By Cammie Bellamy
Assistant City Editor
In a nod to the 100th anniver-sary of the town that brought themtogether, Lydia Lavelle and Alicia Stemper registered as domesticpartners in Carrboro in March 2011. A month later, the bill that wouldeventually become North Carolina’s Amendment One was filed.Today, the amendment is law andconstitutionally bans gay marriageand domestic partnerships in thestate —thus nullifying Lavelle andStemper’s domestic partnership.But as the Supreme Court debatesthe validity of such bans on same-sex marriage, local LGBT activistsare focused on the future.“I’m very, very cautiously hopeful, but I would not be surprised to nothave it happen,” Lavelle said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if you see atleast a few of the justices say ‘This isa matter of constitutional magnitudethat is really not fair to same-sexcouples.’”
Monday, April 1, 2013
The Daily Tar Heel
Vimala Rajendran, owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, experienced a violent marriage and now speaks out against violence against women.
‘A right to be heard and believed’
Restaurateur calls community to speak out about violence against women
By Chelsey Dulaney
On the door of Vimala’s CurryblossomCafe on West Franklin Street is a sign:“Food is a human right, and no one will beturned away.” Vimala Rajendran, 54, has spent the last20-or-so years of her life cooking — forfriends and family, for herself, for the com-munity.Rajendran’s love of food has seen herthrough bad times — a violent marriage —and good times — the opening of her res-taurant. For Rajendran, food has becomemore than just a way to satiate hunger; it isa way to heal.“(Food) also makes the person feel goodon various levels, especially a whole body experience of healing,” she said. Among the warmly colored walls of herrestaurant, Rajendran is a cook, an activistand an active member of the community. When she’s not making the samosas shespent so many years perfecting, she chairsthe board of a community television centerand regularly hosts events for causes she ispassionate about.She has master’s degrees in political sci-ence and educational media technology and diplomas in both early childhood edu-cation and information technology. And she is survivor of domestic violence.Rajendran, who is originally from India,said she grew up in a home that was safefor women and girls.So when violence began to quietly inchinto her marriage, she struggled to face hersituation.“Even though I was very aware thatabuse and control was creeping up in my relationship, every day I thought I hadgone too far into the commitment to just withdraw and run,” she said.“I thought if I stayed I would make a difference and change him, but it neverhappened.”For 16 years — through the birth of her three children, through a move to theUnited States and eventually to Chapel Hill— Rajendran stayed with her husband.Then, one day, Rajendran had enough. Armed with the support of her Chapel Hillcommunity, she left.“It came to the point where I couldn’ttake it anymore,” she said. “During the 16 years of a difficult and abusive relationship,an activist was brewing.”Today marks the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month — and thoughRajendran was not a victim of sexualassault in her marriage, she has a messagefor all victims of violence against women.“If an individual feels violated in any way — sexually, emotionally, physically — it isnot their fault,” she said.“They have a right to be heard and believed. And keeping silent about it on any level actually harms the whole community.”UNC junior Andrea Pino, co-chairwom-an of UNC’s Project Dinah, which aims to
Health insurance to be covered by BlueCross
By Hayley Fowler
After student health insurance premiumsnearly doubled this year, the UNC system hasdecided to change providers from Pearce andPearce Inc. to BlueCross BlueShield of NorthCarolina. Administrators said the new health insur-ance provider was selected for multiple rea-sons, including affordability.BlueCross BlueShield has proposed a planof $1,290 per year, almost $130 less than this year’s $1,418 premium, said Brian Usischon,the system’s associate vice president for humanresources and university benefits officer.But the final cost is still being negotiated,he said.“We’re still working on price — that’s the biggest piece,” he said.BlueCross BlueShield also offered to place a cap on price increases for the next three years,Usischon said.BlueCross BlueShield was selected as thenext health insurance provider after the sys-tem considered input from all 17 campuses, hesaid. Other bids came from Pearce and PearceInc., the system’s current provider, UnitedHealthCare Services Inc. and Aetna Inc.Usischon said benefits will remain relatively the same for the 40,000 undergraduate andgraduate students enrolled in the health insur-ance plan systemwide.The copay and deductibles students pay will not change, but the cap on the amountof student health care spending will rise from$100,000 to $500,000 next year, and will beunlimited by 2014-15, Usischon said.“Essentially, it’s the same design in terms of what benefits exist now,” he said.Pam Silberman, clinical professor of healthpolicy and management at UNC, said thesystem’s health care was altered to meet new requirements under the Affordable Care Act, which requires every student attending a col-
SYSTEM HEALTH INSURANCE
UNC-CH students in the system’s plan
students enrolled in the plan systemwide
annual premium for current system plan
premium proposed by BlueCross BlueShield
The UNC system decided to switchproviders due to affordability.
UNC again considers buildingbridge to help pedestrians
By Marisa DiNovis
For the second time in the pastthree years, UNC administratorsare considering building a nearly $10 million bridge over South Roadto improve pedestrian safety.But this year’s proposal is mark-edly different from the 2010 plan, which would have built a crossing between the Student RecreationCenter and the Pit and was indefi-nitely delayed because of a lack of funding.The new $9.5 million design, which would bridge the gap between the Genome SciencesBuilding and Caudill Laboratories, was presented to the Board of Trustees’ buildings and groundscommittee last week and put onhold for further discussion.“Everyone hated the design of (the 2010 plan), and we decided tohold off,” Chancellor Holden Thorpsaid at the meeting. “And when wecame back to it, we decided thatthis bridge was more important,and I agree that it is.”Bruce Runberg, associate vicechancellor for facilities services,
Gay couples prep forSupreme Court ruling
courteSy of alicia StemPer
Alicia Stemper, right, and Lydia Lavelle registered as domestic partners in 2011.
Plan for South Road pedestrian bridge
Kenan LabsCaudill LabsWilson Library
S o u t h R o a d
B e l l T o w e r D r i v e
SOURCE: UNC FACILITIES OPERATIONS, PLANNING AND DESIGNDTH/JESSICA MILBERN
It would link the GenomeSciences Building andCaudill Laboratories.Couples in Chapel Hill andCarrboro say the road toequality remains long.
said at the Wednesday meeting thatall construction projects on campussince 2005 have been taxed, withthe revenue accruing in a trust funddesignated for pedestrian safety projects.Buildings and grounds commit-tee member Don Curtis said thenew bridge project would use allthe money in the pedestrian safety fund.Runberg said both designs arestill on the table, but the new proj-ect has taken priority.“The bridge to the Pit is still a concept, but it’s been shelved forthe moment,” Runberg said. “Wecurrently don’t have funding for it.”University architect Anna Wupresented the final design to thecommittee. Wu said the construc-tion of the bridge would encourageconnectivity between North andSouth campuses and would link the
Landen Gambill filed a sexual assault com-plaint against her ex-boyfriend in the HonorCourt. He was found not guilty, but Gambillsaid the case was mishandled.
Aug. 1, 2012
Sexual assault cases were removed from thehonor system’s jurisdiction to abide by newfederal mandates.
Three UNC students, one former student andone former administrator filed a complaintwith the U.S. Department of Education, claim-ing that UNC facilitated a hostile environmentfor students reporting sexual assault.
Gambill was charged with a conduct violationof the Honor Code stating that she engagedin disruptive or intimidating behavior againstthe man she accused of raping her.
The Department of Education’s Office for CivilRights opened an investigation against theUniversity in response to the complaint.
Jayne Grandes began in the new inves-tigator position in the University’s EqualOpportunity/Americans with Disabilities ActOffice.
Ew Quimbaya-Winship began work as UNC’sdeputy Title IX officer, a position mandatedby the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Clery ActCompliance Division announced it wouldevaluate whether UNC violated federal law.
Gambill filed a third federal complaint, alleg-ing that the University has attempted tosilence and discredit her.
Chancellor Holden Thorp suspended Gambill’shearing pending a review of her claims.
Sexual assault controversy at the University