The 2022 Election is Over – Now What?

We are hopeful that the lack of a supermajority in the NC House will lead to more bipartisan cooperation with respect to public higher education governance and representation on boards of trustees.  In celebrating the supermajority win in the NC Senate, Senator Berger touted one of his priorities as delivering “quality education”.  We agree that delivering quality education is paramount and will do all we can to support that.  We will also work to ensure that “quality education” includes fair, representative governance devoid of politicization.

As for the election results, Republicans increased their margin in the NC House, gained a majority of seats on the NC Supreme Court, and gained a supermajority in the NC Senate. This may suggest that they will continue business as usual.  In fact, a WRAL article quotes Senator Phil Berger as saying;  “Our promise to the people of North Carolina is that the Senate Republican supermajority will continue to deliver on those priorities.”  We hope that this promise excludes gerrymandering of voting districts and includes appointing UNC Board of Governors members and trustees who reflect the political, geographic, gender, racial and ethnic composition of our state. We will work to drive positive change in this area. The best legislatures in our nation’s history, state and federal, embraced the pursuit of the best policies for our citizens—without demanding party-line allegiance to decide policy.

We are also encouraged that the bipartisan leadership of former UNC System presidents Margaret Spellings and Tom Ross will address governance issues in a new Commission.  A WRAL editorial sums it up best:

“Cooper’s effort is much-needed, timely and important. Whether it is the needless and costly move of the UNC system headquarters from Chapel Hill to Raleigh or appointments of trustees or campus chancellors, politics and ideology have become the priority – not quality education. The complaints of over-the-top political meddling come from some unusual sources – people otherwise noted for their partisanship including former GOP state legislator Leo Daughtry and longtime Republican mega-donor, ex-legislator and state budget director Art Pope.

Ross made his mark as a steady professional, running the system in a business-like manner that appropriately prioritized the missions of education and research. He was much in the mold of one of his predecessors, C.D. Spangler.

Spellings, certainly no liberal, also made education, not politics, her priority. The obvious friction with legislative leaders led to her early resignation.

Cooper, a Democrat, has skillfully timed the work of the commission and its recommendations in a way that he won’t gain any political benefit. His term ends in two years — when the recommendations are due — and state law prohibits him from seeking re-election to a third consecutive term.

Two years ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education took an in-depth look at how members of the UNC Board were selected and the impact on operation of the individual campuses. The Chronicle’s investigation detailed how the appointment process left the UNC system ‘vulnerable to an ideologically-driven and politically motivated form of college governance,’ according to the Chronicle’s findings.”

The work of The Coalition for Carolina is more important than ever.  We will continue to fight for the University’s promise of Lux Libertas—light and liberty—and the principles of open inquiry, free speech, equity and inclusion. We thank you for supporting our very important mission: To protect one of the State of North Carolina’s most valuable assets: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

You Can Change How Carolina Is Governed

In case you missed all of the campaign signs and political commercials, here is yet another reminder that an election is just around the corner. 

Voting in the 2022 mid-terms starts on Thursday October 20, 2022 with One-Stop Early Voting. If you are concerned about politicization and governance overreach hurting our beloved Carolina, then we urge you to research the candidates to gain a clear understanding of their positions on public education and university governance before you vote.  Doing so holds such high importance because those who are elected to the General Assembly determine how Carolina and the UNC System are governed.

In January of 2022 The Daily Tarheel published an editorial entitled “Breaking down the Board of GovernorsHere is a brief excerpt from that piece:

“The Board of Governors has 24 voting members that serve terms of four years. Members are elected by the Senate and House of Representatives of the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Board of Governors appoints the majority of trustees on boards at Chapel Hill and 15 other state universities. The BOT has the final say on faculty tenure and advises chancellors on the management of their campuses. 

The North Carolina legislature also appoints select trustees.”

So, we urge you to take some time to get an understanding how the persons you wish to vote for view public education and Carolina governance and then make your study the foundation of your plan to vote.  If your mailbox and social media timelines are  full of partisan pitches, you may want to start your research with the overview that nonpartisan, nonprofit Ballotpedia has published for some of the 2022 North Carolina races:

OfficeElections?More information
U.S. SenateClick here
U.S. HouseClick here
State SenateClick here
State HouseClick here
State Supreme CourtClick here
Intermediate appellate courtsClick here
School boardsClick here
Municipal governmentClick here
Local ballot measuresClick here

See you at the polls!

Other News:

“Higher Ed is on the Ballot”.  That is the title of a new special report from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  They specifically mention Carolina in their introduction which begins…

“The midterm elections are fast approaching, and higher education is on the ballot. According to the memoirist turned ultra-conservative political hopeful J.D. Vance, “The professors are the enemy” — an attitude whose legislative corollaries include a widespread focus on the teaching of “critical race theory” in college classrooms and high-profile political disputes over controversies like the University of North Carolina’s attempt to hire Nikole Hannah-Jones. Meanwhile, President Biden’s debt-cancellation plan faces Republican pushback and is likely to meet legal challenges. Two landmark anti-affirmative-action cases await their day at the Supreme Court.”

Click here to check out this midterm election special report.