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NCCU resolution in Congress gets 1 'Noe' vote, but it isn't personal

Don't take it personally, N.C. Central University: U.S. Rep. Don Young has nothing against you.

It's just that he doesn't think Congress should waste its time on resolutions for this and that, so he tends to vote against them.


Like last Thursday, when House Resolution 1361, noting that NCCU is celebrating its centennial this year, came to a vote. The Ayes were overwhelming: 408. The Noes, just one: Young, a Republican from Alaska now serving his 19th term as that state's only House member.

The resolution, sponsored by North Carolina representatives David Price and G.K. Butterfield, is a 24-paragraph explanation of the university's accomplishments. 

Spokespersons for Price and Butterfield said they'd noticed the one dissenting vote but hadn't thought anything of it and had not spoken to Young's office about it.

Then I heard from Meredith Kenny, Young's spokeswoman.

"Rep. Young voted against the resolution (as he has done on many previous resolutions) to make the point that Members’ time is better spent voting on legislation not resolutions," she wrote in an email to me. "He agrees that such anniversaries and similar occasions should be honored, but they should be discussed, debated, and done by voice vote, and not take up time better spent on legislation affecting all Americans."

NCCU is not alone. One busy day late last year, Young cast the lone dissenting vote on a resolution recognizing the 70th anniversary of the retirement of former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, according to a news report in Alaska.



Check out NCCU's new Shepard Medallion

A couple days ago, we here at Campus Notes told you about the first six folks who would be receiving the Shepard Medallion, the new honor being unveiled by N.C. Central at its upcoming Centennial Gala.

But I didn't have an image of it. But now I do.

So there it is.


Six to receive new NCCU award

A civil rights champion and an influential local legislator are among the first six recipients of the Shepard Medallion, a new honor created this year by N.C. Central University in conjunction with the institution's centennial celebration.

The honorees include Julius Chambers, the longtime civil rights attorney and former NCCU chancellor; H.M. "Mickey" Michaux, the longtime state representative from Durham; Mattie Sharpless, an NCCU alum and former U.S. ambassador; LeRoy Walker, former NCCU chancellor and past university and Olympic track coach; Peggy Ward, a former trustee; and Albert Whiting, another former NCCU chancellor.

Five of the six will receive their bronze medallions at the university’s Centennial Gala on May 22 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. (It wasn't clear this week whether Whiting can attend.)

Nominees for the Shepard Medallion were solicited from the campus and nationally. From that pool, a campus committee recommended a handful of finalists to NCCU Chancellor Charlie Nelms, who picked the honorees.

Nelms commissioned the medal to recognize people, associated with the university, who have made significant contributions to the school, to their communities or to their professions. The contributions must be in keeping with the public university’s motto, “Truth and Service.”

NCCU church on the move again

N.C. Central University will try once again Friday morning to complete the move of a historic church on its campus.

The Holy Cross Catholic Church was supposed to be moved last weekend from one edge of campus to another to make room for a nursing building.

But the move took longer than anticipated, and the church is sitting this week in the center of campus.

Friday, it goes again. Traffic will be re-routed around a four-block stretch of Fayetteville that morning.

The church now rests atop a platform on Nelson Street near the corner of Fayetteville Street. The two-block move up Fayetteville Street on Friday will begin about 6 a.m.

The complex operation will be supported by crews from Duke Energy, Verizon and Time Warner; they will lower and adjust power, telephone and cable lines to clear a path for the church.  

Utility services will be turned off for about two dozen homes in the neighborhood while the move takes place.  

Fayetteville Street traffic will be rerouted one block west to Concord Street between Nelson and Lawson streets.

NCCU police officers will be posted at the affected intersections to direct traffic.

Neighborhood residents have been advised that the detours and power interruptions could last till late afternoon, but university officials said they hoped to be finished before then. 

The church will eventually be placed on a new foundation next to the James E. Shepard House on Fayetteville Street near the Formosa Avenue intersection.

An eventful weekend for NCCU's Holy Cross church

Think you had a busy weekend?

Try being the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Durham.

The small, aged church was supposed to be relocated from one edge of the N.C. Central University campus, where it has been since being built in 1942, to the other edge of campus to make room for a new nursing facility.

The project, chronicled exhaustively on these pages, started slow.  It was supposed to start Friday and finish Saturday. That didn't quite go according to plan.

Friday's move across campus to the edge of Fayetteville Street took far longer than anticipated, thanks to, in this order: a tire stuck in the mud, a faulty brake hose of some sort, and a tricky slope near the NCCU law school that slowed the project considerably.

As Jim Wise reports in today's News & Observer, the project hit some non-fatal glitches, delaying the final portion of the relocation until next weekend.

So this historic black catholic church will spend the week next to the student union on campus.

Stop by and say hi.


NCCU and Duke pay homage to The Secret Game

Saturday morning, amateur hoopsters from Duke and N.C. Central University will get together on the NCCU campus for a day of basketball.

And a history lesson.

It's the Bull City Showdown, an effort by students at both campuses to hang out together, have a good time, find common ground, etc. They'll do this by drawing inspiration from the first time Duke and NCCU students played basketball together.

It was 1944, and whites and blacks simply did NOT do that sort of thing. Jim Crow laws forbid it.

But, as historian Scott Ellsworth first revealed in a stunning 1996 New York Times Magazine article, a clandestine game between the black team from NCCU - then the N.C. College for Negroes - and the all-white team from Duke's medical school did occur, behind locked doors.

For more, check out today's story in the N&O.

Tom Joyner to speak at NCCU commencement

Tom Joyner, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and longtime supporter of historically black universities, will deliver the May commencement address at North Carolina Central University.

NCCU’s commencement ceremony will be May 15 at 8 a.m. in O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium on campus. Nearly 800 students will receive undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Joyner is host of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,”  which airs in more than 115 markets nationwide and reaches 8 million listeners.

It is the nation’s highest-ranking syndicated “urban” morning radio program. The show features Joyner and a team of comedians and commentators that report and discuss news and sports of the day.

Celebrity guests, elected officials and civic leaders regularly appear on the show.
His nonprofit Tom Joyner Foundation, established in 1998, raises money to provide scholarships for students with financial need while also supporting the financial health of African-American educational institutions.

The foundation has raised more than $55 million. One of the Foundation’s most celebrated scholarships — the Hercules Scholar Program, named after Joyner’s father, Hercules Joyner — was designed to help retain black males attending college.

Every month, the Foundation designates a “school of the month” when it works with the college to raise money from alumni, friends and supporters. NCCU is the Foundation’s August school.

NCCU student paper grabs some awards

The Campus Echo, North Carolina Central University’s student newspaper, has won nine Excellence in Journalism awards from the Black College Communications Association.

The Echo won Best Overall HBCU Student Newspaper, Best Headline Writing, Best Individual Page Design, Best Editorial Cartoon and Best HBCU Online Student Newspaper. The paper also took second place in Best Overall Design, Best Opinion/Editorial Section and Best Multimedia Package, and Honorable Mention for Best Photo Essay.

With a staff of 15 that includes reporters, copy editors, photographers and a cartoonist, the print publication has a circulation of 4,000 to 30 campus newsstands.

Last year, the Echo completed a redesign of its online edition, integrating it into College Publisher 5 (CP5), a content management system owned by MTV that is the standard for university online newspapers. The switch has sped up production, integrated local advertising and simplified adding multimedia content to the publication. MTV provides CP5 to the Echo in exchange for prime advertising positioning.

NCCU's Nelms to speak at Duke Chapel today

N.C. Central University Chancellor Charlie Nelms will give the sermon today at Duke Chapel's Good Friday service.

This will be Nelms' first sermon at Duke Chapel but far from his first church appearance. Since coming to NCCU in 2007, Nelms has made a habit of speaking at area churches. Doing so, he says, is a chance to offer public testimony.

He does it on his own time and speaks just as "Charlie," not as the leader of a public university.

"I'm speaking as a citizen of Durham, not as the chancellor of NCCU," Nelms said this week. "I'm presenting my personal point of view around issues of faith.  I'm more than a chancellor. I'm driven by a set of beliefs. I don't invoke those in any public kind of way when I'm interacting with students."

He speaks at area churches about a dozen times a year.

Nelms was raised in a small baptist church near Crawfordsville, Ark. In a small southern town, church was a big deal.

"The church was a special kind of place. And Easter was a very special time in the life of a poor kid growing up in the south because that's when you got your special clothes," he recalled. "You got a special outfit, and you had to give a special speech. An Easter speech. You're taught public speaking at a very young age and you get over your fear of getting over speaking to a crowd. There's a lot of learning."

The Good Friday sermon at Duke Chapel is at noon today.

"Charlie Nelms is an outstanding speaker who has much to teach us about courage in the face of adversity and the transforming power of suffering love - which are exactly the things Good Friday is all about," said Samuel Wells, dean of Duke Chapel.

Nelms said he'll talk about social justice and the moral responsibility that comes with being a Christian.

"We must be people who not only espouse a particular set of values, but follow them as well," he said. "We must be willing to practice what we preach."

Nelms expects to speak for 15 or 20 minutes today.

"Much longer than that, you bore people," he joked.

The Bell Tolls for The Know

The Know Bookstore and Restaurant, long a hotspot for fried chicken, books and jazz just off the N.C. Central University campus, is closing its doors.

Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. It was a restaurant and a bookstore, and a place where fledgling jazz artists could pound out some notes.

It was an eclectic place, for sure, and a deep-rooted piece of the university community for 19 years.

But The Know is shutting down, at least for now, forced out by a landlord who wants to use the building for another purpose.

Owner Bruce Bridges says it may re-open in another spot, hopefully nearby, but he isn't sure yet.

 Virginia Bridges has the story here.

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