David Price pays tribute to Bill Friday

Remarks by Fourth District Representative David Price honoring William Friday on his 90th birthday.

Madame Speaker, I rise to honor William C. “Bill” Friday, the man whose name was synonymous with higher education in North Carolina for much of the 20th century. This week, he celebrated his 90th birthday.

Few North Carolinians are as well known or as widely respected as Bill Friday. Although he has never run for elected office, the former president of the University of North Carolina (UNC) system has been prominent in public affairs for decades and ranks as one of the most important American university presidents of the post-World War II era. As the longest-serving President of North Carolina’s public university system, Bill Friday has been a friend to anyone and everyone educated in that system, anyone employed by that system, and anyone living in the vibrant towns and cities that surround our state’s public universities.

Bill Friday was born in Raphine, Virginia, but he grew up in Dallas, North Carolina, a small community in Gaston County. He graduated from Dallas High School, where he played baseball and basketball, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill. He also served in the United States Naval Reserve during World War II.
Friday’s entire professional life was spent in higher education. Before becoming president of the UNC system in 1957, he served as assistant dean of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1948-1951), assistant to the President of the Consolidated University of North Carolina (1951-1955), and Secretary of the University of North Carolina system. After a brief period as Acting President of the system, he was chosen to take the position permanently. It was a job at which he thrived.

Friday’s tenure as UNC president spanned the greatest period of growth for higher education in American history, and he played a crucial role in shaping our sixteen-campus university during that time. Early on, the Council of Advancement and Support of Education identified Friday as the most effective public university president in the nation.

Bill Friday was a consistent supporter of academic freedom and integrity. During the civil rights movement, he often served as mediator between student activists and the conservative state legislature. He led a five-year effort to repeal the 1963 Speaker Ban Law, which prohibited campuses from hosting appearances by government critics. And he fought to keep tuition affordable so that limited means would not be a barrier to higher education.

Friday was also a visionary leader, and he pursued that vision in many areas. His involvement in the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education led to gains in North Carolina and the nation in federal funding for student aid in Pell Grants and the establishment of the Area Health Education Centers. He served as founding co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which has worked persistently to reform college athletics. Friday helped to develop the National Humanities Center; he supported the establishment of North Carolina public radio through UNC; and he was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Research Triangle Park.

As Charlotte Observer associate editor Jack Betts noted about Bill Friday: “He often seemed to be everywhere, but he was always no further away than a telephone, willing to talk about state history, fully cognizant of the state’s many needs and always enthusiastic about the progress the state could make through its various educational enterprises, especially the university. He was a university president, but at heart he has always been a teacher.” I can certainly attest to this personally as the recipient of many Bill Friday notes and calls and as one who has benefitted enormously from his generous and wise counsel.

Friday has mentored university leaders, governors and presidents in the course of his public life and he has received a multitude of accolades — including just about every honor North Carolina has to bestow. These honors include the American Council on Education’s National Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Humanities Medal, the American Academy for Liberal Education’s Jacques Barzun Award, and the John Hope Franklin Award. In 2004, the N.C. General Assembly held a special joint session to honor Friday’s life and work. The legislature and then-Gov. Mike Easley presented William and Ida Friday with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for service to North Carolina.

Now retired from the university, Friday heads the William R. Kenan, Jr., Fund and the Kenan Charitable Trust. Friday also currently hosts a public television talk show, North Carolina People, which he began while still president of the UNC system. The show brings Tar Heel state residents insights from leaders in education, politics, business, and the arts, adding richly to our public discourse.

Even in retirement, Friday keeps an office at UNC Chapel Hill and serves as a formal and informal sounding board and dispenser of wisdom for students, administrators and others. The University of North Carolina System has given its state so much: public servants, educators and other professionals, small and large business leaders, innovative researchers, informed citizens: these make up the fabric that weaves together our communities. At 90, Bill remains fiercely dedicated to the idea that education is uniquely powerful, giving young people the tools they need to shape their lives, live out their dreams, and better society.

As Bill himself would insist, he has not achieved these great things on his own. He had the good fortune and good sense in 1942 to marry his wife Ida, who has been a lifetime partner in his service and civic endeavors. Their names grace a continuing education center in Chapel Hill and an education innovation center in Raleigh, both of which host hundreds of gatherings each year, promoting collaboration and furthering the causes to which the Fridays’ lives have been dedicated.

Fortunately, nothing Bill Friday has done in the last few years suggests his life will begin to slow down as he turns 90. I am honored to know Bill and to call attention to his service to our state and her citizens. The Tar Heel State owes much to him.

UNC revamps citizen soldier effort

After a review of the program prompted by complaints to Sue Myrick’s office and an eye-opening story that questioned its efficacy, UNC has announced a restructuring of its Citizen Soldier program. Here’s the release:

Goodale to lead Citizen-Soldier program restructuring focusing on behavioral health

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is significantly restructuring the Citizen-Soldier Support Program to focus primarily on the behavioral health needs of returning combat veterans and their families.

Bob Goodale, a retired grocery executive and state commerce official, will lead these efforts as director of the Citizen-Soldier Support Program, based in the University’s Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. He has directed the Citizen-Soldier program’s behavioral health initiative since 2007.

The Citizen-Soldier program, a demonstration project, develops approaches for engaging communities to support National Guard and Reserve members and their families before, during and after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. It has received several federal appropriations totaling about $9.8 million since 2004. The University has been reviewing the program since early this year after Congresswoman Sue Myrick received a complaint about its effectiveness.

“Behavioral health is Citizen-Soldier’s most successful component, so we’ll focus on that strength in providing assistance to soldiers coming back from active duty along with their families,” said Dr. Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development. “Taking this step, under Bob Goodale’s leadership, is consistent with the recommendations emerging from an internal review and guidance from the program’s National Advisory Council.”

Starting Monday (Nov. 16), Goodale, a retired Harris Teeter chief executive officer and former deputy secretary of the State Department of Commerce, will succeed Peter Leousis, who will continue as deputy director of the Odum institute.

Waldrop said the Citizen-Solider program is expanding the behavioral health initiative to further develop a network of civilian behavioral health providers. So far, the program has trained more than 2,000 providers to work with returning combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and their families. He said the program’s behavioral health efforts have benefitted from collaborations with the Area Health Education Centers, based at the University’s School of Medicine that works with nine regional centers to bring health sciences faculty and students to North Carolina communities to provide care and services.

Next year, nearly 4,500 National Guard soldiers from North Carolina’s 30th Heavy Combat Brigade will return from deployment in Iraq. The Citizen-Soldier program’s goal is to put in place a statewide behavioral health “safety net” before they return home, Waldrop said. A Web-based, searchable database of civilian behavioral health providers is scheduled to launch in January.

As part of the restructuring, Waldrop said the Citizen-Soldier program also would:

· Phase out its own “Building Community Partnership” efforts and redirect that funding to expanding the behavioral health initiative.

· Move a training program for the Army OneSource initiative, “Building Community Partnerships,” to the Jordan Institute for Families in the UNC School of Social Work under the leadership of Dr. Gary Bowen, Kenan Distinguished Professor. That shift leverages existing strengths in the social work school and follows a recommendation from the internal review committee.

· Reduce several staff positions and re-engage its National Advisory Council in support of the program’s work.

The changes follow a report by Chancellor Holden Thorp to the University’s Board of Trustees in September, as well as recommendations and ongoing deliberations of an internal review committee created by Waldrop earlier this year. The review committee, which initially worked for six months in producing its report, and a financial audit by the University were prompted by the complaint received by Myrick.

The internal review committee was reactivated in August and continued to deliberate about the program into last month. Committee members included two retired military officers who were familiar with the program and its goals, as well as administrators from UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC General Administration.


Price wants to repeal Military Commissions Act

Changes being made. Seems we may return to the idea of rule of law.
This from Rep. Price’s office:

Price Introduces Bill to Restore the Rule of Law to the Handling of Terrorism Suspects
Comprehensive Legislation Aims to Fix a Broken System

***Section-by-Section Summary Attached***

WASHINGTON — Congressman David Price (D-NC), chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today introduced a proposal to initiate broad reforms in the practice of detention, interrogation, and prosecution of terrorism suspects by the United States.

His bill, the Interrogation and Detention Reform Act, would seek to end the abusive and ineffective policies of the past while presenting a way forward with a sound, law-abiding approach, which the Congressman says will improve the capacity of human intelligence collection efforts. He hopes the proposal will serve as a platform for collaboration between the incoming Obama Administration and the new Congress to address the deficiencies of the current system, and anticipates that the new Administration may act on some of his proposed measures early in its tenure through executive action.

“Our government’s approach to the interrogation, detention, and prosecution of terrorist suspects is badly broken,” Price said, as he explained the urgency of reform. “The Obama Administration should not waste a single day in reforming this system and putting our country back on firm moral ground.”

Price added, “Experts with the Intelligence Science Board have concluded that commonly used interrogation techniques are not rooted in science and may not be effective in obtaining accurate information. The Bush Administration’s system for prosecuting terrorism suspects is bogged down in procedural hurdles and court challenges. Worst of all, our ongoing use of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, along with reports of detainee abuse, have severely tarnished our government’s moral authority, which is crucial to our leadership in the global fight against terrorism.”

The Interrogation and Detention Reform Act would repeal the Military Commissions Act and endorse the existing civilian and military justice systems as the most appropriate venues for prosecuting terrorism. The Military Commissions system has achieved only three convictions in terrorism cases since 9-11, while civilian courts have convicted over 145 terrorists in the same span. The legislation would close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and it would establish uniform, government-wide standards for interrogation that prohibit torture.

The bill would also stop the practice of contracting out interrogations. Price was the author of amendments to the Defense and Intelligence Authorization bills last year that would bar private contractors from performing interrogations.

In addition to breaking from the damaging practices of the past, Price stressed the importance of plotting a new way forward for the country’s policies toward terrorism suspects.

“We cannot simply decry the abuses of the past; we must offer new approaches that both improve our effectiveness in fighting terrorism and restore our moral grounding.”

To that end his bill would enact forward-looking proposals designed to strengthen intelligence collection, including the creation of a center of excellence for interrogation training and research, as recommended by the Intelligence Science Board, and the development of an expert cadre of career military interrogators.

For more details see the attached section-by-section summary of the legislation.

“If our nation is to win our critical fight against terrorism, we must ensure that our tools for obtaining timely, accurate intelligence and for bringing terrorist suspects to justice are finely honed and do not violate human rights or the rule of law,” Price concluded. “We simply cannot afford to maintain the current broken system.”

Other House members who are cosponsoring Price’s legislation include Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT), Intelligence Oversight Panel Chairman Rush Holt (D-NJ), Intelligence Committee member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Judiciary Committee member Mel Watt (D-NC), Foreign Relations Committee member Brad Miller (D-NC), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), John Olver (D-MA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).