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Website organizes, publicizes opposition to UNC Board of Governors

A new website is organizing and highlighting the growing dissatisfaction with the UNC Board of Governors.

 

Launched late last week, the Reform UNC System Government site already boasts more than 1,000 people signing onto its message that the current board of governors has let politics and micromanaging drive away good leaders and create chaos throughout the system.

The group’s opening statement, featured on the homepage of the site:

The University of North Carolina is at a crossroads and its future is at stake.

The UNC System Board of Governors must refrain from meddling and micromanaging. It must let our leaders lead, our professors teach, and our students learn — for the good of the State of North Carolina.

The governance of our university system needs serious reform. We need less political influence and more civic responsibility.

We need a balanced and independent Board of Governors designed to outlast political transitions and comprised of members who have only one interest at heart: the success of our entire university system.

We must return to the standards of good governance that created the foundation for excellence at UNC, with appointments to the Board of Governors and campus boards of trustees shared by the Governor and the General Assembly and chosen from honorable, respected citizens.

UNC is our state’s greatest asset. It is our most crucial economic engine. We cannot afford to let politics undermine the future of higher education in North Carolina.

We are business leaders. We are community leaders. We have served as members of UNC campus boards of trustees across the entire state. We are faculty. We are alumni. We are students.

And we are voters.

The University of North Carolina is a treasure. It must be treated as such for the continuing benefit of every North Carolinian.

Signing on to that statement are some very prominent names, including former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser and former UNC Board of Governors members Bob Brown, Frank Daniels Jr., Fred Eshelman, Paul Fulton and Phil Phillips.

Frustration by prominent alumni, faculty, staff and students has grown to a fever pitch since the abrupt exits of UNC System President Margaret Spellings and UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt in the last few months.

Last week Policy Watch reported on a strongly worded column by Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, a prominent UNC alumna and president of the Association of American Universities. In the column, published by the Higher Education Works Foundation, Coleman expressed her “dismay” with the direction of the board and its impact on the system.

In comments to the News & Observer this week, UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith dismissed the site and its sentiments as a “political temper tantrum” by a “small, vocal minority.”

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