The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors will meet Friday for an emergency meeting to discuss the search for a new president of the 17-campus campus.
The meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. on the SAS campus in Cary, is technically open to the public, but the brief agenda indicates a briefing by a presidential search committee and much of the discussion will happen behind closed doors.
It could mean the full board is ready to select their new president, or a chance to discuss the final candidate or candidates.
The 11-member presidential search committee has met nine times in the last month, all in closed session and presumably to either interview final candidates or discuss candidates.
The UNC Board of Governors is pressed to find a replacement for its current president Tom Ross after the board moved to get rid of Ross last January for reasons that have not been fully explained, other than a general desire for a new direction. Ross, a former Davidson College president and Superior Court judge, has been at the helm of the state’s public university system since 2011, when he was selected by a governing board then dominated by appointees from a legislature controlled by Democrats. Since Ross’ hire, the legislature has switched to Republican control, and all 32 members currently owe the appointments to that Republican majority.
Friday’s emergency meeting is a significant move – whether or not a final choice will be announced coming out of Friday’s meeting, it’s the first time the full board has met to discuss the search for a new UNC president.
There have also been reports (found here in this News & Observer article) that some on the UNC Board of Governors are dissatisfied with the search committee, complaining that they’ve been kept out of the loop of the confidential search.
Friday’s meeting could be that chance to bring the full board up to speed.
Meanwhile, a bill is sitting on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk that would, once it’s signed, require the presidential search committee to present the top three choices for Ross’s successor, instead of just one. The bill would also limit the number of terms an individual can serve on the UNC Board of Governors.
McCrory hasn’t signed the bill yet, but will have to decide if he’ll sign it, veto it (as faculty groups requested) or let it become law without his signature by Oct. 30.