SMBCollege / Flickr

During the Great Recession, 48 states cut spending on higher education, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That funding has not rebounded. North Carolina colleges and universities lost 25 percent in state funds since 2008. South Carolina schools lost about 40 percent. To make up for those cuts schools are charging students a variety of special fees.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

Tuesday, the South Carolina Senate gave its final approval for removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds. Debate moves to the South Carolina House of Representatives Wednesday.

Of course, the Capitol has been the scene of debate and protests the last couple weeks. So WFAE’s Ben Bradford couldn’t help but notice when he saw some unexpected frivolity this afternoon.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

Update: In a required second vote, the South Carolina Senate on Tuesday approved removing the  Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds. The vote was 36-3. The bill is now in the House.

The South Carolina state Senate has started what would have been an almost unthinkable political process a month ago—a move to take down the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. After last month’s shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, the process gained momentum.

Marshall Terry / 90.7 WFAE

The debate over the Confederate flag has spurred another debate:  what to do with the Confederate monuments on public property throughout the South. Some are calling for their removal, like Charlotte NAACP President Corine Mack.

“Anywhere where taxpayers are paying for that property, they should be removed," Mack says.  "In fact, I think it would be fine to put it in a museum and have them on display there. So if you choose to go and find out about the history, you have the right to do so.”

Mack has support from Mecklenburg County Commission Chairman Trevor Fuller. But there are also commissioners who say removing them is in effect burying the past. Commissioners will discuss these monuments Tuesday night. Meanwhile we wanted to check out some of these monuments ourselves. Morning Edition host Marshall Terry did so with UNC Charlotte history professor David Goldfield.

Courtesy of Bree Newsome

In the wake of the Charleston shooting that left nine dead at a church, a Charlotte activist has become somewhat of a household name. Bree Newsome scaled the South Carolina statehouse flagpole to take down the Confederate battle flag as the debate goes on regarding its location.

Newsome spoke to WFAE’s Sarah Delia at the Little Rock AME Zion Church in Charlotte. Newsome started the conversation by describing what was going through her head as she climbed the pole. 

The Ritz-Carlton has agreed to refund customers who paid an extra service charge during the CIAA tournament in Charlotte in February. 

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

A conservative group has launched a campaign to pressure South Carolina legislators to leave the Confederate flag in front of the State Capital.

The group, called the Conservative Response Team, has no official website, but has a presence on Facebook and Youtube. They claim to be a 501(c)4 group (status pending) and say they are “ready to fight back anywhere, anytime against leftist kooks.”

In South Carolina, some state senators are making passionate calls to move the Confederate flag off the Capitol grounds. Senator Vincent Sheheen introduced a bill to do that. On the Senate floor today, he said the debate over the flag shows that racial tensions are still a problem in South Carolina.

"We still have a very serious culture of division within our state. And it's a culture of division that we as leaders have to take stands to change."

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

South Carolina lawmakers reconvene in Columbia this morning, where they will debate the fate of a Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the capital. Lawmakers have introduced three bills to move the flag to a nearby museum. But for many, this debate is about more than just location.


During this Fourth of July week, North Carolina has begun offering a new standard license plate. In addition to First in Flight, drivers can now choose First in Freedom.

The slogan pays tribute to North Carolina's early push as a colony to break from Great Britain.

The man who designed the new plates, Charles Robinson, says this all started for him with a box of cereal when he was 10 years old.