The Coalition for Carolina has placed ads in several issues of the UNC Chapel Hill Alumni Review. Below are just a few of the ads we placed in 2022,
Huge congratulations to Coalition for Carolina advisor Paul Fulton!
Paul, former dean of the Kenan Flagler business school and NC business executive, is a tireless advocate for North Carolina public education. He was recently honored by theNorth Carolina Society of New York at its annual Dinner Dance.
Since 1947, the Society has recognized 79 honorees, including John Motley Morehead III, John M. Belk, Dean E. Smith, Richard Hampton Jenrette, Julian and Josie Robertson, Gov. James Baxter Hunt, Jr., Dr. James and Ann Goodnight, and Thomas W. Ross.
Below is a video of Paul’s remarks. This video was submitted by an attendee at the event. If it is difficult to hear what Paul is saying, please follow this link to read Paul’s full remarks.
Funding Higher Education
The funding of public higher education is facing challenges around the country. In a recent post, we celebrated Carolina’s milestone achievement in raising private funds to support the university and noted that such “once in a generation” funding is no substitute for state funding. This thinking is underscored in a Chronicle for Higher Education opinion piece written by James Nguyen H. Spencer. He considers the importance of funding and investing in our youth and discusses the importance of public higher education as a public good. Spencer goes on to
point out how public higher education is facing funding challenges across the country and proposes a novel solution that would enable us to invest in our young people’s education, address current funding challenges, and realize a favorable return on the investment.
From the article:
“In years past, public-college tuition was kept very low by state investment in public universities. But today, levels of investment have in many cases dropped from about half of a university’s budget to less than 10 percent. In some states, these aggregate reductions have been mitigated by the creation of state programs funding individual tuition support for residents, as in South Carolina and Louisiana, yet it’s still clear that states will no longer be the primary source of public-university support.
Financing an equitable higher education can be done: The U.S. has near-universal water supplies, transportation, and electricity for even its poorest residents. What would happen if we applied the same principles to the public goods that universities provide?
This could be done with the financial support of state-supported bond programs — or less preferably through the private capital markets (after all, student debt is a $1.5-trillion market), like most conventional forms of infrastructure. Upon graduation, a graduate would be asked to pay a small percentage of income back to the university for the duration of the graduate’s career — let’s say 3 percent to 5 percent. The graduates who become millionaires will financially outweigh those who drop out of the labor market. This mechanism should ensure that the monthly costs aren’t too burdensome.
The economic fundamentals of “investing” in our young people in this way are solid.”
Support for The Governance Commission
The Winston-Salem Journal has published an opinion piece in support of Governor Cooper’s commission on university governance. They view the new commission as “a necessary first step to protect taxpayers’ investment in our university system and to right a ship that has listed starboard. We’ll watch for their recommendations with interest — and with hope that the legislature will be persuaded to take their recommendations seriously.”
In supporting the commission, the Journal highlights some of the problems that have arisen as a result of one political party having “a lock on the UNC System”. They cite incidences where lawmakers used their power “at times to turn students into political pawns, as in the era of the HB2 ‘bathroom bill,’ when they tried to impose harmful limitations on where some UNC students could relieve themselves. Questions have also arisen over Republican-appointed board members who have improperly tried to influence university hiring and contract decisions, as well as, in one case, a student election. A couple of board members sought university chancellorships for themselves.”
The piece includes quotes from Governor Cooper and co-chair Margaret Spellings.
|Higher Ed Works has published a great post about Governor Cooper’s newly established commission on governance. We asked, and received, their permission to re-publish the entire post below.|
|RALEIGH (December 1, 2022) – Two former Presidents of the UNC System who will lead a commission to assess the System’s governing structure say the panel will examine models across the country and try to better define the roles of board members.|
“It’s a good time to stop, look and listen to how things are organized,” said Margaret Spellings, a Republican who was the System’s president from 2016-19. “As I like to say, we need to be organized for success. It’s a good time to take stock.”
In North Carolina and across the country, she said, governments are attempting to calibrate the proper balance between the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
Tom Ross, a Democrat who served as UNC System President from 2011-16, will co-chair the commission with Spellings. In a joint interview with Higher Ed Works, Ross said the group will examine how state universities are governed across the country – and there are lots of models( 1).
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced creation of the commission Nov. 1 and the members of the commission last week (3).
Ross called the members “a really high-level group of people.” He said he is encouraged “that it’s a bipartisan commission that the governor appointed … this ought to be a bipartisan issue.”
Spellings said one of the commission’s aims will be a governance structure that lasts through shifts in political power “to protect this mighty engine of North Carolina.”
Currently, all 24 members of the UNC Board of Governors are appointed by the NC General Assembly. And the Board of Trustees at each of the UNC System’s 17 campuses are appointed by the General Assembly and the Board of Governors. The Republican-led legislature removed the governor’s power to appoint campus trustees after Cooper was elected governor in 2016.
Since Cooper announced creation of the commission in an executive order, many have questioned whether legislators will pay heed to the commission’s recommendations.
“We’ll make the case – we’re going to learn a lot through this process,” said Spellings.
“If we can make recommendations to make the System as strong as it can be, we’ll do that,” said Ross.
Both political parties have always been interested in improving the state’s economy, Ross said.
Given projections of a shrinking supply of traditional high-school graduates and demands of an increasingly technological economy, “It’s going to be a tighter and tighter market and it’s going to demand higher and higher levels of education,” he said.
Ross and Spellings noted the appointments of House Majority Leader John Bell and Sen. Gladys Robinson, D-Guilford, to the commission. Former Rep. John Fraley, R-Iredell, is now a member of the Board of Governors and is also among the members.
Bell told WRAL News last week that any shift in appointment powers to the governor is likely to be rejected by legislators.
But “if this is about putting politics aside and improving higher education in North Carolina, I’m always willing to listen and have an honest discussion about how we can move our state forward,” he said (4).
Spellings noted that Cooper made it clear that any changes in appointment powers recommended by the commission should take effect after he steps down in early 2025.
The goal is “not a power grab by an individual,” she said.
Some – including members of the Board of Governors – have raised questions about whether the Board has the proper demographic and geographic representation. Others have questioned the appointment of several lobbyists, given that their livelihood depends on state legislators.
In recent years, one or more BOG members have themselves sought university chancellorships. Two trustees at one university tried to intervene in and influence a student government election. Others have tried to influence university hiring and contract decisions.
Ross said one thing the commission will try to define is, “What is the appropriate role of governing bodies? What are their responsibilities versus those of administrators?
“We need to be clear about who has what responsibilities,” he said.
Others say the governing boards have become overly political. Though politics has always been a part of board appointments, Ross said, “Are there ways we can minimize the political influence in the University?”
Spellings said board members also need to understand and respect shared governance between the faculty and administrators, which can affect whether universities remain accredited.
The University is competing with other states for students, faculty and staff.
“We need the players to play their right and proper role and understand what that is,” Spellings said. “It’s easy to stay in your lane if you know what your lane is.”
Ross said many appointees to university boards have experience in business, but not necessarily in higher-education governance. “Part of it is education,” he said. “That’s true of any board you join, whether it’s higher education or a corporate board.”
Board members also need to show self-discipline, Ross said. “If a board member gets out of line, I think it’s incumbent on the other board members to step up and say, ‘That’s out of line,’” he said. “And I think they can do that.”
1. In particular, Ross referenced extensive research by the NC Center for Public Policy Research: https://nccppr.org/wp-content/uploads/research_reports/THE_STATE_WIDE_UNC_BOARD_OF_GOVERNORS.pdf.
|Other Must-Read News:|
As we consider the task that the newly appointed governance commission has before it, it is worth revisiting a September 2021 Daily Tarheel article where they describe how UNC System governance has changed. Their news article is entitled; “Breaking down the power structure and history of the UNC Board of Trustees”. It is very well done and gives insight into the challenge that the commission faces. It also provides examples of some of the governance related problems that Carolina is experiencing. Our very own Dr. Mimi Chapman is quoted in this excellent post and reading it will remind you of why the Coalition for Carolina came to be.
Click the link below for a link to the Daily Tarheel Piece:
Dr. Mimi Chapman is also quoted in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education piece entitled; “The Apolitical University”. This article asks; “Should institutions remain neutral on controversial issues? Is that even possible?” The author, Adrienne Lu, starts out with a description of how Carolina’s Dr. Barbara K. Rimer posted a statement in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and received an immediate response from some who felt that her statement crossed a line. The author goes on to explore how speech is being handled on campuses and describes how many campuses have embraced the Kalven Report. Dr Chapman expresses her desire that adoption of the Kalven Report at Carolina will not be just “a mechanism … for muzzling administrators but rather a mechanism for allowing faculty to bring their expertise, knowledge, and practice on the issues of the day to the public square.”
Read the full Chronicle of Higher Education article by clicking the link below:
What a milestone!
We’re absolutely delighted that more than 215,000 people who love and want to support Carolina students, faculty, research, and financial aid were motivated to contribute to the Campaign for Carolina. Because of their generosity, Carolina has raised an eyepopping FIVE BILLION DOLLARS with a month to go in the fundraising campaign!
The press coverage of this milestone achievement has been glowing and well deserved. Here’s a sample of what they’re saying:
- News and Observer – “The milestone makes UNC the first university, public or private, in the South to raise $5 billion in a single campaign. UNC joins five other public universities, and becomes one of 16 universities total, in the country in reaching that amount. The university described the milestone in a news release as one of ‘the most successful efforts ever in higher education.’”
- Forbes –“With that amount, UNC-CH becomes one of just six public universities to fundraise $5 billion or more in a capital campaign. The others are the University of California, Berkeley;University of California, San Francisco; UCLA; University of Michigan; and the University of Washington.”
This achievement is a much-needed boost of encouragement for our university leadership, faculty, and staff at a time when they’ve been bruised by headlines highlighting issues related to university governance and overreach. This kind of support from those who love Carolina demonstrates tremendous confidence in the chancellor, administrators, faculty and staff. It also helps to address some of the challenges the university has faced as a result of funding cuts over the past decade. On a per student funding basis, the UNC system is still not back to pre-recession (2008) levels. (“The state spent $2,900 less per student in the University of North Carolina System in 2020-21 than it did in 2006-07, when adjusted for inflation.”)
Chancellor Guskiewicz expressed his gratitude in a press release saying; “I am immensely grateful for the community of donors and volunteers who have supported us on this journey….” Their generosity represents a strong affirmation of our mission of teaching, research and service. Reaching this milestone ensures that Carolina will continue to prepare generations of students and scholars to solve the grand challenges of our time.”
While we are absolutely delighted at this achievement, we are mindful that this is “once in a generation” kind of fund raising. Carolina remains a public university created for all the people of North Carolina and our sustainability is dependent on taxpayer support administered through the General Assembly. In a previous post we pointed out how private fundraising has helped keep Carolina as affordable and accessible as possible, but private fundraising is not a substitute for consistent, sufficient, reliable state support.
In this Thanksgiving season, we are grateful for the generosity of our Carolina community. We have come together to support our great university at an unprecedented level at a critical time. This fundraising vote of confidence speaks volumes. Thank you to all who supported, and will support, this effort.