In a scathing letter published today in UNC Chapel Hill's Daily Tar Heel student newspaper, an emeritus faculty member bludgeons the university for last week's football game, which necessitated an early end to the workday for thousands of employees.
Charles Murphy wrote that the move illustrates that the university is ruled not by academics but by athletics, and writes that the operating rooms at the hospitals were shut down to accommodate game traffic.
He wrote in part: "Even UNC Hospitals operating rooms closed at 3 p.m. last Thursday. God help those who have the audacity to become acutely ill or injured during the Sacred Hours."
Well, that's not precisely accurate.
This according to Karen McCall, a spokeswoman for UNC Health Care:
The hospitals and ambulatory care center have 35 operating rooms.
That's 31 at the main hospital and the women's and children's facilities, and four more at the ambulatory care center.
At the hospitals, two are always held open for emergencies.
Hospital officials did not shut the rest down at 3 p.m. last Thursday, the time at which university employees were ordered home to clear the way for football fans, McCall said.
Rather, the hospitals went to a reduced operating room schedule in much the same way it would on holidays or at other times when there are fewer scheduled surgeries.
Thus, there were 18 operating rooms in use at 3 p.m. that day, then scaled back to 9 at 7:30 p.m., McCall said. The operating rooms at the ambulatory care center were shut down at 3 p.m., as were the clinics there, she said.
The next morning, everything resumed at a normal schedule.
"We reduced the number of operating rooms running in response to the fact that people would have a hard time getting in and out," McCall said. "We never closed. The emergency room is always open."