CHARLOTTE – The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors opted Friday to eliminate an academic center concentrated on poverty and run by a controversial professor.
The Board of Governors, meeting on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, voted unanimously to accept recommendations to shut down three centers on three different campuses – the Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina University, the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at N.C. Central University and the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Student protestors, who came to the meeting in Charlotte from several different campuses, nearly shut down the meeting.
Friday’s meeting also included a vote to allow campuses to raise tuition and fees over the next two years at its campuses, cost increases that range from 2 to 7 percent for in-state students. (Click here to read a previous post about this.)
The five-month review of centers and institutes, conducted at the behest of the Republican-led state legislature, looked at 240 centers on the 16 university campuses in the UNC systems. The university system leaders may opt to further evaluate nine marine science centers at various UNC campuses at a later date.
The resolution passed Friday makes clear that the three centers singled out for closure will be shut down by this summer and negates an effort, largely led by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, to urge Chancellor Carol Folt to keep the poverty center open.
Folt told the UNC Board of Governors that many on her campus view their actions as an attempt at suppressing academic freedoms.
“They’ve very fearful this decision [will have] a chilling effect,” Folt said.