The Faculty Senate at Appalachian State University in Boone — a UNC campus that is home to more than 18,000 students — released a statement today in which it expressed “serious reservations” about the appointment of Margaret Spellings as the new President of the UNC System. Spellings, who was selected for the position by the UNC Board of Governors in October, is scheduled to take office March 1 of next year.
In the statement (which was adopted by a vote of 27-0 with four abstentions), the App State faculty members cited several specific concerns about Spellings, including:
- the Board of Governors’ secretive selection process that included no meaningful faculty involvement,
- Spellings’ “record of pursuing policies that are contrary to the very idea and integrity of public higher education,”
- “Her intolerant remarks and actions against the LGBT community,”
- “Her involvement in the implementation of No Child Left Behind and the report…which promotes high-stakes standardized testing and the narrowing of the curriculum, as manifested by ‘teaching to the test'”
- “Her involvement in the for-profit education sector, notably her service on the Board of Directors of the Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, which is noted for its high student dropout rates, the high rate of default on student debt and weak investment in instruction, among other problems” and
- “Her advocacy to advance the pecuniary interests of Ceannate, a for-profit student-debt collection agency, by serving as chair of its Advisory Board during a time when student debt has risen dramatically in recent years.”
The statement goes on to call on the Board of Governors to, among other things:
- revise its search procedures,
- require Spellings “as a condition of her installation, publicly affirm her commitment to the existing mission statements of UNC’s member institutions, specifically as they relate to academic freedom and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,”
- Require Spellings to “resign from all her affiliations with Ceannate” and
- “explain in detail and in public the steps she took as a member of the Board of Directors of the Apollo Education Group to address concerns about the troubling practices of the for-profit education sectors.”
In sum, the demands sound like an excellent way for the Board and Spellings to allay the concerns of a large segment of the UNC community and the public at-large. Let’s hope they’re paying attention.
Click here to read the entire document.