Members of the Technician staff are not the only students with raised eyebrows.
On Monday, Technician published an editorial discussing the UNC Board of Governors’ approval of a 14.6 percent raise for Chancellor Randy Woodson. This decision increased his salary to $495,000 per year – $63,000 more than he was paid last year. Woodson also received a bonus of $112,630, plus a retirement plan that includes an annual payment of 10 percent of his current salary beginning this year. Woodson received this specially made package in addition to the modest 1.2 percent pay raise awarded all state employees provided by the state legislature in 2012.
According to the News & Observer, this package was fashioned because
Woodson “has been extraordinarily successful at N.C. State.” Highlights of Woodson’s “successful” two years with the University include the completion of a $115.2 million library that was planned and financed at least two years before his hiring, and increasing tuition and student fees by 4.2 percent instead of the recommended 6.5 percent. What has been labeled “extraordinarily successful” is arguably run of the mill.
The University has managed to find donors willing to reward the Chancellor’s “extraordinarily successful” two years with roughly $200,000, not to mention the use of a $3.5 million mansion overlooking Lake Raleigh.
The same efforts have not been applied to acquiring funds for areas of campus that have been serving N.C. State students for 10 times as long as Woodson, the African American Cultural Center Library being one of them.
Located on the second floor of Witherspoon Student Center, the African American Cultural Center Library houses a myriad of books both educational and leisurely, as well as audio/visual resources by and about Africans, African-Americans and other members of the African Diaspora.
Since its humble beginning as a room with 10 books and no budget 22 years ago, the library has served students as a treasured resource and an opportunity to delve into the African-American experience. Since 1991, the Cultural Center and its library have changed the campus climate not only for African-Americans, but for all students, faculty and staff.
Today, even though the library now boasts three desktop workstations, a TV with DVD/VCR capability, and many more books than its original 10, this significant area of the University has few technological services comparable to that of other libraries or affiliates on campus.
Affiliates of the University library system, of which the library is one of two on campus, do not offer the full range of technological services found at branch libraries like D.H. Hill or Hunt. You will not find hundreds of iPods, iPads or digital cameras in these areas. However, in order to increase student traffic in these areas, as well as for student convenience, certain services, such as laptop loans or computer labs, are becoming much more necessary.
The College of Education Media Center, the other affiliate of NCSU libraries located in Poe Hall, provides an open PC/Mac Unity Lab and laptops available for checkout to education students and faculty members. The Cultural Center Library has not been similarly equipped, despite its twenty-two year history of service to N.C. State students.
The Reading Room’s newest librarian, Carla Sarratt, has been interested in increasing the use of technology in the library since she came to N.C. State in October.
“I would love to see us be able to offer similar services as D.H. Hill and Hunt libraries and more,” said Sarratt. “There are some updates that we hope to make with our circulation software in the future [as well].”
Sarratt said she also recognizes the need to increase student traffic in the library.
“We do have a computer lab with three computers and a printer available for use,” she said. “They definitely get used by students. Since my arrival last semester, it has been my mission to increase traffic in the library. It became busier during exam week, which was great, but the traffic has been minimal so far this semester.”
Many students in the African-American community make the counter argument however that if the University expects student traffic to increase, services such as laptop lending or having access to more than three computers must take place. “Anytime technological advancements are made at N.C. State it automatically becomes more appealing to students,” said Liana Lewis a senior majoring in Textile Technology. “ College students are always looking for ways to find answers more quickly and efficiently and technology does exactly that. Also with such a vast number of students, there is always a demand for one more palce to study, so updating the Cultural Library woul offer students more choices for continuing their academic studies.
According to Sarratt, the purpose of the Cultural Center library is to promote awareness and appreciation for African-American culture and to enhance academic excellence throughout our campus.
“As we begin to see an increase in popularity with students, faculty and staff, it is my hope to be open more hours each day. I am working on cultivating relationships within and outside of the university community to make them aware of the resource that is the African American Cultural Center Library,” said Sarratt.
Perhaps if the University directors would realize, as Sarratt and its students already have, the valuable resource that is the African-American Cultural Center Library, they could find $200,000 in funds and donations to help it fulfill this necessary mission.