Chapel Hill, NC—In a special session convened earlier this week, the UNC Board of Governors passed a resolution mandating that all students at UNC Chapel Hill eat crayons.
Julie Poorman, director of financial aid at East Carolina University and member of the committee that created the policy, made a statement to the press on Tuesday explaining the new measure. Starting in the fall of 2014, she said, each student enrolled at UNC-CH will have 10 days from the start of the semester to ingest a 24-count box of assorted crayons.
“Students at other UNC-system schools have been eating crayons for years, and it’s high time that we got everyone on the same page” said Poorman. “If you want to take classes at UNC, now you’ve got to eat crayons.”
According to a report published by the UNC General Administration in February, UNC-CH has the lowest six-year crayon-eating rate in the system, 2.6% in the most recent semester for which data was available. The rate is far below those of other UNC-system schools, which range from 20.4% at UNC Asheville to 76.9% at NC State.
Supporters of the new measures say that they are necessary to level the playing field, but UNC-CH administrators have voiced strong criticism, describing the regulations as “misguided” and “counterproductive.”
“We have always left it up to our students to deicide when, if ever, they will eat crayons,” said Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education. “Frankly, it’s never been much of an issue.”
“We have excellent students at UNC. They’re wonderful and enthusiastic,” Owen continued. “I don’t think that requiring them to eat crayons is in their best interest.”
Once the policy is enacted, UNC-CH students who do not eat the requisite number crayons will be subject to holds on registration for future semesters and may have financial aid withheld. Exceptions will be made only for extenuating circumstances such as illness or military service.
Currently enrolled students will not be “grandfathered” out of the requirement in 2014, although The Board of Governors is considering allowing them to peel the paper wrappers off of their crayons before ingesting them for the first two semesters that the policy is in effect.
The resolution is unpopular with students and faculty in Chapel Hill, but around the state, policymakers are expressing support for the measure.
“Until liberal politicians took over our schools, eating crayons was the norm,” said Art Pope, budget director for Governor McCrory and a long-standing advocate for the policy. “I ate crayons when I was a student at UNC, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the same from our students today.”