The UNC Board of Governors’ University Governance committee recommended no action Wednesday against two East Carolina University trustees who were recorded promising a student financial and political help if she ran for student government president.
The full board of governors will meet Friday to debate the issue further and decide whether sanctions — including potentially removing the trustees — are necessary. The full board isn’t bound by the the committee’s recommendation and several board members indicated Wednesday they were dissatisfied with the hearing, which ended without a number of their questions being asked.
At issue: a recording of ECU Board of Trustee members Phil Lewis and Robert Moore meeting with a student who had previously run or student government president. If she ran again, the pair said on the tape, they could arrange for a professional campaign manager and finance her campaign as long as she kept the source of the money secret. The student recorded the lunch conversation, which Lewis and Moore first pursued, without their knowledge.
The two sought to replace the incumbent ECU student government president, Colin Johnson, who is a voting member of the board of trustees. Lewis and Moore have opposed a number of Johnson’s votes, going back to a contentious meeting wherein he was the swing vote in the election of a new of board chair. Vern Davenport, the current board chair, won the position 7-6 on the sharply divided board.
On the recording, Lewis and Moore can be heard describing how they thereafter voted against things important to Johnson “just to punish him, if nothing else.”