Op-ed: UNC should explain Tom Ross firing or reconsider it

Tom Ross_1162015If you haven’t done so already, check out Charlotte Observer contributor Alice Carmichael Richey’s essay decrying the UNC Board of Governor’s inexplicable firing of system president, Tom Ross (pictured at left).

As Richey argues persuasively, the Board’s actions simply ought not to be allowed to stand in their present form — i.e. unexplained.

“The board acknowledged its decision had nothing to do with Ross’s ‘performance or ability to continue in the office’ and was made despite the board’s belief that he ‘has been a wonderful president’ with a ‘fantastic work ethic’ and ‘perfect integrity’ who ‘worked well with [the] Board.’”

After quoting the board chair, she goes on:

“All of this begs at least two questions: Why did the board make this decision and, no less important in light of public reaction, will the board reconsider? There is precedent for the second question: In 2012, following considerable public outcry over the removal of President Teresa Sullivan, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors reversed itself and reinstated her.

Those who care about our great public university system are sincerely interested in knowing the new direction the Board of Governors is taking and why it cannot be achieved with the continued “exemplary performance” of President Ross. Because his removal was apparently not a personnel decision, the board should not be reticent to articulate publicly the details of its leadership transition. What attributes, beyond those credited to President Ross, will the board seek in a new president and how will this new president further the board’s goals? And what exactly are those goals?”

In other words:

“Central to the system’s effectiveness is confidence and trust in the Board of Governors. The board’s decision to move away from Ross, who by its own account has “served with distinction,” demands explanation including a full recitation of what the board is moving toward. Too much is at stake for the board to risk losing the public’s trust.”
To which, all a person can say is : Amen. Let’s hope the Board has the class to recognize how badly it has screwed up and to act accordingly.

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