They caught him red handed. The video leaves no doubt about it. Interim East Carolina Chancellor Dan Gerlach got caught trying to dance. Those moves were virtually criminal. He made Steve Martin in “The Jerk” look like Fred Astair.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Gerlach had the audacity to go into a bar and have a drink with ECU students. That’s right. He was actually connecting and socializing with members of the student body instead of reserving that right for the big donors and muckety-mucks who confine themselves to cocktail parties. The man is nothing but a damn commoner.
Also, he was in a place called Sup Dogs. What kind of name is that? Sounds like a bar in a damn college town. What have we come to?
Thank goodness the UNC system is taking a stand for decency. They’ve suspended Gerlach until an investigation can be completed. When this thing’s over I hope they can get Gerlach the dancing lessons he needs. And I hope somebody video tapes them, too.
The whole episode reminded me of the old joke, Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up? People might think they were dancing.
Seriously, what the hell? Nobody accused Gerlach of doing anything inappropriate. The students love him. The faculty likes him. The alumni respect him. They don’t care that he can’t dance.
It’s really hard to take the UNC administration seriously these days. One ECU alumnus speculated that the whole episode is a smear campaign because Gerlach announced that he’s seeking the job permanently. Among members of the hyper-partisan Board of Governors, that doesn’t sit too well since Gerlach once served as a budget analyst for Democratic Governor Mike Easley.
Gerlach survived this long in this political atmosphere because he’s more committed to North Carolina than any partisan agenda. He ran the Golden Leaf Foundation so well that he earned respect from both Democrats and Republicans. They appointed him interim chancellor at ECU because of his abilities. He’s had nothing but rave reviews since he got there.
If the episode is a hit job, Republicans in the legislature and the Board of Governors ought to come to Gerlach’s aid. They’ve made very few good decisions trying to govern our university system. Appointing Gerlach interim chancellor at ECU was one of them. They should stand by him and reject this petty nonsense. Otherwise, they’re the ones who will look foolish yet again.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >