WCU

Courtesy of Western Carolina University

During Western Carolina University’s commencement ceremony, the university recognized the history of the Cherokee with an official land acknowledgement for the first time.

Lilly Knoepp

Today, Western Carolina University Faculty Senate presented the Board of Trustees with a request: they need a salary increase.

“They asked a lot of questions so that was super positive,” said Kadance Otto, chair of the Faculty Senate.

Otto said faculty hasn’t received seen their pay increase in line with cost-of-living since 2008.

“To me, a raise is something above the cost of living because that is something that is more than the average rate of inflation. So at bare minimum we are simply asking to keep up with inflation,” said Otto.

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.

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Seventeen residents of Harrill Hall at Western Carolina University have tested positive for COVID-19. The cluster is the first during the fall semester, according to Jackson County Public Health.

“We expected there to be cases related to our campus as more than 9,000 students returned for residential in-person instruction this fall,” says Kelli R. Brown, WCU chancellor in a press release. “We have extensive protocols in place and will continue to execute our quarantine and isolation procedures.”

Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University

Nearly 400 people marched on the campus of Western Carolina University Wednesday afternoon in response to racist videos featuring students that were posted to social media last weekend.  Those students are no longer enrolled at Western Carolina and will not return. 

Caitlin Penna/Western Carolina University

A lawsuit has been filed against the UNC System to halt the start of classes statewide. The lawsuit lists all UNC System schools including Western Carolina University.

Associate Professor Jack Summers teaches chemistry at Western Carolina University. He’s one of the lawsuit plaintiffs because he says COVID-19 makes it impossible to have a safe work environment on campus.  

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The Western Carolina University Faculty Senate narrowly approved a resolution calling for all classes to go online when the fall semester starts next week.  Dr. Yancey Gulley, an associate professor in higher education and student affairs programs at the school, introduced the resolution. 

He says the decision on whether classes should be online or in-person lies with the statewide UNC System.

Photo by Caitlin Penna/Western Carolina University

Western Carolina Faculty Senate will vote on Monday for a resolution asking the university to be 100 percent online because of COVID-19.  Chair of Faculty Senate Kadence Otto says the emergency meeting was called in order to bring up the resolution before the semester starts – even though it won’t send students home.

“Even if the resolution passes nothing is going to change because the resolution is simply the voice of the faculty,” says Otto. The vote will take place via Zoom. 

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Western Carolina University is preparing for next month’s fall semester, which will have a mix of in-person classes and online instruction. 

 

Western Carolina University has 15 different work groups and task forces finalizing the details of the return to school next month.  Cory Causby is the associate vice chancellor of human resources. 

 

Lilly Knoepp

(Update 4/23) 

Jackson County Public Health Department has announced that 3 additonal people working on the Apodaca Science Building at Western Carolina University’s campus have tested postitive for COVID-19. This brings the total to four positive cases on the work site. 

Lilly Knoepp

Western Carolina University is keeping its campus open while transitioning classes online. BPR spoke to a university official about what students should do at this time.  

On a Thursday morning the Cullowhee campus is mostly empty because of spring break. 

That break has now been extended through March 23. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Sam Miller says over a hundred students are on campus but all will need to weigh their options to figure out what is best for them: 

Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University

Western Carolina Chancellor Kelli Brown sent out a notice on Wednesday evening in alignment with a UNC system decision to move all students online and out of the classroom. 

 

WCU is extending its official spring break by an additional week until Monday, March 23. 

 

Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University has named a former Catamount baseball player as the school’s new athletic director.  Alex Gary will now oversee the Western Carolina athletic department which fields teams in 16 sports.

Lilly Knoepp

Update 2/7/2020: 

(4pm) The Health and Human Sciences Building at Western Carolina University is scheduled to reopen Monday, February 10, after county, state, and university officials have determined that there are no public health or safety issues.  Multiple investigations revealed no definitive cause for the incident. 

 

Credit Courtesy of Western Carolina University

Chancellor David Belcher passed away on Sunday, June 17, at the age of 60 after more than two-years of battling brain cancer.

 

Belcher was chancellor at Western Carolina University from 2011 until he took medical leave at the end of 2017. The native of Barnwell, South Carolina is beloved by his WCU family.

 

Funny Business In The Mountains Sees Growth

Nov 6, 2017
NPR.org

As long as there’s a stage, there’s really no telling where a comic can be found—even in areas like Western North Carolina—where local talent has flourishes, and local business captures part of a $300 million industry. BPR'S Davin Eldridge takes a look at the comedy scene of the mountains. 

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Jared Gant

 


Experts predict the upcoming fall leaf season in Western North Carolina will be considerably better from last year’s, and you can thank all the rain the region received in 2017 for that.  BPR’s Davin Eldridge has more…

 

NPR.org, Davin Eldridge

The first day of classes are always hectic for any university. For Western Carolina, that may be taken to a new level this year.  That’s because classes start on the day of the solar eclipse.

BPR’s Davin Eldridge reports…

Davin Eldridge

Few regions in the United States have seen their politics changed more by redistricting and gerrymandering than Western North Carolina – and Asheville and Buncombe County in particular.  

Koch Controversy Resurfaces At WCU Amid New Research

Mar 10, 2017
Quintin Ellison

   Last fall, the conservative Charles Koch Foundation funded a controversial new center at Western Carolina University, to the tune of nearly $2 million.  Opponents are now releasing research they say sheds light on how Koch money influences public education.

The Hinds University Center at Western Carolina University was packed with students and faculty alike, for the screening of the new film “Starving the Beast”. The documentary explores how recent conservative policymaking is influencing public education.   

WCU Researcher Examines Sports Rivalry

Feb 2, 2017
knowrivalry.com

Super Bowl LI is this Sunday between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.  Hundreds of millions will watch, but if they aren't already fans of either team, who might they root for?  A Western Carolina University professor thinks he knows.

Seven years ago, David Tyler started researching sports rivalries with some academic colleagues.  The assistant professor of sports management at Western Carolina University wanted to shed light on the perception of rivalries from the fans themselves.

University of North Carolina

Western Carolina University's Dr. David Shapiro is careful not to describe speech disorders as something people 'suffer' from.

Instead, for Dr. Shapiro, speech disorders are challenges to overcome--for himself, just as much as they are for the thousands of others he's helped throughout his career--a life's work which spans decades, has taken him all over the world and has earned him the prestigious O. Max Gardner award earlier this spring.

It starts at a psychological levels, and for Shapiro, it's personal.

New Center At WCU Has Faculty Cautious, Optimistic

Oct 20, 2016
The work of the center will be facilitated throughout WCU's College of Business. WCU is set to invest approximately $1.3 million of its own money for the center, the source of which comes from three faculty positions already funded.
Western Carolina University

Members of Western Carolina University’s faculty senate are remaining “cautiously optimistic” about the acceptance of a nearly two million dollar “gift” from the Charles Koch Foundation--to establish a controversial new center for learning.

After making concessions to the school for more oversight of the center prior to its creation, Western faculty will now be able to monitor for any inappropriate donor influence over the school—something no college has achieved before, according to Ralph Wilson, senior researcher of corporate watchdog group UnKoch My Campus.

ncparks.gov

    

For a few short weeks, every year, the mountains of Western North Carolina are renowned for their bright autumn leaves. The generations have brought to the region countless so-called “leaf-lookers” enthralled by their fiery shades of yellow and red come mid-October. Even this year, when area biologists are expecting fall leaves to be duller, and less-vibrant, all local economists can see on the horizon is the color of money for the mountains.

New In-Roads For WNC Public Transit

Sep 22, 2016
ashevillenc.gov

 

For millions of people across the United States, the beginning of their day starts at a bus stop.

 

WCU

 

With the help of on-campus voting sites, college students in Western North Carolina are disproving the age-old notion that they just don’t vote.

 

Longtime WCQS friend David Holt was in the studio with Dick Kowal today to talk about his upcoming performance in Cullowhee this Sunday at the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University.   David is a  traditional music and storytelling icon, and four-time Grammy Award winner and Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame inductee.