Students protest UNC system president's visit to Chapel Hill campus

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Some students protest as Margaret Spellings visits UNC-Chapel Hill.

Some UNC students skipped class Tuesday while others made arrangements with their professors to come out and protest UNC System President Margaret Spellings' visit to the Chapel Hill campus.

Spellings is currently in the process of visiting every university in the system.

"We don't agree with anything she stands for," said student Jayna Fishman. "We're the people of UNC and she's not, and this is our campus."

Demonstrators were upset that Spellings held a series of meeting where a select group of students and faculty were invited.

"The fact that nobody knew about it at all is problematic to begin with. How many other meetings could happen like this," said Fishman.

Spellings has taken over the reins of the UNC system from Tom Ross who resigned. She started March 1st.

On her first day on the job, students across the state walked out of the classes in protest.

Spellings responded Tuesday to the demonstrations.

"I would say give me a chance and I'm all ears," she said. "I want to hear from everyone from a different point-of-view."

Spellings says the system is a work in progress and she understands tuition can more affordable.

She is exploring the options of providing undocumented students in-state tuition. Spellings says this is something she is familiar with from her time in Texas.

Spellings additionally says investments need to be made right now.

"Staff and faculty pay is clearly an issue before us in the legislature. We're really at a tipping point to remain competitive in this country," said Spellings.

Students, though, believe she is incapable of understanding needs of the Carolina student body.

"The only people she's really interested in serving are wealthy, white, corporate interests like herself," said Fishman.

She is scheduled to tour N.C. Central April 1 and will be at N.C. State in later that month.

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