UNC employees rally to oppose sale of Student Stores

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Some state employees who work at the UNC Student Stores rallied Monday to oppose the possible sale of the bookstore to a private company.

UNC is considering whether to outsource the book store, which is located at The Pit in the heart of campus. And that concerns some members of the State Employees Association of North Carolina who work at the facility.

Rally at UNC Student Stores on Monday. (WNCN)
PHOTOS: Rally at UNC Student Stores

SEANC said there are 49 permanent state employees and more than 180 student employees of the bookstore.

“I’m very concerned,” said employee Stacie Smith. “I want to work for an independent institution, which is what we are right now. We are state-owned and I don’t want to work for a corporation.”

In a news release, SEANC said executives from one potential buyer, Follett, “have already been shown around the store as if the success of their bid is a foregone conclusion.”

SEANC also claimed employees have been “forbidden to talk anymore to anyone about what is going on with the proposed sale. At risk of losing their jobs, a gag order has been imposed on them.”

A UNC spokesman said he was not aware of any gag order involving employees. UNC also disputed SEANC’s claims that the bid was some sort of foregone conclusion.

A decision is not expected until the spring at the earliest.

Follett is an education services company that already oversees book stores on dozens of campuses. In North Carolina, Follett has bookstores at Wake Forest University, Fayetteville State, N.C. Central, Meredith and William Peace, among multiple others.

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