WCUHow would you like to pay a mere $500 a semester to attend Western Carolina University?

fr belcherDavid Belcher may not have appeared at Western Carolina University’s commencement ceremonies last week, but the university’s chancellor was there in spirit after undergoing brain surgery May 4.

op frIt’s not the 1960s in terms of political activism, but recent episodes at Western Carolina University and across the country do signal that young people today are willing to engage in important discussions about race and culture.

These are difficult topics that have bedeviled supposedly enlightened societies for centuries. Nearly every student of history has encountered one of those instances where juxtaposing the accepted social mores of an earlier time against today’s standards would have ruined the legacy of an otherwise prominent and honorable figure. Conventional attitudes and behavior change — sometimes at a glacial pace, other times too fast for comfort. This country, I think, is at one of those tipping points.

fr belcherWestern Carolina University’s well-liked leader Chancellor David Belcher has been diagnosed with a small brain tumor, he announced last week.

fr chalkSidewalk 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.”

coverIt 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.

coverIn 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.”

art frIt 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.

fr WCUvisitThe 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.

moneyBy 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.

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