Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates

Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Catawba, Cherokee tribes square off over proposed casino in congressional hearing

NC congressman raises questions about federal rules, potential conflicts of interest Competing tribal claims and cross-accusations over a proposed casino resort near Kings Mountain came to a head Thursday in a federal legislative committee meeting. At issue: the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort, a proposed $273 million, 17-acre casino in Cleveland County.

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COVID-19 Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As new poll workers step up in pandemic, elections directors say they are ready for November

Even with an increase in absentee voting, election directors expect a large in-person turnout. Since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began upending so many aspects of American life, elections directors across the state have worried about the impact on the November election.

Health concerns have led to an unprecedented number of absentee ballot requests. But a divisive presidential election and tumultuous political season could also lead to heavy in-person turnout. That’s a problem for the backbone of the election systems across the state: the more than 15,000 election workers, the majority of whom are older people for whom coronavirus infection is most dangerous.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW special report: Trump-linked effort to infiltrate progressive NC groups prompts investigation

Man who went by "James Fortune" was a gateway to network of far-right operatives Shortly after dawn on a recent steamy July morning, a man who said his name was James Fortune showed up off NC Highway 12 in Cape Hatteras. He had flown in from New York City and rented a car for a rendezvous with an employee of a North Carolina nonpartisan election education organization for a long day of deep-sea fishing.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

In voting to change chancellor search policy, UNC Board of Governors could expand System president’s power

Trustees at Historically Black Colleges and Universities oppose the change over concerns that conservative white leadership is often at odds with HBCUs' mission UNC System President Peter Hans could further consolidate his power if the Board of Governors votes Thursday on a major and fundamental change to how chancellors are chosen for UNC system schools.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As the largest UNC System schools move online, who is next and who decides?

While the largest schools within the UNC System have moved to online learning after widespread COVID-19 outbreaks, at smaller institutions, disagreements over reopening plans are fraying relations to the breaking point. Students, faculty and administrators are debating whether to go online now — and avoid the same fate as their larger counterparts — or try to make it through the semester unless the number of infections makes it impossible.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As COVID clusters mount, university dashboards provide incomplete and outdated information

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is being rocked by a series of COVID-19 infection clusters  just one week after the start of classes. Four such clusters — defined by the state Department of Health and Human Services as five or more infections in a related area — have been identified in student housing since Friday.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC-Chapel Hill leaders come under fire at emergency faculty meeting

Chancellor's failure to share health department reopening recommendations called a "breach of trust" The Orange County Health Director has urged the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to move to online education for the fall semester and keep on-campus housing to an absolute minimum as the COVID-19 pandemic in the county worsens. The campus will be doing neither of those things, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said Wednesday.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC’s ‘worst-case scenario’ plans could be just the beginning

Enrollment drops. Employee furloughs and layoffs. Faculty cuts. Shuttered athletic programs. UNC System schools could see all of these things, according to a new report on campus plans to deal with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. And experts say this could be just the beginning.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Special report: The national crisis in unemployment insurance

Balky technology, expiring benefits worry workers, state leaders. Congress is continuing to squabble over whether to extend a federal supplement to unemployment insurance and if they do, by how much. But as they argue over whether to continue the supplement at $600 a week or some fraction of that, out-of-work Americans are left to worry whether they can survive on state benefits that often are a small part of their normal pay — pay that for many was inadequate in the first place.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: UNC System exploring worst-case scenario budget cuts of up to 50%

The UNC System is preparing for possible budget cuts of up to 50% at its 17 campuses, according to an email obtained by Policy Watch this week. The email, from UNC Board of Governors Chairman Randy Ramsey to the system’s chancellors, cites the potential impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that campuses may again close after reopening next month.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Key senators predict victory in battle with Trump over renaming military facilities that honor Confederates, including Fort Bragg

WASHINGTON — Key U.S. senators are preparing for battle with the White House over renaming military facilities that honor Confederates — and they’re expecting to win. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who backs the effort, said he believes the GOP-controlled Senate would override a possible presidential veto of a defense policy bill that would begin a process to rename the facilities. Doing so would require support from two-thirds of those voting.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Parents struggle with question of return to UNC campuses

Last semester, as the COVID-19 pandemic closed all UNC System campuses, Samantha Pilot welcomed her son home early from his freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. At the time, she felt like the university was on her side. It was expensive and complicated to close the campuses and shift to online-only education for the balance of the spring semester. The fact that the UNC System did it anyway made her feel proud to be part of a Carolina family.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: Prof. Mike Adams’ wild ride finally comes to an end

Firebrand conservative academic opts for early retirement in light of latest controversies and provocations Combative, confrontational and litigious, UNC-Wilmington professor Mike Adams has long aggressively courted controversy, seeming to revel in contradictions.

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Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Could this really be a watershed moment?

Black North Carolinians express hopes and fears about the struggle against racism in America “You are going to get your ass killed.” Those are the words Carl Kenney Sr. used when his son Durham minister and author Carl Kenney Jr., joined students at the University of Missouri to protest alleged racism at the state’s flagship school.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

“I knew this was coming”: Scholar who called for removal of Confederate monuments reflects on the latest developments

Last week, as Dr. Valerie Johnson watched TV footage of protesters pulling down Confederate statues that had stood on the State Capitol grounds for more than a century, she felt a rush of complicated emotions. “It wasn’t exactly joy,” she said. “It was more…’Finally.’ This was something that was much overdue. For me it was partially that, partially vindication of the stance that I took.”

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the past and future of NC’s Confederate monuments

Protesters pulled down two bronze soldier statues from the 75-foot North Carolina Confederate monument at the State Capitol in downtown Raleigh Friday, hanging one by its neck from a street light. This weekend Gov. Roy Cooper ordered the remainder of the monument dismantled and removed for public safety, along with the Henry Lewis Wyatt and North Carolina Women of the Confederacy monuments, the two other Confederate statues on the Capitol grounds.

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