According to Raleigh’s News & Observer , this morning, Governor McCrory made the following rather embarrassing statements to right-wing talk show host, “morals” crusader and and high-rolling casino patron Bill Bennett:
“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs.”
“If you want to take gender studies that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”
He also promised to advance legislation to make higher education appropriations “not based on how many butts [are] in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs.”
He went on to say that “Right now we pay based on how many students you have, not how many jobs you are getting people into.”
This afternoon, UNC President Tom Ross issued the following classy and common sense statement in response:
“The University of North Carolina has partnered with business and government to build the state’s economy. We pledge to continue to work with the Governor and the General Assembly to ensure North Carolina has the strong talent pool needed to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow, some of which haven’t yet been invented. Our campuses are committed to academic quality and to graduating students who are adaptable, creative, innovative, and equipped to succeed in the workforce and to conduct the cutting-edge research that enables North Carolina to develop, attract, and retain industry, businesses, and good-paying jobs.
Of course, we understand that state resources are limited and agree that there must be many pathways to jobs in the modern economy. We are completing a Strategic Plan that involved business leaders from across the state, the president of the Community College System, and legislators in our efforts to set degree attainment goals for our state that are responsive to the talent needs of the future economy. UNC is already transitioning from a campus funding model focused solely on enrollment changes to a model that considers campus performance on key measures related to student success and academic and operational efficiencies. We believe this funding model sets the right direction for our University and our state.
The University’s value to North Carolina should not be measured by jobs filled alone. Our three-part mission of teaching, research, and public service requires that we prepare students with the talent and abilities to succeed in the workforce, because talent will be the key to economic growth. We must also continue to serve the state through our agricultural and industrial extension programs, our Small Business and Technology Development Centers, our Area Health Education Centers, and through the many other ways our faculty and students are engaged in our communities. Higher education plays a key role in ensuring a higher quality of life for all North Carolinians.
North Carolina’s economy is in transition, and we must position the state to compete nationally and internationally in the years ahead. We look forward to working with Governor McCrory to develop the well educated and skilled talent pool that North Carolina will need to compete and win.”