Dr. Barry O’Brien has been named dean of the UNCP School of Business. Dr. O’Brien has been working in higher education for more than 38 years. He graduated from UNC Pembroke (then Pembroke State University) in 1975. Chancellor Robin Cummings says he’s excited to see an alumnus return to the campus in a leadership position. Dr. O’Brien was the dean of the School of Business at Francis Marion University for 14 years.
The Piedmont Natural Gas pipeline located in Pembroke is being inspected in the next three weeks. The company is warning that these inspections may cause the pipeline to flare up, accompanied by a loud noise and the smell of natural gas. But they say it should not be a cause for concern. Piedmont Natural Gas is working with local fire departments to manage and monitor the process.
Construction is under way for the new Student Health Services building. The area is located on the service road between Braves Drive and University Road, near Courtyard Apartments. The university is asking for all pedestrian traffic to stay on the sidewalk leading from University Road to Braves Drive. Pedestrians are not permitted in the roadway, nor in the construction zone. The delivery/service road is closed to all vehicle traffic as well.
This month we’ve been talking a lot about renovations happening to the University Center, and the completion of the outdoor patio is the newest addition. This public space is designed to be like an outdoor version of the UC mall. A new bike park provides more parking for your ride than the previous single rack. Along with this, there are six weather- protected electrical outlets that have been added. The patio is available for student organizations to reserve through the Facilities Reservation System. Total cost? About $235,000.
Across the state, a number of private colleges have released statements about how the passing of the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act will impact their campuses. The trend in the statements they provided to the organization Campus Pride is that they are already dedicated to making sure their campuses are inclusive and diverse. Some of the schools already have single-occupancy bathrooms that are universal for all student use. Another impact of the law is that it prevents people from suing in state court if they think they have been discriminated against, whether they are in a protected category or not. As for state colleges, UNC-system President Margaret Spellings has declined to comment on the law, which omits sexual orientation as a class protected from discrimination by private entities.
North Carolina’s Attorney General says his office will not defend the constitutionality of a bill on transgender use of bathrooms. House Bill 2 blocks transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Instead, the law requires government agencies and public school bathrooms be used based only on biological sex. The bill was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory. It also overrides the ability of cities and towns to require more protection against discrimination in the private sector. State Attorney General Roy Cooper is challenging McCrory to be the state’s next governor, and he says the law is discriminatory.
In a press release he said the NC Department of Justice and the Treasurer’s Office have policies against the discrimination that would be permitted in the bill for private businesses. He says McCrory should have followed the example of another Southern governor, Georgia’s Nathan Deal, who vetoed a similar bill that allegedly protected businesses’ religious liberty to discriminate.
PayPal will be opening a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina. This facility will bring 400 jobs to the area. The center’s payroll is expected to be about $20.4 million dollars per year for Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties. PayPal is a leader in digital payments and has 179 million active accounts. This global platform allows customers to receive payments in more than 100 currencies. North Carolina’s Economic Investment Committee has also approved a Job Development Investment Grant that would make PayPal eligible to receive over $2 million in Reimbursments over 12 years.
The company reacted to North Carolina state lawmakers’ recent invalidation of Charlotte’s LGBTQ anti-discrimination ordinance by tweeting that “inclusion is one of our core values.”
A man from Scotland county has been arrested and charged with felony larceny and obtaining property by false pretense. According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Eric Daniel Oxendine of Wagram is accused of stealing a saw worth almost $2,000 from North Scotland volunteer fire department and pawning it in Robeson county for $200. Oxendine was placed under an $18,000 dollar bond.
The UNCP Model Arab League took home 12 awards from the Southern Regional Model Arab League (SERMAL) conference in South Carolina. The team of 16 students is led by Dr. Kirill Bumin. They represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also represented the head of state and government ministers in a Joint Cabinet Crisis committee in a simulation that pitted Morocco against Algeria in a territorial dispute. In addition to individual awards for committee work, the group won as “Outstanding Delegation”for representing Saudi Arabia overall. They’re the most successful SERMAL team in the history of UNCP’s program, more than doubling their commendations from last year. Next up for the team is Model United Nations in Charlotte in April.