This Thursday, Join The “Great American Smoke-Out”

Are you a smoker who’s thinking about quitting? There’s no better day to start than Thursday.

That’s the day of the Great American Smoke-Out, a national event held every year by the American Cancer Society.

The Smoke-Out “encourages people who smoke or use tobacco to quit for 24 hours,” says Barbara Silver, the program manager for employee wellness at UNC Family Medicine and the Town of Chapel Hill. “And then if they’re successful, to quit for another 24 hours – and just do it one day at a time, as a prelude to being able to quit altogether.”

If you’re one of the 42 million Americans who smoke, and you’re looking to quit, UNC’s Nicotine Dependence Program is setting up booths around town on Thursday from 11 to 3 as part of the Great American Smoke-Out.

“We’ll have information tables at the (UNC) hospital outside of Starbucks (and) at UNC Family Medicine by the patient entrance,” Silver says. “And then CVS also has been partnering with us because they’re not selling tobacco anymore – (so) we’re going to have some pharmacy students helping us down there on Franklin Street.”

And if you can’t make it to the booths, there’s also a statewide quit line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW. You can call that number at any time – but if you call on Thursday, as part of the Great American Smoke-Out, you can receive even more support.

“If you call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, on Thursday, the Quit Line will give you eight weeks of free (nicotine) patches,” says Silver.

Silver says nicotine patches and other forms of medication can double your chances of quitting successfully.

It’s a hard road to quitting, and there may be stumbles along the way – but Silver says those stumbles are just “bumps on the road to progress.” And it is possible to quit – you just have to take it one day at a time.

Matt Englund of UNC Health Care has been smoke-free for a year.

“(I did it by) spreading out my cravings,” he says. “When you want a cigarette, you just take an extra 15 minutes and try to hold off – then try 30 minutes, then an hour, and eventually you train yourself to realize that you don’t – though you think you need it at that moment – you don’t need it at that moment…

“And work up to the moment when you can take a day. Take two days. Take a week. Do as much as you can – and keep trying until you’re successful.”

England and Silver joined Aaron Keck on WCHL this week.


The Great American Smoke-Out is held every year on the third Thursday in November. For more information, visit the American Cancer Society’s website, – and for more information on programs here in our area, visit the Nicotine Dependence Program’s page,

Group Sues UNC, Charging Race Bias In Admissions

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

An organization called the Project on Fair Representation filed a lawsuit against UNC Monday, charging racial discrimination in its admissions policy.

The group also filed suit against Harvard University as well.

The suit against UNC cites a 2013 Supreme Court case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, in which the Court ruled that it was acceptable for colleges to pursue diversity as a goal in admissions – but also that they should pursue “race-neutral alternatives” first, and any race-conscious policy must be “narrowly tailored.”

The suits were filed Monday in Boston and Greensboro. In both cases, the plaintiff is actually a group called Students for Fair Admissions.

On Monday, Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs Rick White issued a statement in response to the lawsuit. It reads:

“The University is aware of the suit filed today by the Project on Fair Representation. The University stands by its current undergraduate admissions policy and process. Further, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights determined in 2012 that UNC-Chapel Hill’s use of race in the admissions process is consistent with federal law.

“As the University wrote in a 2012 amicus “friend of the court” brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the University continues to affirm the educational benefits diversity brings to students, as well as the importance of preparing students for a diverse society and assuring a pool of strong state leaders by admitting undergraduates from every background.”

UNC Faculty Call For More Athletics Oversight

Some UNC faculty members want to create a new committee to oversee academic decisions regarding athletes.

Four professors petitioned the Faculty Executive Committee on Monday, saying the current committee charged with that task fell far short, as evidenced by the findings of the Wainstein report.

That report identified nearly 20 years of fraudulent classes involving more than 3,100 students, many of whom were athletes.

Now, some are calling for more participation from professors in the College of Arts and Sciences, where most undergraduates and student athletes take classes.

Currently, six of the nine members of the Faculty Athletic Committee teach in the professional schools.

Proponents of the changes say they plan to draft a formal proposal to restructure the committee to include more professors who have direct contact with student athletes.

The Faculty Athletic Committee is hosting the second in a series of listening sessions on academics and athletics in the aftermath of the Wainstein report. The session is scheduled for Tuesday, November 11, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in the Hitchcock Room of the Sonya Haynes Stone Center. You can learn more here.

Local Melanoma Survivor Warns Students: “Respect The Rays”

A study recently published in the journal JAMA Dermatology found that 12 percent of U.S. News’ top 125 colleges have indoor tanning facilities on campus, despite the associated risk of skin cancer – and 42 percent have indoor tanning facilities offered in nearby off-campus housing.

UNC’s not among the 12 percent, according to Timna Understein, founder of a Chapel Hill-based organization called Respect the Rays. But Understein says there are tanning beds in the area – including some at housing complexes near campus – and they do cater to students.

“UNC-Chapel Hill does not have tanning facilities on campus,” Understein says. “(But) there are six (facilities) in the Chapel Hill area. None of the six let the kids use the OneCard…but they did say (they) offer student discounts.”

Understein researched tanning-bed availability in Chapel Hill. Check out her findings here.

Understein’s own personal journey – she’s received three melanoma-related diagnoses – inspired her to start Respect the Rays. She now speaks at local schools about the dangers of UV rays.

“UV radiation – whether from the sun or from a tanning bed – is classified as a human carcinogen,” she says. “Which means that an exposure to it can lead to cancer.

“So if you think about it in those terms, there really is no safe way (to tan).”

Understein joined Aaron Keck on WCHL last week.


Though there are no indoor tanning facilities on campus, Understein still says that UNC college students are at risk.

“People who first use tanning beds before the age of 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent,” she says. “(That’s) a statistic that’s pretty scary.”

UNC Info Project Now Fighting Ebola In Africa

After its founding 14 years ago, the WiderNet Project’s eGranary Digital Library has served more than 48 countries at more than 900 locations.

And now, the WiderNet Project has created an Ebola Emergency Response Library initiative to combat the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

The eGranary Digital Library was developed as a low-cost information technology alternative that is an off-line collection of more than 32 million digital resources that serves the world’s poor. On Nov. 13, the WiderNet Project is launching version 1.0 of the Ebola Response Library, which will include resources to stop the spread of the disease.

“We’re gathering as much information from CDC, WHO, all these other organizations, and we’re going to distribute all of that on a little chip,” says UNC Clinical Associate Professor (and WiderNet founder) Cliff Missen. “Somebody who has this little chip can put it in a smart phone (or) a laptop – and most importantly, they can copy it.

“We want that information to be spread faster than the disease.”

Cliff Missen. (Photo via

Cliff Missen. (Photo via

Missen was inspired to create the WiderNet Project in 2000 during his teaching stint as a Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria. Missen says he admires the healthcare workers that are fighting Ebola and wants to help as much as possible.

Missen says he travels to Africa and India two to three times a year for training.

“It’s amazing,” Missen says. “People click buttons and they’re seeing this information and they’re looking at me and asking, ‘Is this legal? Can I have this?’

“It’s like they almost get drunk with so much information – and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.”

McAdoo Sues UNC Over Wainstein Report

As the fallout continues from the Wainstein report, former UNC football player Michael McAdoo has filed a class-action lawsuit against the university.

The lawsuit says UNC denied McAdoo a quality education by steering him into fraudulent classes in the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

McAdoo was one of the football players declared ineligible back in 2010 for receiving improper benefits, including improper assistance on papers. He filed suit against the school then as well, to restore his eligibility – and it was that suit that led to the discovery of the AFAM scandal, when bloggers on an NC State site noticed that McAdoo had plagiarized one of the school papers he’d submitted as evidence to the court.

The current lawsuit was filed in Charlotte last week.

More than 3,000 students – about half of them athletes – took those bogus “paper” classes in the AFAM department during the 1990s and 2000s. The N&O reports that the players on the NCAA-champion 2005 basketball team – which included many AFAM majors – took a combined total of 35 “paper” classes during the 2004-05 academic year alone.

UNC Women Roll In Hatchell’s Return, 88-27

The UNC women’s basketball team rolled over Carson-Newman, 88-27, in an exhibition game Wednesday night in Carmichael Arena.

Sophomore Allisha Gray scored 22 points to lead the way. Fellow sophomore Stephanie Mavunga added eight points and eight rebounds, and freshman Jamie Cherry scored 13. Xylina McDaniel scored the first bucket of the game and ended with 15 points; Danielle Butts had a double-double off the bench, 10 points and 12 rebounds.

UNC scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back. Carson-Newman shot just 18 percent from the floor.

This was the first exhibition game of the year for the UNC women – and it also marked head coach Sylvia Hatchell’s return to the sideline. She missed all last year while fighting leukemia.

UNC has one more exhibition game next Monday before opening its season on Friday, November 14, against Howard in Carmichael Arena.

After Wainstein, Faculty Ask: What Next?

It’s been more than a week since the release of Kenneth Wainstein’s 130-page report detailing a 20-year “scheme” of phony classes and other irregularities at UNC, and the discussion is still very much ongoing.

At a contentious meeting of the UNC Faculty Council Friday, faculty members and administrators (including Chancellor Carol Folt) described their frustrations and concerns, and raised a number of suggestions – some more radical than others – about how to ensure a similar scandal never happens at UNC again.

Andrew Tie reported from the Faculty Council meeting for Carolina Connection, the radio newsmagazine of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

UNC Nursing Student Found Dead; DPS Investigating

UNC police are investigating after a UNC Nursing student was found dead in her car on Thursday evening at the Friday Center Park and Ride lot off NC 54. The victim’s identity is being reported as Olutoyosi Layeni Fatolu.

UNC’s Department of Public Safety is working together with the State Bureau of Investigations. DPS officials say they don’t believe there is any threat to the campus or community, but they’re asking people who have information to call in. You can reach UNC Public Safety at 919-966-2120, or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515 or 919-226-CRIME.

The full statement from UNC is below:

The UNC Department of Public Safety is investigating the death of a UNC Nursing student found in her car Thursday evening, October 30.  The body was discovered in her vehicle, which was parked at the Center Park & Ride Lot off NC 54, two miles east of the main campus.  UNC Police investigators and the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) are cooperating on the investigation.  At this stage of the investigation, there is not believed to be any threat to the campus or surrounding community.  The investigation is ongoing, and additional information will be released as appropriate.
Anyone wishing to provide information about this or any other investigation, may call the UNC Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division at 919-966-2120 or Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515 / 919-226-CRIME.

UNC Parr Center For Ethics Has New Director

UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics has a new interim director: philosophy professor Geoffrey Sayre-McCord.

Arts and Sciences dean Karen Gil made the announcement last week, according to the Daily Tar Heel.

Sayre-McCord replaces Jan Boxill, who was one of the key figures named in Kenneth Wainstein’s 130-page report on “paper classes” and other academic irregularities at UNC. Among other things, Wainstein’s investigation uncovered emails between Boxill and AFAM department administrator Deborah Crowder about what grade a student-athlete needed on a paper in order to remain eligible to compete.

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord is a well-known and respected ethicist. His research has focused on the concept of moral realism and the work of the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume. He told the Daily Tar Heel he plans to remain in the position until the end of June.