Friday News: It's all about the Benjamins


UNC FUNDRAISER QUITS HIS UNETHICAL SIDE-JOB: Routh, 61, had been working for New Republic Partners for roughly two months, according to a letter the firm shared with “shareholders, clients and friends” dated May 3. That was a day before a UNC human resources director had signed a university document noting that she had reviewed Routh’s proposal to do the outside work. New Republic’s letter said Routh would serve as an independent consultant and senior advisor “available to talk with successful families and individuals, as well as endowments and foundations, about the investment management solutions, wealth advisory offerings and concierge financial services.” It was a more expansive role than what Routh described in his written proposal to UNC officials when disclosing his plans for outside work.

DELTA VARIANT DRIVES SURGE IN CASES, UNVACCINATED HIT HARD: Health experts in North Carolina say getting vaccinated is critical to protecting yourself against the highly contagious Delta variant. The coronavirus mutation is roughly 66% more infectious than previous variants. State health officials say the Delta strain has accounted for nearly 30% of coronavirus infections in recent weeks – and they expect that number to rise. Since May, more than 99% of new COVID cases in the state are among those who are not fully vaccinated. "The vaccine is protective against the coronavirus, including the Delta variant. That is one of the best tools we have, both individually and as a community, to protect and decrease community transmission in North Carolina," said Dr. Susan Kansagra with the state's Division of Public Health. Right now, 53% of adults aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated in North Carolina, and 46% have had at least one dose.

BLACK STUDENTS AND FACULTY AT UNC-CH SPEAK OUT ABOUT RACE RELATIONS: “Right now, the relationship between the University of North Carolina and its Black students, faculty and staff is broken,” said Jaci Field, advocacy committee co-chair of the Carolina Black Caucus, a faculty group. “But have no fear. You belong. This is your home, too.” UNC's Black student and faculty groups presented a list of demands to the institution at a news conference Wednesday. Many centered on eliminating structural barriers Black students face, such as formalizing access to resources that many only learn about through word of mouth. The groups also urged the university to hire Black counselors and support staff in offices that work with students. “It is hypocritical for this university to claim that Black lives matter, while disregarding the pain they have caused their own Black students and faculty,” said Julia Clark, vice president of the Black Student Movement. In a statement Wednesday, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said that he has reviewed the list of changes sought by the Black Student Movement and is asking the university's leadership team to develop a plan to address those and other concerns. “I am grateful for the continued advocacy of the Black Student Movement, the Carolina Black Caucus and the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association. Their voices have been vital throughout the history of Carolina," he said.

DONALD TRUMP IS STILL BILKING AMERICAN TAXPAYERS: Former president Donald Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., charged the Secret Service nearly $10,200 for guest rooms used by his protective detail during Trump’s first month at the club this summer, newly released spending records show. The records — released by the Secret Service in response to a public-records request — show that the ex-president has continued a habit he began in the first days of his presidency: charging rent to the agency that protects his life. Since Trump left office in January, U.S. taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $50,000 for rooms used by Secret Service agents, records show. The Washington Post reported previously that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club — where he lived from January, when he left the White House, to early May — charged the Secret Service more than $40,000 so that agents could use a room near Trump. These newly released records provide the first proof that, when Trump moved north to Bedminster, the invoices kept coming. The Secret Service released a bill it paid to Trump Bedminster in May, totaling $10,199.52. The agency redacted the nightly rate, but the dollar amount itself offered a clue: The bill was an exact multiple of what Trump Bedminster charged the Secret Service while Trump was still in office: $566.64 per night for a four-bedroom “cottage” on the property.

CHINA USES FACIAL RECOGNITION TO CURB TEENAGERS' INTERNET USAGE: For almost every video game restriction, children and teenagers will find a way around it. But the room to maneuver is shrinking in China, where underage players are required to log on using their real names and identification numbers as part of countrywide regulations aimed at limiting screen time and keeping internet addiction in check. In 2019, the country imposed a cybercurfew barring those under 18 from playing games between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Recognizing that wily teenagers might try to use their parents’ devices or identities to circumvent the restrictions, the Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent said this week that it would close the loophole by deploying facial recognition technology in its video games. “Children, put your phones away and go to sleep,” Tencent said in a statement on Tuesday when it officially introduced the features, called Midnight Patrol. The wider rollout set off a debate on Chinese internet platforms about the benefits and privacy risks of the technology. Some were in favor of the controls, saying they would combat adolescent internet addiction, but they also questioned how the data would be relayed to the authorities. Others said Tencent was assuming an overly paternalistic role. Thousands of internet users complained about the tightening controls and the shrinking space for anonymity in cyberspace. A hashtag on Weibo, a microblogging platform, reminded gamers to make sure they were fully dressed in case the camera captured more than their faces.



Is it a conflict of interest?

Hmm ... Is it a conflict of interest for Art Pope to serve on the UNC System Board of Governors at the same time he is funding thinktanks and publications that are spreading misinformation or trying to influence public opinion about the UNC System, like this and this, that are undermining the core values and mission of UNC?

Does this arrangement bring the basic academic freedom of faculty and students in the UNC System into question, in particular with accreditation?

Oh, yeah.

Of course he (or one of his minions) will argue he's not making any money by doing so. But cutting off the flagship university to black people ain't gonna help with the poverty problem, so his discount stores will keep thriving.