Thursday, December 7, 1989

SEAC to participate in Mobil protest

"SEAC to participate in Mobil protest," Daily Tar Heel, 12/7/89

By JEFF D. HILL Staff Writer

About 100 UNC students, primarily members of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), will take part in a protest tonight against the proposed Mobil Oil Corp. drilling off the N.C. coast, SEAC co-chairwoman Ericka Kurz said Wednesday. The protest will precede a public hearing at the Velvet Cloak Inn in Raleigh. Kurz said Greenpeace, the international environmental protection group, was organizing the protest. Organizers expect about 1,000 people to be at the 6:30 p.m. protest. The hearing starts at 7 p.m. The public hearing is to determine whether Mobil's plan is consistent with the N.C. coastal management program and whether it can be done safely, according to J.D. Ferguson, an office manager at the office of Outer Continental Shelf in Raleigh.

Safety considerations are the primary reason for the protest, Kurz said. "There are so many problems caused by gas and oil exploration. There's everything from oil spills to water quality and air quality. Then there are reasons that citizens can be concerned for the fishing and tourism industries." Offshore drilling and exploration rights are controlled by the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior because the offshore acreage belongs to the federal government, but the state of North Carolina can fight the issue in court if it is not satisfied with Mobil's proposal, Ferguson said.

Jim Martin, director of Mobil's N.C. project, said in a telephone interview that the drilling would take place about 45 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras. He said there was a 10 percent chance of finding natural gas off the N.C. coast and a "one in 1 percent" chance of finding oil. The rising oil and natural gas costs have made such oil drilling cost effective, Martin said. "If this project and other projects like it are prohibited, this country will continue to have to import more and more of it (oil) from overseas, and that oil comes to us in tankers."

Kurz said the recent Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska would work in SEAC's favor. "The Valdez accident has caused a political reaction in the Congress of the United States that we see causing some very unwise decisions about offshore oil and gas drilling," Martin said. He said prohibition of offshore drilling increased the likelihood for oil spills because more tankers would have to be used to meet U.S. oil needs. According to Martin, less than 0.05 percent of the oil spilled into the earth's oceans has come from offshore oil production, whereas 47 percent has come from transport-related accidents. "Mobil has an excellent record for safety operations around the world. In particular, in the Gulf of Mexico Mobil has twice received from the government the annual Safe Award." Mobil is the only company to have won the award for environmental safety more than once, Martin said. "I believe that is an indication of the kind of serious intention Mobil places on safety of operations and on our environmental covenant, which is taken very seriously by the corporate officers, every operating manager and everyone that works for Mobil."

Kurz said, "It would not make a difference what company is doing the drilling because they all have the same technology." In addition to oil spills, oil rigs produce high amounts of pollution daily. Kurz said the dirt and sludge displaced by the drilling contained chemical and radioactive material. Marine organisms absorb this material and smother, she said.

Tuesday, November 7, 1989

Racial Integration of the Greek System: Imagine what there is to be gained

"Greek systems could gain a lot by merging," Daily Tar Heel, 11/7/89

Readers Forum

To the editor:

It is clear that students on this campus are concerned with issues of discrimination and want to see positive social change. Student Congress' proposed boycott of the nightclub On The Hill is an example of a direct action students are taking as a result of these concerns. However, while a small local business has proved an easy target, other problems at UNC still remain huge stumbling blocks in the path of social progress. One I would like to address specifically is our Greek system.

The Greek Forum's address ("Forum addresses Greek roles," Nov. 2) of racial discrimination is encouraging, but it is only the beginning. In this century we have witnessed immense progress in public integration. Why don't we set the process of private integration in motion before the next decade is out? The challenge may seem insurmountable, but change has to start somewhere. We can create a more positive reflection of society at the collegiate level, and our Greek system is one of the most obvious starting points.

This catalyst for change must arise from within the leadership of a Greek organization that is willing to take a progressive stance on campus. Wednesday night's forum promised more interracial mixers and charity benefits, but drew the line at merging the two systems. Inter-Fraternity Council president Sterling Gilreath claims that "our traditions are so different that we would both lose a lot." Imagine what there is to be gained. Black Greek Council president Russell Dula states, "I don't think it would work." No one has tried. It is clear that there are many in the Greek system with the desire to create a society that does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, origin, handicap, economic advantage or possibly even sex. But who will be the first to step forward and take action?


Junior, Economics / Political Science

Friday, October 20, 1989

Threshold called success, chance to reunite the student movement

"Threshold called success," Daily Tar Heel, 10/30/89


This weekend's historic Threshold conference, sponsored by the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) of the Campus Y, closed Sunday as participants voted to work over the next months to protect forest lands in the United States. The three-day national student environmental conference, heralded by organizers as the first of its kind, drew more than 1,600 people from 43 states as well as from several foreign countries. Events included internationally renowned speakers, workshops and discussions on how to better organize and succeed in environmental action.

Participants spent about two hours discussing various short-term campaigns at Sunday's assembly at the Forest Theatre and decided that upcoming congressional action protecting the Tongass National Forest in Alaska should be their most pressing concern. "The forest is a representative issue of the fundamental concerns of everyone here," said Alec Guettel, one of three SEAC co-chairmen. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have voted on a bill to protect the Tongass Forest, which developers are destroying. Threshold participants said the House bill would provide stronger protection. Participants will write letters to their Congress representatives to ensure passage of the House bill and organize a simultaneous march on their state capitals to raise environmental awareness. A date for the march has not been set. Other ideas considered in the vote included targeting for major campaigns multi-national corporations that are harming the environment.

Organizers of the conference said the Tongass campaign gives Threshold participants an opportunity to further develop the network the conference has helped create. "I hope it's just a start," said Blan Holman, co-chairman of SEAC. "I hope people will meet the challenge." Ericka Kurz, co-chairwoman of SEAC, said Threshold participants were eager to keep the momentum from the communication going. "The conference wasn't strictly environmental. There was a sense of strong desire to reunite the student movement as a whole. The most amazing thing is there's more to come."

Threshold organizers said they were pleased with how well the conference went. "Students came away with clear ideas," said James Langman, conference chairman. "They're ready to work together and start a unified student movement on a local and a national level." Guettel said the participants fulfilled the goals for the conference. "It was better than expected. One of our objectives was to educate people about the most effective methods of grassroots activism. We went over them here. Another objective was to build a new student movement and campaign. That was the greatest success of this."

SEAC member Sharon Wells said she had received a lot of compliments on the organization of the conference and the selection of the speakers. "I think it went very well. The discussion groups allowed everyone to really talk. Everyone will go back with a goal to work towards."

Students who attended Threshold said they learned a great deal at the conference. "The conference got a lot of environmentalists with different priorities together," said Dana Hollish, a sophomore at George Washington University. "We want to do something for all the concerns, but we have to choose one. The conference will have a lot of aftereffects. It will bring about more big conventions like this more often." Paul Haught, a sophomore at Georgetown University, said he was pleased to see people show they wanted to do something about the environment. "I like the fact that people want to do something specific, but there are a lot of conflicting views," Haught said. "I expected a low-key, moderate conference of maybe 300 people," said Heather Fuller, a sophomore at UNC. "It was enormous. To see all the passion from so many students was incredible. It was almost shocking."

If Dale McKinley goes, the class goes with him

"Sanction may bar McKinley from teaching position," Daily Tar Heel, 10/20/89

By WILL SPEARS, Assistant University Editor and JUSTIN McGUIRE, University Editor

Student activist Dale McKinley, who was convicted of two charges in Graduate Student Court Tuesday night and sentenced to definite probation through the end of next semester, may not be allowed to keep his job as a teaching assistant in the political science department, he learned Thursday. McKinley who is teaching Political Science 59 this semester said a letter from Jeffrey Cannon, assistant dean of students and judicial programs officer, informed him that the terms of his probation meant he couldn't continue teaching the class on contemporary Africa.

McKinley said he would appeal the decision by the 5 p.m. Monday deadline because his teaching salary represents 80 percent to 90 percent of his income. If prevented from teaching, McKinley would have to work full-time to pay for school, he said. "I wasn't going to appeal this (the honor court decision). It didn't concern me at all. But this is ridiculous. For me, it's basically expulsion." Should the appeals process fail, McKinley said he would take the case to a civil court.

McKinley, a graduate student from Zimbabwe and a member of the CIA Action Committee, was convicted of Campus Code violations stemming from an April 15, 1988, anti-CIA protest at Hanes Hall. No one else in the department would be able to teach the class because they would not have the necessary preparation. McKinley said. "Even if there was, the students would be totally disrupted. There are 50 students, and all of a sudden they're going to be out in the cold. The whole process has no respect for students."

Cannon confirmed Thursday that he had notified McKinley in writing of the terms of definite probation. Cannon said he could not comment further because the case is still pending. Richard Richardson, chairman of the political science department, said that as of Thursday he had received no word that McKinley wouldn't be allowed to teach. "We're proceeding with him teaching until I hear otherwise." The class will definitely continue, Richardson said, but the department will make a decision about a replacement instructor only if and when informed that McKinley is not allowed to teach.

Students reacted with disappointment to word that McKinley may be removed from teaching the class. "A lot of us signed up for the class because we knew he was teaching it," said Ericka Kurz, a junior from Middleton. Wis. "Our class is planning to do something about this jointly. If he goes, the class goes with him." The class could not go on without McKinley, Kurz said. "There is no one else in the department qualified to teach the class."

McKinley's absence would have an adverse effect on the class, said another student taking the course. "They really didn't consider the students in the class," said Alyssa Wood, a sophomore from Midlothian, Va. "Switching instructors in the middle of; the semester is really going to disrupt the class." She said students liked McKinley's teaching style because he let students discuss issues freely. "I think most people will really be disappointed if he's not going to teach the class anymore." McKinley will also be unable to speak at Human Rights Week, Nov. 12-18, he said. He had planned to speak, and the Black Student Movement was going to sponsor him.

Tuesday, October 17, 1989

International spotlight on Threshold, SEAC's first environmental conference

"International spotlight on environmental conference," Daily Tar Heel, 10/17/89


A national student environmental conference to be held at UNC Oct. 27 to 29 has received much national and international publicity over the past few weeks, including an article in the Russian newspaper Pravda. Threshold, sponsored by the Campus Y's Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), has been mentioned in magazines such as Mother Jones and Greenpeace, and also on MTV. Michael Stipe, lead singer of R.E.M, has even recorded a public service announcement for the conference. Other newspapers such as The New York Times will attend, as well as the Associated Press. Some major news networks, including CBS, may also cover what is considered to be the biggest student environmental conference ever.

"The response is incredible," said James Langman, conference chairman of SEAC. "It's really weird because people in L.A. could hear about it from four or five different sources. "There are students coming from Seattle; Dallas; Lincoln, Neb.; and St. Paul, Minn. They want to join and be a part of something big." According to organizers, the conference is expected to bring more than 1,000 students from more than 200 universities in 43 states. Langman said most of the people attending would be college students, although he has heard from some high school students and even one sixth-grader. "I got a call from a girl in Mississippi who saw it advertised on TV, and she wanted to know more about it."

SEAC Co-Chairwoman Ericka Kurz said some local universities were planning to attend. "We have a good committee at Duke and two or three people at State." Alec Guettel, co-chairman of SEAC, said the group hoped to educate students from all over the country on how to have an impact on environmental issues. "We also want to consolidate SEAC and come up with some major campaigns. This is the beginning of a national student movement. There's never been a unified student voice." Threshold marks a major accomplishment for SEAC, allowing the group to bring environmental awareness not only to the campus, but also to the nation, members of the organization said. Although many students from other universities are attending, Kurz and Langman emphasized that these universities were not involved in the planning stages of Threshold, and that SEAC was the only environmental group organizing this conference.

Threshold will showcase speeches by environmental leaders from around the country. The topics will include the disappearing of tropical rain forests and global warming. The conference is holding workshops in recycling, governmental regulation, urban ecology and grassroots activism. The Indigo Girls will stage a benefit concert at 9 p.m. on Oct. 28 in Memorial Hall.

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