Commentary

Another editorial laments the right-wing “snake pit” at UNC

In case you missed it yesterday, a fine editorial in the Fayetteville Observer got it right in its assessment of the turmoil that’s been fomented at UNC by the right-wing ideologues installed on the Board of Governors. This is from “Spellings exit doesn’t bode well for UNC”:

It’s dismaying to see the sudden and startling resignation of Margaret Spellings as president of the UNC System. She is the second system president to depart within four years and her exit is a signal that turmoil within the UNC Board of Governors is intensifying.

….Spellings was initially viewed with suspicion by many campus leaders and Democratic state lawmakers. But she quickly won over many of her critics, showing a strong vision for the system’s future and a knack for translating vision into concrete plans. She spent a great deal of time on the system’s campuses and worked closely with chancellors to craft individual action plans for future growth and development….

Spellings also proved adept at dealing with controversy and balancing politically volatile issues, like the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue on campus that was toppled by students earlier this year. But her even-handedness upset many of the hard-line politicians who now inhabit the Board of governors and brought public reproach from some.

What the board’s ideologues are making clear, unfortunately, is that Spellings’ replacement will be stepping into a snake pit, a reality that may prevent the system from recruiting the talent that one of the nation’s top public universities needs and the people of North Carolina deserve. It’s a product of the same sort of politicization that the General Assembly has forced onto the state’s judiciary and many of our governing boards. It’s ugly and serves no one well.

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