ECU opens fall semester with record enrollment
(Aug. 23, 2002)
The fall semester at ECU officially kicked off on Aug. 19 – more than a month before the beginning of fall – with a convincing faculty vote to send to the Faculty Senate a resolution in support of academic freedom.
The vote at the annual faculty convocation followed attempts by several critics, including state House of Representatives budget writers, to block a summer reading assignment on the Quoran for freshmen at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Bob Morrison (Chemistry), chair of the faculty, said he decided to seek a vote to send the resolution to the Faculty Senate because there was insufficient time to debate it fully at the convocation, where Chancellor William V. Muse and others delivered remarks (see text on Page 2).
A clear majority of the faculty, by voice vote, endorsed sending the resolution to the senate for full debate.
Morrison said the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, which failed to approve an academic freedom resolution by an 18-10 vote at its Aug. 9 meeting, is expected to act in strong support of academic freedom at its September meeting.
Elsewhere on the ECU campus as the 2002-2003 academic year began:
Record enrollment. An all-time record number of students, including the biggest and best ever freshman class, swarmed over the campus. Total enrollment, including distance-education students, surged above 20,000 for the first time, up from 19,400 last year. More than 3,500 freshman were on campus, sporting an average SAT score of 1039.
The university plans to grow to as many as 27,000 students by the end of the decade.
Building boom. Construction and renovation projects are in full swing in all parts of the campus, funded by a variety of sources. Construction bond funds, approved by North Carolina voters in November 2000, are financing a number of efforts:
The $61 million Science and Technology Building is scheduled to open for the fall semester of 2003.
The $3.5 million renovation of the old Daily Reflector Building in downtown Greenville is complete. The building, now known as the Campus Computing Center, will be home to Information Technology and Computing Services.
Bids are expected to be received this month for the $12 million addition to the Rivers Building.
Design work has begun for a $58 million project that will provide a new home for the Schools of Nursing and Allied Health and for the Health Sciences Library adjacent to the Brody School of Medicine.
Design work is also under way for the $13 million renovation of the Flanagan Building, which will be vacated when the Science and Technology Building is completed.
Student fees are paying for two major projects: the $13 million renovation of Jones Residence Hall and major expansion of the Galley dining area, which is nearing completion, and the $16 million West End Dining Hall, which is in design.
The $11 million Strength and Conditioning Center, located between Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and Minges Coliseum, was built with money raised from private donors and will be dedicated the weekend of Sept. 13-14. Private funds will also finance a new $X million baseball stadium on the site of Harrington Field.
New programs. The first three students have enrolled in the new Ph.D. program in the School of Nursing. The doctoral program, by training students who can assume faculty positions in nursing programs, will help alleviate the nationwide shortage of nurses.
A new master’s degree program in public health has been approved to begin next fall, if funding is available to support the program.
New non-degree programs include: an undergraduate minor in information technology, undergraduate concentrations in interdisciplinary human studies and teaching English as a second language, and graduate-level certificates in assistiv