The North Carolina Senate is poised to add two former Republican legislators to the UNC Board of Governors — a body long criticized as overly partisan, top-heavy with lobbyists and former GOP lawmakers and lacking in diversity.
The Senate’s Select Committee on Nominations met briefly Tuesday morning to consider six names for the board — four reappointments and two new names.
The board members to be reappointed: Joel Ford, Martin Holton, Temple Sloan and Michael Williford.
The two new nominees:
- Harry Brown, a 16-year veteran of the Senate from Onslow County and former Senate Majority Leader, and
- Haywood “Woody” White, a former senator and past chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, who also ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for a U.S. House seat in 2014.
Senator Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford), a member of committee, pointed out that the two new nominees — both white Republican men — would offer little to a board she said needs to diversify if it wants to actually represent the state and the UNC System.
“This is a very diverse state,” Robinson said. “The university system is a very diverse system. And we need to have a better representation on the board of governors for those universities — women and minorities.”
Robinson, a member of the bipartisan Governor’s Commission on the Governance of Public Universities in North Carolina, said her Senate colleagues need to begin taking diversity concerns seriously.
“The majority of the UNC system are women, yet the board of governors has very few women on it,” Robinson said. “It also does not have many minorities on it as well.”
Of the board’s 24 voting members, five are women and four are Black.
“I nominated a woman last term and she didn’t get anywhere,” Robinson said. “I figured there was no need of me nominating if you’re not going to vote.”