State House, Senate makes UNC Board of Governor appointments

Mar. 21, 2013 @ 08:13 PM

Democratic leaders expressed disappointment Thursday over state Republican’s partisan appointments to the UNC Board of Governors, the 32-member governing board of the 17-campus university system.

Leaders said the 16 appointments – eight by the state House and eight by the state Senate -- lacked ethnic, gender and political diversity.

 “It’s disappointing that we didn’t get the type of diversity in reference to political affiliation and ethnic and gender diversity needed to represent the system,” said Sen. Malcolm Graham, D-Charlotte. 

And some said they fear Republican-controlled General Assembly will make similar partisan appointments when it’s time to appoint citizens to serve on a university’s board of trustees.

“If that theory holds true, anybody who is not a Republican can forget about getting anywhere,” said Rep. Mickey Michaux, a Durham Democrat.

The 16 people appointed to the Board of Governors on Wednesday are mostly white, mostly male and mostly Republican.

When Democrats held the majority in the legislature, Michaux said the party leadership routinely consulted with their Republican counterparts before making appointments to the board.

“We would put at least two Republicans on the board each year,” Michaux said. “We would always support them without any problem. We were not afforded the same consideration.”

None of the eligible board members, including two African Americans who applied for reappointment, were chosen to serve another four-year term.

Board member Dudley Flood is ineligible for reappointment because he has served three consecutive terms and Laura Buffaloe was not expected to seek reappointment due to health reasons.

But the two black board members --Walter Davenport and Franklin McCain -- did seek appointment but were not chosen.

Davenport is a CPA from Raleigh and McCain a civil rights icon who was one of four N.C. A&T University students who launched a sit-in at Woolworth’s lunch counter to protest segregation.

In an interview this week, McCain said he feels strongly that the board needs African Americans to speak, in particularly, on behalf of the state’s Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCUs).

“I would like to have people around that table who have experience and relationships with HBCUs,” McCain said. “I don’t doubt that some of the people selected have an interest in those schools, but I suspect they do not have the insight that someone who has attended an HBCU might have.”
It was unclear Thursday exactly how many of the people appointed Wednesday are African American, but some placed the number at two.

Michaux and Graham agreed with McCain that racial diversity is important for a board that oversees five historically black schools that serve nearly 34,800 students.

“I think that’s critically important,” Graham said, noting that he has two daughters who attend HBCU’s and that he is a graduate of a historically black college.

The eight people appointed by the Senate are:

- William M. Kotis III of Summerfield, a commercial real estate investor and restaurateur with Kotis Properties, Inc.

- Scott Lampe of Davidson, vice president and chief financial officer for Hendrick Motorsports.

- Steven B. Long of Raleigh, a tax attorney and partner with Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein, LLP.

- Joan G. MacNeill of Webster, a retired entrepreneur and nurse.

- Therence O. Pickett of Greensboro, vice president, general counsel and secretary at Volvo Group North America, LLC and Mack Trucks Inc.

- Robert Sterling Rippy of Wilmington, the owner and president of Jungle Rapids.

- Harry Leo Smith Jr. of Greenville, chief executive officer of Flanders Corporation.

- John Craig Souza of Raleigh, president and chief executive officer of the N.C. Health Care Facilities Association.

The eight appointed by the House are:

-- Rodney Hood of Durham, a director at JP Morgan Chase.

-- Henry Williams Hinton of Greenville, president and general manager of Inner Banks Media.

-- W.G. Champion Mitchell of New Bern, a retired attorney and CEO.

-- Laura I. Wiley of High Point, a House member from 2005-2011.

-- R. Doyle Parrish of Raleigh, CEO of Summit Hospitality Group.

-- Roger Aiken of Alexander, who works for Wells Fargo Advisors.

-- Dr. Joan Templeton Perry of Kinston, a pediatrician.

-- George A. Sywassink Jr., a business executive from Charlotte, who also serves on the board of directors for the Appalachian State University Foundation.

Sywassink was appointed Thursday after the House ballots were recounted due to an adding error.

James E. “Jim” Nance of Albemarle, a former dealer and president of Confederate Motors, Inc., had been named to the board but was replaced by Sywassink after it was determined Sywassink received more votes.