UNC Governance Chaos

Chaos in the UNC System as Appointees Reject Shared Governance

Since pushing out Tom Ross as President in 2015, the UNC System and member universities have experienced ongoing chaos.  The source of the chaos can often be traced back to actions by governing bodies whose members are selected by state legislators. 

Incidences of governance driven chaos includes, but are not limited to: 

Note: BOG = UNC System Board of Governors, BOT = UNC-CH Board of Trustees

In addition to these instances, we’ve recently learned that the UNCW Chancellor search is proceeding in concerning ways.  Apparently, the search committee has, unusually, decided not to hire a search firm. Some familiar with the situation describe the search process as “proceeding strangely”.  (Here is a link to a post describing the unique way the BOG managed to install one of its own as Chancellor of Fayetteville State University.)  Additionally, a 2020 policy change by President Hans now enables him to add two names to the search process and requires that one of his selections be included among the finalists.   We hope that the search process in Wilmington will not result in even more chaos.

What the aforementioned chaotic incidents have in common is a tendency for NC higher education governing bodies to assert their will over those in positions of leadership, in the faculty, and on the staff at our public universities. Before this governance driven chaos, which threatens the shared governance model that has served our Universities so well, there was no glaring, urgent problem in NC public higher education that required the kind of activist intervention we are experiencing. North Carolina has one of the most respected public higher education systems in the world and at the top of that list is Carolina.  Carolina is the nation’s oldest public university, graduates excellent, well-prepared students, and consistently ranks high in all the college ranking surveys.  For decades the faculty and staff have delivered excellence under the shared governance model.  Now a group of legislatively appointed trustees and Board of Governors members want to change that.  To what end? 

Photo credit: Brett Jordan of Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Chaos in the UNC System as Appointees Reject Shared Governance

  1. This report omits the controversy of decades of broken promises to end the use of coal at UNC’s on-campus coal plant which is located in a predominantly black neighborhood and blatantly continues UNC’s racist traditions. Racist traditions have been clearly outlined by author and civil rights attorney, Geeta Kapur, in her recently published book, “To Drink From the Well, the struggle for racial equality from the nations oldest public university”. The pleas from and assault on the community from the health and environmental effects of UNC’s Title IV coal plant continue to be ignored and denied by state regulators and UNC governors while they make no effort to convert their coal plant to a source of clean safe energy and refuse to apply for the numerous federal Department of Energy grants to provide clean safe energy.

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