UNC President Tom Ross

UNC President Tom Ross

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently requested and reviewed hundreds of emails that UNC President Tom Ross received Jan. 16, the day he was forced out of his job by the UNC Board of Governors.

Ross, who had been the head of the UNC system since 2011, has said he hoped to stay on with the university system, but a board appointed by Republican leaders opted instead to replace him in 2016, a move that many by surprise.

Ross plans on staying on as president until January 2016 or until his successor is selected, whichever is later.

Among the messages Ross received on the day he was dismissed were notes from another former UNC president, Erskine Bowles, as well as Fred Eshelman, a former Board of Governor member and prominent Republican fundraiser.

You can read more of the email snippets over at the Chronicle of Higher Education.


A small group of state education and business leaders met today in Chapel Hill to have initial talks about what the role of higher education is in the state, and whether it should continue to expand.

The UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Initatives is tasked with coming up with a five-year strategy of where the 17-school systems should head in light of the rocky economy, a legislature less included to invest heavily in the schools and rising tuition costs.

The makeup of the 31-member committee has drawn criticism, with heavy representation from the business committee and two of the state’s biggest conservative political funders, Fred Eshelman of Wilmington and Art Pope of Raleigh, serving on it.

Eshelman chaired Tuesday’s subcommittee meeting, where a smaller group of members gathered to hash out a plan for how the larger committee should approach the five strategic goals – setting degree attainment numbers; strengthening academic quality; serving the people of North Carolina; maximizing efficiency and ensure the long-term financial stability of the UNC system.

The biggest source of differing opinion at Tuesday’s meeting centered around discussions about how many people in the state need or should go to college, and what degree attainment goal numbers the UNC system should have.  Read More