In "The Pope Center defends itself" (First Person, Jan. 17), Jane Shaw writes that John William Pope created the Pope Center in 1996 "to improve the quality of higher education, especially in North Carolina." What did he see as needing improvement? In 1987, as a trustee of UNC-Chapel Hill, he was concerned that there were more female than male undergraduate students at the university: "Any time you get over 50 percent, it's becoming more and more a girls' school ... and I don't think favoritism should be given to the females" (Chronicle of Higher Education, 1987:27-28). It's telling that he didn't seem to worry about favoritism when men were in the majority.
In addition, he was against the idea of creating a freestanding black cultural center (The News & Observer, May 9, 1993). Fortunately, others didn't listen to him, and we now have The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
We also have programs the Pope Center routinely mocks and attacks: women's studies; the social and economic justice minor; the Latina/o studies minor; and the sexuality studies minor.
I agree with Toby Parcel, the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at N.C. State University, who described the Pope Center as "deplorable and counterproductive." I hope that she will refrain from taking money from the Pope Foundation. Without the Pope Foundation's money, the Pope Center could not exist.
I was surprised to see the Independent grant the Pope Center an entire page in its Jan.17 issue. Has the Independent run out of journalists that actually investigate issues and objectively report on them?
Then I thought to myself: "Why bother with all the fuss of independent journalism when you can simply reprint press releases?" Silly me.
John Hammond's article was right on target ("UNC Inc.," cover story, Jan. 17).
The point about replacing experienced and therefore relatively well paid clinical and service personnel by lower paid and younger employees and faculty is a corporate technique that may lead to poorer quality of care, a deterioration in morale, and in the long term could achieve the opposite of the leadership's aim—a bad reputation.
This needs closer scrutiny.
Peter Curtis, MD, UNC Clinical Professor