No matter the claims otherwise, Tom Ross was fired from his position as President of the University of North Carolina system. He was fired by the Republican dominated UNC Board of Governors who didn’t want to wait for Ross to retire next year when he reaches the age of 65. To wait meant Ross would serve at least two more years, and that just wasn’t acceptable to the GOPers for fear of losing the power to appoint that position and to influence the direction of the UNC System.
The forced departure of Ross should not be a continuing issue for anyone. Politicians and academicians who belabor the situation need to look ahead and not back. There’s little reason to believe that the BOG will reverse the decision and keep Ross until he wants to leave on his own terms. Criticism in the public will diminish the Presidency and could hurt the hiring of his replacement, scaring away well-qualified candidates. Those who criticize instead of being constructive as the UNC System lives on will hurt their effort of installing someone who will lead the system to even greater heights.
The national search for a replacement has begun if only in the minds of the decision-makers, the members of the Board of Governors who will be looking at potential candidates but also charting their course for the 17 system campuses. This course may involve eliminating Elizabeth City State University which has longtime financial and academic issues (merge it with the College of the Albemarle community college), or the path could mean combining UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University which are only separated by a few miles. There’s more down-sizing available for a leaner but better UNC system.
As those who are upset simmer down, as the search begins, there’s a local choice that should be vetted immediately and then selected. He’s the Chancellor at NC State University, Dr. Randy Woodson, who is a business executive, an academician, a researcher, a politician in his own low-key way, and a very strong leader. Since arriving at NC State in 2010, he has quietly weathered the storm of budget cuts while leading NC State to greater heights. He has managed a highly-successful fund-raising effort during a time of economic down-turn and recovery, nearly doubling an endowment fund to over $900 million. He has kept NC State out of the spotlight of trouble. He has a national and international reputation as a superb University administrator. He would be a wonderful President of the UNC System and the BOG would be wise to place him at the top of the list of candidates. Woodson would be an excellent choice, non-political at that. He’s an “unaffiliated” registered voter. The only downfall is that NC State would lose a magnificent Chancellor.
Dictionary.com word of the day
afflated (adjective) [uh-fley-tid]: having inspiration; inspired