Note: This post has been updated to reflect information provided by the UNC system.
A Senate bill capping the terms of members on the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors moved through a House Rules committee Monday, and could potentially shift at least two current members off the board, if passed.
An individual could serve three, four-year terms (a total of 12 years) under Senate Bill 670, which was headed to the House floor and possible passage during what appears to be the final week of the legislative session.
The current UNC Board of Governors’ policy limits members to three consecutive, four-year terms, while the bill being proposed by Sen. Tom Apodaca would apply to both consecutive and non-consecutive terms.
The full House will vote on the measure tonight.
There are currently three members on the UNC Board of Governors who are in the midst of their third or fourth terms, according to information provided by the UNC system.
John Fennebresque, the chair of UNC Board of Governors and a Charlotte attorney, received a four-year apointment from 1995 to 1999, as well as appointments from 2011 to 2015, according to information provided by a UNC system spokeswoman . He was re-appointed to his third term this spring.
Craig Souza and Frank Grainger are serving their fourth terms on the board. Both men served three, four-year terms from 1997 to 2009. Grainger rejoined the board for his fourth term in 2011, and Souza re-joined in 2013.
Hannah Gage, a former board chair, was a voting member of the UNC Board of Governors from 2001 to 2013. She is now serving in a non-voting, emeritus position.
The state legislature is responsible for appointing all 32 members of North Carolina’s governing board for its public university system. That’s led to significant changes to how the board does business, now that all 32 members currently serving have gotten their appointments from Republican-dominated state legislature after decades of Democratic control.
Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican, introduced the bill regarding the term limits and said Monday it would affect three of the board’s current 32 members if and when it became law.
He did not name the three individuals, and it’s unclear if he was referring to Souza, Grainger, Fennebresque or Gage.
State Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, an Apex Republican, voted against the bill, saying lawmakers could just choose not to reappoint those members, if they felt they had been in their positions too long.
“I’m just wondering why” legislation for term limits are needed, Stam said in committee Monday. “You don’t have to re-elect them to a fourth term.”