I’ve got an idea. How about Tom Ross stays president of the University of North Carolina and the whole UNC Board of Governors resigns? After all, they freely admit that Ross has done nothing wrong and yet they clearly have. We need a functioning board, not a new president. The only people incompetent here are the members of the BOG. They, not Ross, are the ones who need to go.
Not only have they embarrassed the state and scared off anybody of Tom Ross’ stature to run our university system, they’ve sat silently by while the legislature passes budgets that hurt the university. North Carolina is one of only eight states that cut higher education last year. Pat McCrory and the legislature have cut per pupil spending at the university by 25%.
During that same period, tuition has increased by 34%. The GOP is starving schools while making students, many from families still suffering from the effects of the recession, pay more. At the same time that the GOP is telling schools to cut their budgets and students to fork over more money, they’re squandering the surplus they bragged about on tax cuts for the rich.
You would think we would hear a howl of protest from Board members. Not a peep. Instead, we hear all these platitudes about how much they love the university. But they don’t. They may love their stature as board members of a prestigious university. They may truly love their basketball and football tickets. They may even have fond memories of their time in college, at least the ones smart enough to go. But they don’t love the university system. If they did, they would stand up to defend it. If they can’t do that, then they should step down for the good of the system and call on all of their colleagues to follow suit because they’ve made an utter mess of things.
The legislature has done long term damage to the university and I doubt they are finished. The Board of Governors has added to that injury in their firing of Tom Ross and their buffoonish attempt to replace him. It’s their job to stand up for the university, not roll over for the legislature. They’ve failed miserably. If we could really run government like a business, everybody on the BOG would be fired.
So for once, BOG members, do something right. Step down now, if not in shame and embarrassment, then in protest. You’ve clearly failed to protect the integrity of the university and refused to defend it against legislative abuse. You look like fools and tools. Walk away.
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 >