CarolinaCast: 25 years after it started, the Leandro education funding case awaits an N.C. Supreme Court decision

In 1997, the NC Supreme Court delivered a decision in the original Leandro case. The decision said that every North Carolinian has a constitutional right to a sound, basic education. More than 20 years later, the Leandro case was back before the N.C. Supreme Court this fall.

This time, the issue in the case is whether the judicial branch can force the Legislature to fund a plan that would seek to address inequity in public education funding.

In this edition of CarolinaCast, Walter Reinke discusses the case with William Christensen.


CarolinaCast: The cost of living is going up, but UNC graduate stipends are falling behind

Graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill say their cost of living exceeds the stipends they receive for teaching and research assistance. UNC professors and administrators say they support higher stipends, but the final decision is in the hands of the N.C. Legislature and the UNC System Board of Governors. On this edition of the Carolina Connection podcast, reporter Jailyn Neville talks with Brianna Atkinson about what graduate students are doing to fight for a stipend increase.


CarolinaCast: After a series of accidents, Chapel Hill address pedestrian safety

An electric cyclist lost his life in a traffic accident at a Franklin Street intersection in late January. The tragedy has sparked a debate around bike safety in Chapel Hill.

Meanwhile, even before the January accident, town leaders were working on new road improvement projects to make walking and biking safer for residents. It’s part of an initiative called “Vision Zero.” The town adopted the plan in October with the goal of reducing  traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2031.

Carolina Connection reporters Elijah Imlay and Brianna Atkinson talk with Jayda Williams about the latest developments.


CarolinaCast: After UNC canceled a controversial photo exhibit, it’s now on display off campus

The public can now see the controversial images that led UNC to cancel an exhibition by a local photographer. In February, UNC leaders abruptly canceled an exhibition by Durham photographer Cornell Watson that documented Black life and Black activism in Chapel Hill. They said some of the images detracted from the message of “reverence” for the Black community that they hoped the exhibition would convey. Watson called the decision censorship. His photos are now on display at the Chapel Hill Public Library. Carolina Connection reporter Jade Wilson talks with Jayda Williams about the controversy.


CarolinaCast: The bizarre rise and fall of Coursicle – a course planning app founded by a UNC grad

In February, though, Coursicle app users began receiving push notifications that said things like “Twitter dies today” or asked for nude photos. At one point, it displayed a large photo of Mark Zuckerberg with a vulgar insult. At first, many users thought Coursicle had been hacked, but Coursicle founder Joe Puccio – a 2016 UNC grad – soon admitted he was the one responsible. Carolina Connection’s Sierra Pfeifer talked with Puccio, and she discusses the story with Jayda Williams.


CarolinaCast: Students call for UNC to quit coal, accelerate climate action plan

UNC students and community activists held a climate strike March 25. Students demanded that the UNC system transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. The Chapel Hill demonstration coincided with Fridays For Future, a global youth-led movement in support of climate action that sponsored sister strikes in Raleigh and Durham. Zachary Turner talks about it with Jayda Williams on this edition of the Carolina Connection podcast.


CarolinaCast: Why have more young adults started to smoke?

After a decades-long, largely successful public health campaign against smoking, 2020 hit, and cigarette sales went up for the first time in 20 years. Now, anecdotal evidence is pointing researchers in the direction of a trend: A new generation of young adults may be among those smoking more. Sophia Ramirez talks with Jayda Williams about this trend.