It is not yet possible to know all the implications to Carolina from the current economic crisis, but concern grows daily. Cuts already have been made to the University’s budget for this year, and additional cuts will need to be made before the end of this fiscal year. A revenue shortfall also will prompt reduced state funding next year. The College of Arts and Sciences has curtailed faculty searches for this year as well as for next year, which means we’ll have fewer faculty, fewer courses and larger classes.
Understandably, many alumni are concerned about the short- and long-term effects of such cuts for the quality of the student experience. Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 and his senior administrative team have emphasized that the highest priority is to absorb cuts that do the least harm to Carolina’s core educational mission.
It is reassuring that Carolina again has a record number of applicants for admission as undergraduates as well as for graduate and professional schools. While state revenues are well behind, state officials also know there’s nowhere else that they can invest a dollar that leverages $3 in expenditures. Carolina’s private giving remains strong, and supporters already are stepping forward with additional or new gifts. Carolina’s long commitment to providing financial aid to needy students is not in jeopardy. And Carolina’s faculty remain remarkably competitive in securing ever-increasing research funding.
Recognizing that some Carolina alumni are unemployed, underemployed and seeking a new job, or are concerned about job security, the GAA again reminds all alumni that we have many resources available that can most easily be accessed at alumni.unc.edu/tools. Take advantage of our certified career coach, access the 5,400 alumni volunteers who are part of our Alumni Advisor Network, review online job listings, get information and rates on short-term health insurance, network with your local Carolina Club or the GAA’s LinkedIn group, and save $100 on Kaplan prep courses. And if you want to help fellow Carolina alumni, you can post a job opening or volunteer to be an alumni career adviser.
The Carolina community has a long and proud history of pulling together and helping each other in times such as these.Writing in the Alumni Review in February 1932, then-Dean of Students Francis F. Bradshaw urged the establishment of an Emergency Student Loan Fund, noting that without it “over five hundred worthwhile students in the University of North Carolina will be forced out of school back upon `bankrupt homes and jobless towns.’ ” Bradshaw reminded readers that such a loan fund was similar to the Deems Fund established at Carolina in 1879 that made loans to 1,835 individuals, including 36 ministers, 208 lawyers, 280 teachers, 33 journalists, 113 doctors, 23 bankers, 17 manufacturers, 20 chemists and 47 engineers.
Bradshaw proudly reported that the Carolina community rallied behind the establishment of the Emergency Student Loan Fund, including 2,000 students and faculty “from salaries cut once and about to be cut again.” He further noted that “the employees of the laundry, white and colored, vote 10 percent of a week’s wages.” Women in Chapel Hill raised money from a benefit bridge tournament while the movie theater did a benefit show, and the Grail held a benefit dance. Sunday schools participated as did the local press, the Board of Trustees and the GAA. Bradshaw reported that “the University Janitors Association gave $5, saying, `In times like these we all have to stick together.’ ”
These last words from the Janitors Association in 1932 reflect the observations that Chancellor Thorp recently shared with the campus: “I am inspired by the way the campus has rallied to face the budget situation. Overwhelmingly, what I’ve heard is that we’re all in this together. What matters is the University’s future success in educating students and helping people. That kind of response shows true Carolina spirit and pride. And it will carry us quite a long way.”
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’70