Darrell Allison was named the next chancellor at Fayetteville State University Thursday.
Allison served on the UNC Board of Governors until an abrupt resignation in September, citing personal reasons. Sitting members of the board are not eligible for consideration for chancellorships within the system.
Allison, who is politically unaffiliated, was one of just five members on the 24-member board who is not a registered Republican. There are no registered Democrats on the board.
Allison is heavily involved with issues and campaigns important to the GOP, however. He is past president of school choice advocacy group Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina and was on the North Carolina steering committee for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential bid.
He was also one of just three voting Black members. In his time on the board he was an advocate for historically minority serving institutions and chair of the board’s Racial Equity Task Force.
Allison is himself a graduate of one of the system’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), North Carolina Central University. He earned his bachelor’s degree at NCCU and a Juris Doctor degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before joining the board he served on NCCU’s Board of Trustees.
He also came under fire from Black student leaders, faculty and community members for his role in the Silent Sam Confederate monument settlement with the N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Earlier this month court documents revealed that an op-ed an op-ed signed by five board members that ran in the Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer describing their negotiation of the deal was not actually written by them. The five did not directly participate in the negotiations they described, according to court documents.
Then UNC System Vice President for Communications Earl Whipple testified he wrote the op-ed. Allison and board members Jim Holmes, Wendy Murphy, Anna Nelson and Bob Rucho signed the final product to add “authenticity,” Whipple said.
UNC System President Peter Hans described Allison as “a creative leader who understands the value of Fayetteville State University to the community, the region, and the state.”
“Darrell’s expansive career in education and service to the UNC System has been important to this state, and especially our HBCUs,” Hans said in a statement Thursday. “He brings with him a proven track record for student advocacy and a reputation for fostering partnerships that can further this university’s strategic goals. Through his leadership of the Racial Equity Task Force, he was a powerful voice in advancing critical issues of equity, and I know he will help us continue to push forward on this priority.”
Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey echoed those sentiments.
“I have worked alongside Darrell for many years now and he is not only a person of great ability but one of true character,” Ramsey said. “He is deeply committed to higher education and to the citizens of North Carolina. He brings to this position a broad understanding of Fayetteville State University’s strategic role and impact in the region.”
Allison will officially take his role as chacnellor on March 15. He follows Interim Chancellor Peggy Valentine, who has been serving in that role since July of 2019.