Sidewalk chalk was all anyone was talking about as campus woke up Thursday morning (April 21) at Western Carolina University. The chalk was everywhere, its biggest explosion around the fountain behind the A.K. Hinds University Center, colorful dust spelling out phrases running the gamut from “Build that wall” and “concealed carry saves” to “Hillary for prison,” and “blue lives matter.”
It started with a poster. Or, more accurately, with a collection of posters in the window of Western Carolina University’s Department of Intercultural Affairs. February is African-American History Month, and the display aimed to draw attention to the issue of police brutality, especially as it relates to race.
Some students took offense. In particular, a Facebook post by WCU student and campus EMS Chief Dalton Barrett went the Western North Carolina version of viral, drawing 81 shares and 58 comments.
In an effort to bring together the artistic hearts and minds from around Western North Carolina, the “LEAD:Arts” summit was hosted last week by Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.
“The arts and artists are essential elements for a healthy community,” said moderator George Brown, dean of WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts. “Art improves the quality of life. Artists make good neighbors. This conference will go beyond discussion of the role of arts in the community. Western Carolina University and Western North Carolina will come together through art to take action and foster a better tomorrow for the region.”
It was a year-and-a-half ago that Western Carolina University’s director of athletic bands, David Starnes, was asked by United Sound founder Julie Duty to help put together a board for her nonprofit organization, which provides musical performance experiences for students with special needs.
The mood was jovial as Western Carolina University’s Faculty Senate waited over cookies and coffee for their hour with Margaret Spellings to begin. Small talk and light jokes made the minutes before her arrival feel less gravity-laden than they really were.
By Mark Jamison • Guest Columnist
I had planned to call this commentary “Dirty Money.” I would begin by quoting Teddy Roosevelt, “No amount of charity in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for misconduct in acquiring them,” setting the stage for the argument that the grant from the Koch Foundation to fund a Center for Free Enterprise at Western Carolina University, a proposal which is problematic on its merits, also suffers from the fact that its source is tainted.
Western Carolina University leaders are getting ready to roll out the red carpet for the impending arrival of Margaret Spellings, the incoming president of the state’s public university system, who will be touring WCU campus on March 10.
By Mark Jamison • Guest Columnist
In Sons of Wichita, Daniel Schulman relates a story about Charles Koch’s attempt to apply his libertarian management theory known as Market-Based Management to Wichita Collegiate, the private school located near the Koch compound. The school, cofounded by Bob Love — an associate of Fred Koch from the John Birch Society — became embroiled in an “acrimonious uprising” after Charles Koch, who was chairman of the school’s executive council, applied techniques from his management system designed to force everyone in an institution or business into an entrepreneurial role.
By Ron Robinson • Guest Columnist
The other day I attended a basketball game at Western Mountain University. I could not help noticing a very large person sitting in the upper decks near the rafters. He seemed intensely focused on the game and was continually smiling. Sometimes even grinning. My curiosity was growing, so at halftime I climbed the stairs to his seat.
While most people are mourning the coming of another Monday, Rob Russell will be rejoicing as he returns to his job at Western Carolina University Feb. 15.