Friday, February 20, 2015

UNC Board of Governors: Foxes shouldn't guard the hen house?

It’s probably not right to compare the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system to a hen house but when some people talk about the role of the Board of Governors in governing the system, it’s obvious “some people” want foxes out front. Reading the writings of students, faculty and staff about how to operate the system can lead one to think that way. Students, faculty and staff should be able to have input, to voice opinions, but then the BOG needs to do what it desires, even if that’s unseating a UNC President who has done nothing wrong except to be hired by Democrats.

It used to be that the President of the UNC system was strong and had the political ties to keep the BOG at bay (that’s how Bill Friday survived and the system flourished under his empire because his friends in high places trusted him to spend the money correctly). The BOG now is much more politicized and political in the transition of the make-up of the General Assembly from a majority of Democrats to a greater presence of Republicans. The difference in the two is that the Democrats prefer to throw money at education with the reasoning that more money means better education while Republicans believe the system is bloated in many ways and that a leaner University (less money; fewer administrators; maybe fewer campuses) will lead to a more responsive educational model while keeping the respect of the system high. Of course, there are a lot of students, faculty and staff who don’t see it that way.

The political march continues with new BOG members soon to make their way through the General Assembly appointive process. Some candidates actually campaign for the position for no reason other than to add the BOG tenure to a resume. Some of these candidates and eventual appointees have no business being on the BOG, not because they aren’t educators but because they have no clue about their responsibility to keep the UNC System strong, even through budget cuts. They just want the position for the perks, whatever they are.

While being appointed to the BOG is prestigious to some, the nomination process should move to the Boards of Trustees of the 17 campuses with each BOT submitting three names to the General Assembly and with the GA required to appoint at least one of the three, giving each of the 17 campuses at least one representative on the BOG. The remaining 15 selections should also come from those 51 names, giving the citizens of North Carolina a BOG that understands educational governance, especially if the nominees have served on one of the Board of Trustees. The present system is better than to let the students, faculty and staff of the 17 campuses tell the BOG what to do, but the present system can also be better.
-------------------- word of the day
doggo (adverb) [daw-goh, dog-oh]: in concealment; out of sight

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