A Modest Proposal

Some folks who live near the University have started an online petition. I don't know how effective these things are, but I guess it can't hurt, right? Here's what it says:

To: UNC-CH trustees, Chancellor Moeser, the UNC Board of Governors, the developers of Carolina North

We, the residents of the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, in recognition that the Towns benefit from the University and the University benefits from the Towns, ask for careful consideration of this petition.

The best faculty recruitment tool the University has are neither salary compensation, nor health benefits, but the Towns of Chapel Hill/Carrboro themselves, their natural resources and public facilities including the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

In this spirit, to maintain the desirability of Chapel Hill/Carrboro as a place to live and enable the University to recruit the best faculty far into the future, we demand that any Carolina North plan for the Horace Williams Tract have a designated public school site before Trustee approval.

The natural beauty of Chapel Hill/Carrboro and her resources must also be protected to ensure the Towns and University remain a desirable place to be decades into the future. BEFORE any plan is submitted to the Trustees, land on the Horace Williams Tract must be permanently preserved in a conservation easement to ensure green/wooded areas will remain in perpetuity. Wooded areas and streams will be more valuable than buildings and roads in the future to both the Town and University. We request that any environmentally sensitive areas including areas that would be deemed resource conservation districts (RCDs) by the Towns be left undeveloped and exclude buildings, roads and parking structures.

19,125 parking spaces are too many and cannot be handled by the moderate existing road network. In addition, this amount of automobile commuting will increase air and noise pollution and make Chapel Hill/Carrboro less desirable as a place to live and work now and forever, thus handicapping the University's ability to recruit. The Carolina North development MUST be a good neighbor. This development must not call for its neighbors to change negatively for it, but rather should optimize development to minimize effects on existing neighbors. Off campus infrastructure, including new roadway systems, that have clear negative impacts on existing neighborhoods should not even be proposed until more environmentally sensitive and futuristic mass transit solutions are exhausted. BEFORE any plan is submitted to the Trustees, the Carolina North development plan should have substantially fewer automobile commuters and substantially more onsite housing.


The Undersigned

Apparently it was just just started last night and the author hasn't told anyone about it yet (stealth petition, very sneaky), hence there are only two signatures at the time of my writing. Will you sign it? Why or why not? Let's see if we can boost their numbers with thoughtful OrangePolitics.org readers.



thanks Ruby -

Jan. 7 CHNews



Ruby Sinreich, vice chair of Chapel Hill’s Horace Williams Tract Citizens Committee and a member of UNC’s Carolina North Advisory Board, was among the first to sign the petition.

“I thought the suggestions it made were very reasonable, and I fully support its basic premise, which is that the towns and the university have mutual interests that should guide whatever development occurs there,” Sinreich said. “The meetings the university held weren’t good for very much except letting people vent. Yes, people spoke, but as far as I could tell there was no formal process for taking their views into account, or even for documenting them. With the petition, at least the concerns are documented.”

I guess I am working under the assumption that realistically UNC will never be able to offer what private universities with huge endowments can offer also UNC is stuck with the climate that is here.


Given how far behind UNC seems to be in pay and benefits it would seem CH-C is an advantage when compared to congested, maybe some crime, maybe some affordability issues etc in other urban cities......

It is not schocking that Ann Arbor and Charlotesville have some of the same traits of chapel hill. Stick UNC in downtown detroit and double the dollars it still may not matter.

For those who plan to have families and don't need the nightlife Ch-c is the realistic advantage for 90% plus of the faculty i'd say.

All that I am saying is that I don't agree with the premise that the "best faculty recruitment tool" is the town and the schools, as I don't thaink that is the case. You are correct that all of the issues that you cite are important, and CN if done poorly will affect the quality of life that those being recruited may believe is important.

I also believe that the "stars" far exceed what can be counted on one hand. I see "stars" as those that a school or program actively go after and are willing to offer an above average package to get them here. As this is a very decentralized endeavor, it's very difficult to generalize about the value of these packages - the circumstances vary by school and program.

Keeping people here is an entirely different matter, and who knows if the existence of CN might at some point cause someone to stay, or maybe even go. I think it is too early to tell because we know so little about CN at this point.

So yes, a great CH-C makes UNC better in the long run, and vice versa, but don't conclude that the town is the "best" recruiting tool. Important, yes, but not the "best" tool in these days of faculty recruitment money wars.

HOW will CN benefit the town of Chapel Hill?


I don't get it.

While raleigh -durham-chapel hill is on many top ten places to live in the US by affordability and skilled workers it is also one of the areas with the worst air quality and ozone levels - FACT.

If you noticed SAS (Cary) moved up to #8 on the Forbes list of best companies to work for - they have things like onsite childcare. For most people - and faculty things like this would be really good to have. The number of true stars can be counted on 1 hand so you really need to specify exactly what you are talking about - yes there are funds for recruitment that do not come from the state coffers but in the end making Chapel Hill a better -rather than worse place to live will help the University if for no other reason than to attract advanced degree workers who will toil for the stars you talk about - very few stars do hands on work.

Are you saying by plopping in 17,000 car drivers in Chapel Hill it will make the place more desirable to live and help recruit whatever category of faculty you have in your mind???

The petition as I interpret it says that things that make Chapel Hill better will make the University better in the long run - I don't see how this can be disputed.

I understand the point "TheRealFacts" is trying to make, but I am not talking about people being recruited to work in Carolina North, I'm talking about schools and colleges recruiting the people that they desire to have, including the stars. And for the stars, I dare say you won't easily find a full accounting of their total package, especially the "extras" that might come from donated money or endowments that is not State of North Carolina controlled money.

For some, the premise in the petition holds and thus it is important for the local communities and the schools to be seen as places one wants to live and raise families. But do not discount the lure of money, direct support and indirect support in the recruitment hierarchy; it matters. To boldly dismiss its importance in the premise of a petition I think is a mistake.

I want to thank everyone for considering my petition. My main goal is for the citizens of Chapel Hill to have a voice about the biggest development ever in our town. This development will change Chapel Hill in many ways, and has the potential to be wonderful for everyone....if done the right way. Please pass on the link to the petition to others who would like to have a voice about the many issues the petition presents. Sincerely, Laurin Easthom

The new dean of the business school on WCHL said that of the top 25% of UNC kenan faculty only 2-3% would be in the top 25% of Duke's Fuqua school of business. This shows dramatic descrepancies in salary at least for business school salaries in the same geographic region. I assume this could be researched if you have the time. (lots of Duke Fuqua people live in Chapel Hill for Chapel Hill, schools etc....)

There is only 1 health care plan for the entire faculty and staff and it is horrible. People as a generality put their kids on their spouses plans.

Also, for a couple years there were no pay raises at all and it has been documented that the standard faculty pay raises have been below UVA, U Michigan and other "competitors".


"UNC-CH lags behind all four of its traditional peers – the universities of Virginia, Michigan as well as California at Berkeley and California at Los Angeles – when it comes to average salary and benefits offered to a full professor. UNC-CH paid an average of $104,700 in salary and benefits to a full professor in 1998-99."

By comparison, Virginia, Carolina’s closest peer campus geographically, paid $117,400. Among the other top publics, Michigan paid $116,900, UCLA $128,200 and Berkeley $130,800, according to data compiled by the American Association of University Professors and reported in Academe, a leading higher education journal.

money and medical benefits are very easy to quantitate and generalize on.

In terms of "stars" these are far and few between in number at any school and are not the "typical" employee.

teaching loads for the people who will be at CN are generally close to nil at any University .... so teaching load for those guys is irrelevant.

If Chapel Hill becomes Los Angeles - they will severely harm themselves in the long run.

My humble opinion.

The Herald editorial page coverage of the petition as well.


When the petition says, "The best faculty recruitment tool the University has are neither salary compensation, nor health benefits, but the Towns of Chapel Hill/Carrboro themselves, their natural resources and public facilities including the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools." I think the point is grossly oversimplified. Not only does it matter what school/program one is talking about, but it also matters at what career stage the person being recruited has reached. Thus, some being recruited might care less about the location of the university and the local town. Those with grown kids, no kids or no plans to have kids might not care much about the local schools.

The point is that tools for faculty recruitment are just not that easy to generalize about, and money, medical benefits, support money, teaching loads, facilities for research, teaching and research assistance, travel money, administrative support, and committee loads may matter much more to some of those highly sought after "stars" than the local town ever will.

Here's the link to today's coverage of the petition in the Chapel Hill Herald:


In Support of the petition check out this recruiting tool comparing health benefits of the major public universities.



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