RALEIGH (June 1, 2023) – The UNC Board of Governors adopted a new policy on searches for campus chancellors last week that gets rid of one bad policy the Board adopted three years ago.
But the new policy seems part of an ongoing move to concentrate control of UNC campuses with the UNC System Office and System President Peter Hans in Raleigh.
Under a policy adopted in 2020, the System President could recommend two candidates in a chancellor search, and one of them must be among the finalists recommended to the President by the campus Board of Trustees.1
That policy was never put to use, but Board of Governors members eventually realized such an arrangement could create conflicts between the System President and the local Board of Trustees.
There could well be conflicts over the new policy, though. It places the System President and members of the Board of Governors in much more prominent roles in the search process:
- The President, in consultation with the Chair of the campus Board of Trustees, would appoint a search committee with no more than 13 members. (Such committees are currently appointed by the Chair of the Board of Trustees.)
- The President or his designee, the Chair of the Board of Governors or his designee, and the campus liaison from the Board of Governors would be voting members of the search committee.2
- The committee would have to include members of the Board of Trustees, the faculty, students, staff and alumni.
- The committee must also include a current or retired chancellor from a UNC System campus.
- The President, in consultation with the trustees’ chair, would name the chair of the search committee.
- The UNC System Office would carry out the search.
- No serving member of the Board of Governors or Board of Trustees can be named interim chancellor or chancellor unless they first resign from the board.
- After receiving a report from the search committee, the Board of Trustees would continue to recommend at least three finalists to the System President for consideration. This is consistent with current policy.
- After interviews and background checks, the President can either recommend one finalist to the Board of Governors for approval or return the slate of finalists to the Board of Trustees.3
“Per state statute and university policy, chancellors are directly accountable not only to local authorities – the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and student governance groups, and other entities – but to the President and the Board of Governors,” Board of Governors member David Powers, who spearheaded a seven-month effort to revise the policy, wrote in his 13-page report.
Citing The Code of the Board of Governors, Powers wrote, “The president ‘shall have complete authority to manage the affairs and execute the policies of the University of North Carolina and its constituent institutions, subject to the direction and control of the Board of Governors and the provisions of The Code.’”4
REPUBLICANS have preached a doctrine of “local control” for decades. Yet the new search policy flies directly in the face of that rhetoric.
By strictly limiting the size of search committees and specifying that the President, two Board of Governors members and an experienced chancellor be on each committee, it dilutes the influence of critical members of those campus communities: Faculty. Staff. Students. Alumni.
And it’s all about control. It’s completely consistent with legislative directives to move the UNC System Office to Raleigh – just across the street from the General Assembly – and house it in what is now estimated to be a $400 million “Education Campus.”5
So much for “local control.”
1 https://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/bog/doc.php?id=67321&code=bog, pp. 13-14.
2 https://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/bog/doc.php?id=67321&code=bog, p. 18.
3 https://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/bog/doc.php?id=67321&code=bog, pp. 16-22.
4 https://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/bog/doc.php?id=67321&code=bog, p. 11.