College Sports in the Realm of Bonesville
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Bonesville Magazine & Bonesville.net
Power of persuasion: Use it or
Politics at the state level is like a simmering pot of stew. Throw in a
sharp pinch of pressure from a lobbyist, a half a cup of donations from a
PAC committee, a generous dash of influence from the UNC-Chapel Hill
politburo and a well-placed sprinkle of arm-twisting from the N.C. State
University apparatus and you suddenly have an exotic budgetary soup that
satisfies the palates of the few at the expense of the many.
Since the days when Ed Warren, Henry Aldridge and David Redwine roamed
the aisles of the General Assembly, East Carolina University has had no
taste-testers in the government kitchen with the wallop to sign off on the
main dish. Consequently, its constituents have been among the masses whose
appetites were left unsatisfied when the stew was served.
Case in point: The proposed $60 million Cardiovascular Diseases
Institute, a project championed by ECU and University Health Systems to
fight the leading killer of North Carolinians, seemed like a no-brainer when
the initiative was announced a little more than a year ago.
The institute, which would be headed by renowned heart surgeon W.
Randolph Chitwood, Jr., was conceived as a state and national resource that
would leverage the assets and talents of ECUís respected cardiovascular
program in the battle against a range of debilitating and deadly maladies.
Let the record show that the bold concept was cast aside in the jockeying
by a few well-situated legislators to squeeze through funding for a $180
million cancer center in Chapel Hill in the waning stages of the assemblyís
last session. That maneuver, though made on behalf of a laudable purpose, offended
some in its brazen parochialism and subsequently failed.
Both projects will be on the agenda again when the legislature convenes
next week and both deserve serious consideration on the basis of their
merits, not the institutional ties of the representatives and senators
who will be caressing the stateís purse strings.
Once again, Misters Warren, Aldridge and Redwine wonít be present to
shepherd the interests of ECU and those it serves through the process.
Nevertheless, real influence is at hand for those members of the schoolís
constituency who have the initiative to wield it.
In this election year, when politicians are particularly receptive to the
concerns of those who can help sustain their political existence, ECUís
recently launched Purple Alert is an
ideal vehicle for mustering the muscle to prevail upon the politicos to
produce a different outcome this time around.
All it takes is a letter, a phone call, a fax or an e-mail message to
your local General Assembly member concerning the Cardiovascular Institute
or other issues important to ECU. That simple gesture, carried out statewide
a thousand times over by the multitudes of believers who should feel
compelled to join the Purple Alert army, can carry powerful clout.
As of last Friday,
more than 600 people had signed up for
Purple Alert, an undertaking to keep supporters abreast of matters important
to the university in order to facilitate advocacy by individuals on the
Thatís a remarkably large number of enlistees considering that Purple
Alert wasnít formally rolled out until earlier in the week. The way politics
works, though, hundreds more volunteers must join the cause in order to
exert the kind of collective influence that will be decisive.
If your legislatorís phone rings off the hook and his mailbox overflows
with messages of support for ECUís most noble objectives, even the most
indifferent politician will pay more than lip service to the idea that the
university can be a dynamic asset in advancing the common good of the region
and the state.
If you donít sign up for the cause and then carry through with a sincere
communication to your representative and senator when you receive those
pressing Purple Alerts, donít blame the politicians when they give the
Cardiovascular Institute the short shrift in coming weeks. After all, they
will be too busy greasing a wheel that is squeaking louder than ECUís.
You can enlist in the cause by visiting
www.purplealert.ecu.edu. After you sign
up, get on the phone or the computer and follow through with thoughtful
action when you receive an alert, or the effort you made to enlist in the
cause will have been a hollow one.
Send an e-mail message to Danny Whitford.
Click here to dig into Danny Whitford's Bonesville archives.
02/23/2007 01:37:40 AM