NC Policy Watch reporter Sarah Ovaska is on the scene in Charlotte today so be sure to follow her tweets at @SarahOvaska as the UNC Board of Governors takes up multiple major controversies. Meanwhile, if you’d like to get a better handle on what the board ought to be doing today, be sure to read these two pieces:
#1 is NC Council of Churches contributor Steve Ford’s excellent essay which was posted on the main Policy Watch site on Wednesday: “UNC Board of Governors should reject recommendation to close poverty center.” To quote:
“The Board of Governors committee that now calls for abolishing the poverty center may have done its perceived bidding. The full board, however, would do well to acknowledge the reality that Gene Nichol as a tenured law professor won’t easily be silenced. The board’s wise play would be to show some healthy independence from legislative pressure and to extend the center’s lease on life, in full recognition of how it helps the university system carry out its public service mission.”
#2 is the lead editorial in today’s Charlotte Observer: “Tough times for UNC system.” As the Observer rightfully notes:
“The tensions between the state’s political and university leadership mirrors the situation in Wisconsin.
There, potential GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker has riled university leaders by proposing millions in cuts, telling professors to work harder and taking an aborted stab at changing the University of Wisconsin’s mission statement from a “search for truth” to “meeting the state’s workforce needs.”
That kind of toxic relationship between political and university leaders hurts a state.
The UNC system, like any institution, can benefit from periodic study. But the Board of Governors is overreaching. It is politicizing and micromanaging what has long been arguably the best public university system in the South, if not the nation.
The board needs to take all the uproar of recent weeks as evidence that it ought to rethink its approach. Calling off the rest of its research center study would be a good place to start.”