occasions, including football games and the days surrounding breaks in the academic calendar.

Renewed focus has been aimed at underage drinking on the UNC campus after a rising junior was involved in a triple-fatal wrong-way crash earlier this summer.

20-year-old Chanlder Kania has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder after allegedly driving his 2005 Jeep Wrangler the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing head-on into another vehicle, killing three of the four passengers.

Kania was cited on Friday with two additional charges of obtaining alcohol with a false ID, according to court documents.

Kania is currently under house arrest in Asheboro after posting a $1 million bond. He is scheduled to be back in court on his initial charges on September 25 and has an appearance on October 8 for the additional allegations.


UNC School of Government Preparing to Train Officials Across NC

The UNC School of Government has received a donation to continue training elected officials to best serve residents of North Carolina.

Donna Warner is the Director of the Local Elected Leaders Academy at UNC, and she says their programs will serve several hundred newly-elected municipal leaders across the state following this fall’s elections.

“Our job is to help public officials – and that’s elected and appointed – to lead and govern their communities,” she says. “And to provide the knowledge, the skills, and the context that help them make strategic decisions that are going to move their communities forward.”

This training will consist of budget simulations, conducting mock meetings, and other obligations to bring newly-elected officials up to speed and help veteran politicians bring new thinking into their process.

“One of the things that newly-elected people feel is that they are surprised that no one is in charge,” she says. “The way that our Republic is set up is that the power is distributed.

“People are elected, and they come with an agenda. And what they have to learn is they may campaign as an individual but now you govern as a body.”

Warner says a recent $100,000 gift from Prudential Financial will provide continued funding of initiatives, including an upcoming session with a mix of veteran county commissioners and municipal leaders.

“We don’t know of any other state in the nation that is doing what we’re doing,” she says. “We are bringing together 10 county commissioners and 10 council members for a week of intensive personal-leadership training.

“That gives them an understanding about themselves as well as gives them an understanding about others.”

Program participants are selected from among those who attend educational programs and volunteer for their statewide associations, the North Carolina League of Municipalities and North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.


Danny Lotz Passes Away

A member of the 1957 UNC national championship team passed away on Wednesday.

Dr. Danny Lotz passed away at Rex Hospital, surrounded by his family, on Wednesday shortly before noon, according to a statement from the hospital.

Anne Graham Lotz – who is the daughter of Reverend Billy Graham – found Danny unresponsive in the couple’s pool at their Raleigh home on Monday afternoon. The hospital’s statement reports Lotz’s heart stopped while swimming. Emergency responders “restarted” his heart and transported him to Rex Hospital, where he remained hospitalized.

Lennie Rosenbluth was a teammate of Lotz on the ’57 championship team. He tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge that he had just recently spoken with Lotz while planning a team reunion.

Listen below:


Lotz was 78 years old.

UNC released the following statement regarding Lotz passing:

“The University of North Carolina and the Tar Heel basketball program extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Danny Lotz. He was a true gentleman and beloved member of our Tar Heel family. His brother, John, who passed away several years ago, was also a wonderful ambassador for the University as well as an outstanding basketball coach. Danny and his teammates permanently etched their names in the history books as members of the undefeated 1957 national champions, but his positive impact on people went far beyond basketball. Our prayers go out to the Lotz and Graham families and all of Danny’s friends, colleagues and teammates.”

The Lotz Family released the following statement through Rex Hospital:

The Lotz family appreciates all the prayers and expressions of love and support that have poured in this week, which the Lord has used to sustain them during this time. They respectfully ask for privacy as they mourn their loss and celebrate the life and legacy of a great husband, father and man of God.

Gov. Pat McCrory released the following statement:

Ann and I were saddened today to hear the news about the death of Danny Lotz. Danny was a champion in so many ways. First as a member of UNC’s 1957 undefeated national basketball championship team and then later in life as his faith led him to be a strong supporter and mentor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as a dedicated Bible study teacher. He was truly a North Carolina legend. We send our prayers to his wife Ann and the rest of their family in this truly difficult time.


From Afghanistan to Chapel Hill

There are many amazing stories among the thousands of incoming students at Carolina for the fall semester, including Zach Johnson’s course to UNC.

The 25-year-old has not followed a typical path to the Carolina campus.

“I don’t think I’m too much different than any other student,” he says. “But my story is a little bit different in the sense that I didn’t go straight into college when I was 18; I joined the military on my 18th birthday.

“I was finishing up high school, and I just wanted something different. I was trying to challenge myself. I was young and thought I was invincible, that led me to sign up for the Marines.”

Johnson says seeing everything that was going on in Afghanistan made him want to get involved.

“By the time I was 20 years old, I was over there,” he says. “I completed one deployment, and I came back home [and] heard about the bomb-dog handling position opening up.

“That’s how I met Gus.”

Gus is the Golden Labrador Retriever Johnson was matched up with after telling instructors that he wanted a challenge. The relationship between human and canine didn’t get off on the best foot.

“When we got to the kennel – you can’t see the dogs, you can only hear them – there’s about 35 dogs and there’s one growl that you can hear over all the rest of them,” he says. “They looked at me and said, ‘You hear that growl? That’s your dog.’

“He’s an unassuming looking dog, a beautiful golden retriever, and I went in there and he bit me on the hand on the first day.”

After their initial relationship troubles, Johnson says Gus was an amazingly loyal dog for a year and half, joining Johnson on hundreds of patrols and searches before retiring in 2012.

Johnson joined the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program after enrolling at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. Now that his transfer to Chapel Hill is complete, he has eyes on another challenge.

“Next goal is to earn my place into Kenan-Flagler,” he says. “I think Chapel Hill has one of the best business programs in the country, especially for undergrads.

“I’ve had my eyes on that prize since I applied for C-STEP about a year and a half ago at Cape Fear.”

Johnson adds there is one part of the Chapel Hill experience, outside of the classroom opportunity, that he is most looking forward to.

“I keep hearing about Halloween night on Franklin Street,” he says. “Everywhere I go I hear about Halloween on Franklin Street.”

And while a final costume decision hasn’t been made, he says a military-theme is highly likely.


Former UNC Football Players Rally Around Teammate Battling Cancer

A former UNC Tar Heel football player is battling major health issues and his teammates are coming in for support.

Quincy Monk played linebacker for Carolina from 1998 through 2001, finishing second on the team in tackles in his senior season, before being selected by the New York Giants in the seventh round of the NFL draft.

Monk played two seasons for the Giants before finishing his football career with the Houston Texans. But now Monk is facing another aggressive opponent, cancer.

One of Monk’s teammates during his time at UNC, Kory Bailey, tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge more about Monk’s situation and why so many former teammates are coming to his aide.

Listen below:


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