LIVE NOW on 97.9 FM: UNC WBB @ Duke

3 Former UNC Athletes Join McAdoo in Lawsuit Against School

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A former women’s basketball player at the University of North Carolina has joined in a lawsuit which alleges the school failed to provide athletes a quality education by guiding them toward sham classes.

Kenya McBee has joined the class-action lawsuit filed by ex-football player Michael McAdoo in federal court last November.

Another former women’s basketball player, Leah Metcalf, and former football player James Arnold have filed a similar class-action lawsuit in state court.

McAdoo’s lawsuit said he was guaranteed a good education while being recruited, but was ultimately directed toward three options, one of which was African-American Studies — the curriculum that formed the basis for the long-running academic scandal.

UNC spokesman Joel Curran said in a text message that the school wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.

UNC Settles Lawsuit From Mary Willingham

The University of North Carolina has reached a settlement in the lawsuit from learning specialist Mary Willingham, who resigned last year after her public statements about academic improprieties at the school resulted in a tense meeting with Chancellor Carol Folt.

Willingham said she was berated at that hourlong April meeting.

In July, Willingham sued the university, and asked the Board of Governors for reinstatement.

The terms of the settlement have not been announced. UNC has said the settlement does not include reinstatement.

Here is Monday’s statement from UNC, attributed to Rick White, Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs:

“The University has reached a settlement with Mrs. Willingham that resolves all of the outstanding legal issues in the case. We appreciate the efforts of the mediator to help us achieve a successful and timely conclusion to the mediation. We believe the settlement is in the best interest of the University and allows us to move forward and fully focus on other important issues. The settlement is pending review and final action by Judge Boyle.””

Higher Education Contributes Over $60 Billion to NC

Higher Education Institutions across North Carolina contribute over $60 billion to the state’s economy, according to a new study.

Don Hobart, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UNC, says the flagship university’s impact on the economy is felt across the Tar Heel state.

“UNC-Chapel Hill actually represents around $7.1 billion. That’s both the university and the hospital and faculty positions here,” he says. “It’s fair to say that UNC-Chapel Hill is really a powerhouse, in terms of its economic impact and its significance to the economy, in North Carolina.”

Hobart says a variety of factors were considered to reach the $7 billion impact.

“The economic impact of the university’s operations, the research spending that it does, the construction activity that takes place,” he says. “[The study] also looked at spending that was brought to the state. And then a portion of that activity was the impact of the UNC Health Care Medical Center.

He says this speaks to the value of the research being done at Carolina.

“We’ve got doctors who are discovering cures for diseases. We’ve got people inventing techniques to improve the quality of materials in products,” he says. “This study looks specifically at what the economic impact, within North Carolina, of having that type of research activity occurring would be.

“The added income to North Carolina’s economy that results from this research activity is close to $1 billion, annually.”

The economic impact report was released on Wednesday; the same day that a Board of Governor’s committee recommended cutting three centers and institutes from the University System. Hobart says this study shows the work these centers do has a positive impact on society and the economy.

“One of the valuable things that comes out of this analysis, is that it certainly validates the emphasis that the university has placed on centers and institutes,” he says. “The research centers, here on campus, are a major part of our effort to translate the work that gets done in labs and the classroom out into the economy.”

He adds this is one area that is a safe investment.

“Spending on higher education is an example of the spending of taxpayer dollars that actually pays the state treasury back,” he says.

According to UNC’s website, the state budget allots nearly $2.5 billion to fund the 17-campus University System.

Overall, the study found that the UNC System had an economic impact of nearly $28 billion in added state income. The entire higher education system – community colleges, private institutions, and the UNC System – in the state contributes $63.5 billion. That is an equivalent of just over 1,000,000 jobs.

For comparison’s sake, agriculture – the largest industry in North Carolina’s economy – contributes nearly $78 billion to the state economy, according to Department of Agriculture Spokesperson Brian Long. He adds that is an estimated 17 percent of the gross state income.

New Student Body President Elect at UNC

Houston Summers is the new Student Body President elect at UNC.

Voting was extended into Wednesday due to the winter weather on Tuesday.

Summers won the election with nearly 65 percent of the vote while runner-up Kathryn Walker received 35 percent. A runoff between Summers and Walker was held after neither candidate received a majority in the general election.

Summers will take over as Student Body President at Carolina on April 1.

Coach Smith Transcends Rivalry

Wednesday night will be the first meeting between rivals UNC and Duke on the basketball court since the passing of legendary UNC men’s basketball coach Dean Smith.

In memory of Coach Smith, shirts have been made by Chapel Hill’s Thrill City that are dark blue with the letters DEAN replacing the standard DUKE.

via Thrill City

via Thrill City

Reports estimate more than 500 of the shirts have been sold prior to tip off, on Wednesday night.

ESPN’s “First Take” Coming to UNC

The Great Hall, on UNC’s campus, will be hosting ESPN’s First Take for a live broadcast next Tuesday, February 17, the day before the UNC – Duke men’s basketball game at Duke.

Hosts Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and Cari Champion will be broadcasting live along with Rameses, cheerleaders from UNC, the pep band, and some special guests.

This is a student-only event.

UNC Announces Fund to Honor Coach Smith

UNC, in consultation with the family of the late former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith, has announced the creation of the Dean E. Smith Opening Doors Fund, according to a statement from the university.

The release states that the fund will honor the legacy of Coach Smith by providing access and opportunities to Carolina students for generations to come.

The fund is aimed at helping support undergraduate students in need of significant financial assistance to attend UNC. The fund will also support graduate students in education and social work, two fields that were close to Coach Smith’s heart.

The statement says, “Dean E. Smith Scholars will exemplify the qualities of leadership, service and excellence, and be dedicated to the ideals of access and opportunity for all.”

You can donate online and get more information on the fund here.

Thousands Gather at UNC to Pay Tribute to 3 Shooting Victims

Thousands filled the Pit at UNC on a chilly Wednesday evening to pay tribute to three young Muslim college students who were gunned down the day before in Chapel Hill – allegedly, over a parking dispute.

Many, however, say they believe 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks committed a hate crime.

The vigil began with UNC dental students, in their white coats, standing together in the center of The Pit, and holding candles in remembrance of their classmate Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

There were several speakers, including town and university leaders, and friends and family of the three shooting victims.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt thanked everyone for coming out, including busloads of students from N.C. State and N.C. Central universities.

“As is often the case at a time of tragedy,” said Folt, “when you think you’re going to reach out to try to help people, you find that the people you’re trying to help are the ones that, in fact, help you.

“That has been my experience today, as I’ve talked with groups of students, with faculty, with Imam Abdullah, sitting in and watching the prayer ceremony, and even coming here tonight.”

N.C State Chancellor Randy Woodson said it was a day to remember the three young students for all they were, all they wanted to be, and what they could have been.

“Tonight, we remember Razan,” said Woodson, “an amazing design student at NC State, an amazing breath of fresh air for the college, and for that school; Yusor, an outstanding biology student at N.C. State, that was so excited, having only been married for six weeks, to begin her journey in the dental school at Carolina; and Deah.

“If you’ve met Deah, you know that this is a man that possessed the most amazing bear hug that you could ever experience.”

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt told the crowd that he appeared before them with “a broken heart.” The mayor paid an emotional tribute to the victims, and to the town he said they exemplified.

“This community, this university, this town is a welcoming town,” said Kleinschmidt. “It’s a compassionate town. It’s a peace-loving town. I know this for at least three important reasons. The three souls we lost helped not only create, but sustain that truth about who we are, as a community.”

Imam Adbdullah Antepli, the chief representative for Muslim Affairs at Duke University, said that in his 25 years of studying theology and philosophy, he’s never read the passage in any book that could make sense of a tragedy like this.

Still, he offered words of hope in troubled times.

“Three cruel, hateful bullets snuffed out lives that were just coming to fruition,” said Antepli. “We cannot undo the hatred. We cannot undo the hate crime. We cannot undo the bullet…I hope we’re able to leave here with the faith that, at the end of the day, knowledge is somehow more luminous than ignorance; that justice is more beautiful than tyranny.

“And that most important lesson of all: that love is more divine than hatred.”

Deah Barakat’s brother Farris said he’s comforted by his belief that the victims have gone to paradise, where they are elated and happy. He echoed the Imam’s call for peace and tolerance, here on earth.

“If, and it is quite possible, that this was an act based off of evil and a scared, ignorant man, do not let ignorance propagate in your life,” said Barakat. “Do not reply to ignorance with ignorance.”

Chapel Hill couple Chris and Abby Fulton told WCHL that they came out to show support for the families of the victims.

“Three people being brutally murdered so close to home…” said Chris Fulton.

“Yeah, it’s just so sad,” Abby Fulton continued that thought. “it’s like, the least you can do is come out and say this is horrifying, I’m here to say this is horrifying, and to show you that I’m one among many who want to surround you with love from your community, as much as possible.”

Stories Continue to Honor Coach Smith

Thoughts, stories, and memories are still coming in honoring of the late legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith.

Listen below for a conversation with Smith’s longtime Pastor Bob Seymour:

Listen below for reflections from Barry Jacobs:

Listen below for a conversation with UNC Women’s Basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell:

Listen below for memories from Director of Public Policy Polling, and avid UNC fan, Tom Jensen:

Listen below for a great story from Elizabeth Fritz, who scheduled the birth of a child around the 1982 National Championship game:

Listen below for the story of a monk with a weak spot for Tar Heel basketball, as told by local pastor Mark Acuff:

You can hear additional audio here.

And share your story with us.

Roy Williams Remembers Dean Smith

As Chapel Hill and the nation mourns the passing of former UNC Coach Dean Smith, tributes from notables are pouring in from far and wide.

Current Tar Heel Head Coach Roy Williams reflected at a press conference on Sunday.