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NCSU's Pope proposal advances

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After a contentious meeting of her faculty in December (see "N.C. State considers Pope money," Dec. 6, 2006), Toby Parcel, dean of NCSU's College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS), left us hanging. Would CHASS ask the conservative John W. Pope Foundation for funding over the bitter objections of many on its faculty? Undecided, Parcel said.

Well, CHASS is asking.

Parcel says a proposal to Pope, posted anonymously to a blog, is the real thing. In mid-May, as spring term ended, CHASS asked Pope for $1,885,000 over five years for: a visiting professorship; to support students' study abroad; and to reward top students with research stipends. Three CHASS departments (political science, psychology and foreign languages) and its international studies program are involved.

The proposal tilts to the Pope ideology: The John W. Pope Visiting Professor would be in German and International Studies; also, "Pope International Scholars" could study in Western Europe only.

Does CHASS have other money for study in, say, Asia or Africa? "Not at the current time," Parcel said.

Parcel approached Pope after UNC-Chapel Hill rejected the foundation's offer of money for a new Western civilization curriculum.

Chapel Hill faculty feared Pope's strings would skew scholarship toward hoary traditionalism. Says Parcel: "I don't believe these proposals will be skewing any teaching or scholarship."

Her faculty, which did, hasn't met again on the subject, Parcel said, but she's kept them informed of the plans. Any complaints? "Nothing direct," she said.

And no response yet from Pope.

The proposal is posted at: bluenc.com/ncsu%3A-too-money-hungry%3F.

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