UNC Asheville

Just one month after the protests following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Asheville City Council approved a resolution calling for reparations for the city's black community.  16 months later, most of the details are still being worked out.

For almost 40 years, faculty at UNC Asheville have helped in the creation of the annual global Political Terror Scale.  The report measures and codes human rights violations by countries across the globe.

Rebecca Helm

A local biologist who's been making waves for her research into jellyfish that reside in freshwater ecosystems, including some here in Western North Carolina is part of an international campaign to protect and better understand marine life in a vast stretch of salt water - most of us will never see.

Schuylar Shayne Photography

A project to document the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Western North Carolina is expanding.

The LGBTQ+ Oral History Archive was founded at UNC Asheville in 2019 in partnership with the Blue Ridge Pride Center. Now the project is expanding to Western Carolina University, says Travis Rountree.

Cory Vaillancourt

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris had to cancel a planned trip to Asheville last week when two staffers tested positive for COVID-19.  On Wednesday, the California Senator made it to Western North Carolina, speaking at an event at UNC Asheville.

UNC Asheville

(UPDATE 7:30 p.m.) - The shelter in place order at UNC Asheville has been lifted, almost 12 hours after it went into place.  There will be an increased law enforcement presence on campus however following threats that were emailed to the school Friday morning over a Black Lives Matter mural on campus.

Lilly Knoepp

  This month, universities said good-bye to graduating seniors in unusual ways. BPR takes us to UNC Asheville’s English graduation: 

On May 9, Professor Lori Horvitz, head of the English Department said goodbye to her students: “I have the pomp and circumstance theme music. Do you hear that?” 

The department graduation was held over Zoom. Each professor gave some final advice and then many of the students expressed their thanks to the department. Alyssa Vincent transferred to UNC Asheville her sophomore year: 


Climate change is a complicated topic, especially when you start to unpack the impact on human health.   In this installment of BPR's Climate City series,  Helen Chickering  introduces us to two WNC researchers who are collaborating to tackle that challenge. 

BPR News

This week community advocates, education and business leaders from across the region are gathering in Asheville to tackle an issue that has connections to both climate change and hunger - food waste.   Some of the most creative and successful solutions are happening on college campuses.  BPR's Helen Chickering visited UNC Asheville where some small changes are making a big difference.

BPR News

In 1976, before climate change was really on the public radar, North Carolina created the State Climate Office.  Today, it is the second largest state climate office in the U.S. This summer, Kathie Dello took the helm and became the first woman to serve as North Carolina's state climatologist.  Dello was in Asheville this week and talked about her role with BPR’s Helen Chickering. 

Following the lead of NPR and some of its larger member stations, Blue Ridge Public Radio is conducting a study examining the diversity of the individuals featured in original stories produced by the station’s news team.  The study will look at sources by race/ethnicity, gender, and geographic location.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Reverberations will continue to be felt in Asheville and Buncombe County's educational and non-profit institutions following the renewed attention given to retiring Eblen Charities CEO Bill Murdock's 1988 guilty plea to a misdemeanor sex crime with a minor.  UNC Asheville and A-B Tech were the first to be in the spotlight, but the Buncombe County and Asheville City school systems continue to face questions about Murdock, who was hired by the city school system after his guilty plea, and was appointed to the A-B Tech Board of Trustees in 2016 at the recommendation of the county school system.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville is going to be full of researchers this weekend – the professional kind, as the 42nd annual Appalachian Studies Association conference takes place at UNC Asheville.  The conference this year is being called "AppalachA'ville" as a nod to the host city, which organizers believe can be example for other cities in the region on how to grow and innovate. 

Courtesy of the Invisible History Project/Josh Burford

The everyday lives of activists and community members in Western North Carolina didn’t make it into the history books.  A UNC Asheville professor is launching a project to bring to light the untold queer stories in our region.

Here’s more on the project - and how it’s a part of a larger preservation effort across the Southeast.


Queer history is presented as a narrow space, says Josh Burford. It’s mostly just for the urban, white, wealthy  and able-bodied. Burford wants to change that perception in the South.

UNC Asheville

Security presence was higher than usual for last night's Martin Luther King Junior keynote address at the University of North Carolina Asheville.  The speech by Women's March co-president Tamika Mallory was overshadowed by controversy that’s caused factions within the national movement.

Mallory has been dealing with fallout for her association with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. Last February, she attended an event where Farrakhan delivered a speech making inflammatory statements about Jews. Mallory has denied accusations that she’s an anti-semite.

Jeremy James

The percentage of black students at four of Western North Carolina's universities is low, and so is the number of faculty members at each schools that could mentors for those students.

Library Of Congress

The 5th annual African-Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference was held at the end of October on the campus of UNC Asheville.  The theme of this year's conference was 'Making The Invisible Visible'.  Four students gave presentations at the conference on research projects they were doing for the fall semester.  BPR will feature three of those students on-air during Morning Edition this week as they completed their research this month.  First up is junior Flo Jacques, who researched the history of aid and educational opportunities for African-Americans in Western North Carolina.

UNC Asheville

Firefighters are no longer stationed at a new student residence complex on the campus of UNC Asheville.  The school said in a statement that sufficient repairs to the buildings have been made so that a 24-hour fire watch is no longer needed.

UNC Asheville

A study that will research the perceptions of racism and health among African Americans in Western North Carolina has received a $350-thousand grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The study is being conducted by UNC Asheville, the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA), and the Mountain Area Health Education Center, commonly known as MAHEC.  

Matt Bush BPR

Around a dozen students and staff from UNC-Wilmington are beginning their second week living on the campus of UNC-Asheville because of Hurricane Florence and its aftermath.

Monday is the first day of classes for the fall semester at UNC-Asheville.  It also marks the beginning of Dr. Nancy Cable's tenure as the 8th chancellor at the school.  She takes over for Dr. Mary Grant, who left the school at the end of 2017.  Dr.

UPDATE 12:00 AM Saturday - UNC-Asheville reached an agreement with the state department of insurance late Friday evening to re-open The Woods complex.  In a statement the DOI said it was satisfied that the school was addressing its concerns and supported students moving into the buildings.  

EARLIER STORY - Five new residence halls on the campus of UNC-Asheville are closed to students Friday by order of the state of department of insurance. 

The Martin Luther King Association of Asheville & Buncombe County is partnering on a new scholarship program with UNC-Asheville.  The university will offer up to $5-thousand in grants for students who are nominated by the local MLK Association.  Dr.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Four of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's nominees to state positions were rejected Thursday by the Republican-dominated General Assembly, including two choices to the State Board of Education he announced over a year ago.

The legislature, meeting in a joint House-Senate session, voted against the confirmation of Sandra Byrd of Asheville and J.B. Buxton of Raleigh for the state education board. A third choice, current member Reginald Kenan of Duplin County, was reappointed to an eight-year term.


Dr. Nancy Cable has been named the new chancellor of UNC-Asheville.  She replaces Dr. Mary Grant, who left at the end of 2017 after three years on the job.  Dr. Joe Urgo served as the interim chancellor of the school since Grant's departure.  Cable will be the 8th chancellor in the school's history.  She starts the job on August 15th.

Commencement ceremonies take place this Saturday on the campus of UNC-Asheville.  The school's interim chancellor Joe Urgo says this year's graduating class is the largest in recent memory, while the incoming class of freshman this fall is the largest in school history.  Urgo sat down with BPR's Matt Bush to discuss news at the school, including the search for a full-time chancellor (expect something by the end of May).  Urgo also discussed something he spoke about at a recent appearance in Western North Carolina by Margaret Spellings, the president of the University of North Carolina Syst

A busy basketball weekend in Asheville will now be even more so.  Not only will the Southern Conference host both it's men's and women's basketball championships at the U.S. Cellular Center, but the quarter and semi-final rounds of the Big South men's basketball championship will be played at the Kimmel Arena on the campus of UNC-Asheville.  That's because the Bulldogs clinched the Big South regular season championship over the weekend.  Doing so means the Bulldogs will play at home during the Big South tournament as long as they are in it.



Dan Pierce is UNC-Asheville's National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Humanities.  He's written several books on the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Pierce attributes his love of the park to first passing through it on Highway 441 when his family moved to Asheville from Arkansas in the 1950's.  His book Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Community, will be the subject of a

BPR News

The TV show Shark Tank matches charismatic investors with fledgling entrepreneurs who are hoping to snag a business deal.   Earlier this month, some students at UNC- Asheville got a taste of the reality show experience.  Blue Ridge Public Radio’s Helen Chickering has details.