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Good luck talking Kevin Guskiewicz into staying. The die has been cast at UNC-CH. | Opinion

UNC Chancellor

Talk UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz into staying? Good luck with that! Guskiewicz is as good as gone. The state of North Carolina has no use for an academic free thinker. This has been demonstrated in excruciating detail over the last decade and continues to erode the reputation of our beloved university. The die has been cast.

Brian Letourneau, Cary

Lower speed limits

Regarding “Fatal auto crashes have decreased in NC from 2022,” (Nov. 29):

North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Director Mark Ezzell says it will take many things to reduce the death toll: “better driving habits, safer roads, strong enforcement, safer cars.” He left out one suggestion that could be a game-changer: Lower speed limits.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter lowered the national speed limit to 55 mph, reducing fatal accidents and improving air quality. But, impatient U.S. drivers wanted nothing to do with it, and today speed limits in are often 70 mph on N.C. highways, with most motorists going faster.

The trade-off for the convenience of getting places more quickly is higher death tolls, with the victims often being our teenage children. I’m willing to lower my speed if doing so will make our roads safer and save lives. Please slow down.

Patrick O’Neill, Garner

Bail reform

The writer is a member of the NC Interfaith Cash Bail Reform Committee.

Regarding “Cash bail policies are under fresh scrutiny,” (Nov. 27):

Most people don’t realize that 80% of criminal charges are for nonviolent misdemeanors. Violent felonies are 2% of criminal charges. So when a politician wants to appear “tough on crime” they conflate the two populations and the taxpayer is on the hook for jails we don’t really need.

In Wake County, judges require bail in over 80% of the cases where the highest charge is a misdemeanor. So, our jails are crowded with people awaiting trial for minor offenses, housed in modern day debtors’ prisons.

We can be smarter about this. People held in jail pretrial should be only those who pose a violent threat to the public or who are accused of a serious offense and have the means to flee.

Peter van Dorsten, Raleigh

Not my tax dollars

While I admire Sam Currin’s positive support for Christian family public education in church schools (Nov. 28 Opinion), I very much resent the use of my N.C. tax dollars to pay for this opportunity for the children of my religious-minded neighbors. I don’t question the value of Christian education to the students whose families take advantage of a church school; I just resent the state legislature’s requirement that I help pay for it. I will never vote for the election of a N.C. politician who votes for public support for religious education.

Cliff Mitchell, Selma

Mandy Cohen

Regarding “New CDC Director Cohen is trying to regain trust shattered by COVID,” (Nov. 25):

The jury is still out on whether Dr. Mandy Cohen can survive politically as CDC administrator. I wouldn’t wish that pressure on her or anyone given current congressional politics. But if any one can rejuvenate the CDC, it’s. Cohen. She demonstrated those abilities admirably as the NC secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, guiding our state through the first year of the pandemic. She deserves the chance to accomplish more.

Mike Pedneau, Raleigh

Davidson College

I understand the disappointment of Isaac Bailey, a Davidson College alumnus, that the main administrative building on the campus still bears the name of Maxwell Chambers.

Chambers apparently developed a sensitive conscience on the practice of slavery. In 1842, he freed 18 or 20 enslaved workers, providing funds to begin their life anew. At his death his will provided for the freedom of 29 additional enslaved workers with the provision to reach safe haven, although he did bequeath other slaves to family and friends. Chambers’ will also provided a gift of $250,000 to Davidson College, which enabled it to survive and prosper in the post-Civil War years. In today’s currency the gift could be valued at more than $10 million. Is it any wonder the trustees voted to place his name on the main building of the campus?

Thomas K. Spence Jr., Sanford