Chancellor Philip L. Dubois discusses construction, diversity and possibility of a law or medical school
Lunchtime Talk gives students opportunity to address concerns and ask questions to Dubois, Student Body President gives State of the University Address
Chancellor Philip L. Dubois held his annual Chancellor Lunchtime Talk Feb. 14 where students were given the opportunity to ask questions and address concerns with Dubois directly.
The event, which in the past has taken place in the rotunda, was moved to Room 200 of the Student Union for a more intimate vibe, Student Body President Fahn Darkor said.
The event commenced with Darkor giving his State of the University Address where he announced that the University is moving from black to green commencement robes in the spring.
He also talked about the inaugural NinerPalooza event, an idea he ran on during his campaign, that will give students the opportunity to talk to administrators about their concerns. The event will have food trucks and will take place in front of the College of Health and Human Services on March 16.
Darkor mentioned that he met with Little Bird Marketing firm to discuss the branding and identity of the Popp and Martin Student Union.
After the State of the University Address, Dubois gave updates on construction, specifically the three largest projects the University is working on right now. The counseling center, which will be relocated by the Health Center, will be completed in August.
In June, the Health and Wellness will begin being built on top of the parking lot next to the Student Union. Dubois said he plans to give the building a different name and that he is open to suggestions from students.
The science building, which was approved a year ago by the Connect NC Bond vote, is predicted to begin construction in August 2018. Dubois said that after these projects complete, most construction will consist of renovations only.
The light rail, which will extend from the University to South Charlotte, will open in August. The University is negotiating with Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) to get students an all-access pass, which will include trail, buses and trolley. Dubois said the predicted fee is $50.
UNC Charlotte Center City will be a 20 minute ride on the train and 107 trains will be arriving to campus each day. Changes to shuttle services will be made to accommodate to the needs of the train and ensure that there is always a shuttle when the train arrives.
Student representatives will be going to Raleigh to advocate for UNC Charlotte’s budget increase in front of the General Assembly. The UNC System is requesting around $46 million. UNC Charlotte alone is requesting roughly a third of that request with $15 million.
Dubois also talked about diversity plans.
“I think I’ve been persuaded that we can do some different things relative to our activities related to diversity inclusion,” Dubois said.
Dubois said that the Council on University Community already implemented a first diversity plan and that they’re now working on a second, more action-oriented plan.
“I think one of the things that the events of last fall taught us was that we needed to make people more aware of all the things we had done even though we had some things yet to accomplish,” Dubois said. “We need to improve the mechanisms by which student, faculty and staff concerns related to diversity inclusion get filtered up so that if I have to be part of a decision making process I’m aware of it.”
Dubois spent a large amount of time defending himself from representatives of leftist student organization Customer49 that were upset in Dubois’ lack of response to House Bill 2 and Trump’s travel ban.
Dubois said that the UNC System is doing nothing in regards to HB2 but he thinks UNC Charlotte “led the way” in creating the number of gender neutral restrooms on campus.
When asked about traffic on campus, Dubois said the Campus Congestion Task Force was created to address these problems. One solution they found for relieving congestion, which was accomplished over winter break, was to make two exit lanes near the front entrance of campus. The report also mentioned modifying class schedules and closing Craver Road to regular traffic during prime hours so that the shuttles can move faster.
With the Charlotte Law School predicted to close by 2019, Dubois was asked about UNC Charlotte considering a law school. Dubois said that they’re going to do some due diligence on the legal market but he thinks it would be a “heavy lift.”
Dubois mentioned that a medical school was a more likely long-term possibility and that he had discussed starting a 25 size class of medical students with UNC School of Medicine Dean Roper and UNC System President Margaret Spelling.