Changing of the guard at UNC Board of Governors

Aug. 08, 2013 @ 07:44 PM

The UNC Board of Governors added 16 new members to its ranks on Thursday, one of the largest additions in recent memory to the 32 member governing board of the state’s university system.

The newest members, all appointed by the state’s Republican-led General Assembly, joined 12 members appointed last year to give the board a totally new feel and look.

Board Chairman Peter Hans said the unprecedented changing of the guard presents the board with many opportunities.

“We have a young and dynamic board,” Hans said. “We’re full of energy and ideas.”

Hans added that the people appointed to the board care deeply about the university system and North Carolina.

“They are willing to assert themselves,” Hans said. “They are willing to strengthen all that is great about this remarkable institution and they are willing to act when the choice is clearly for change.”

Hans warned that the process of governing won’t always be genteel. He said he expects board members to ask probing questions and to receive thorough answers.

“I encourage healthy debate and challenging conventional wisdom,” Hans said. “Our friends in the press and other observers should not interpret this as dissention because these are among the signs of an effective and engaged board. No groupthink. No sacred cows.”

With Han’s opening remarks as a backdrop, the board dived into the day’s business, which included a quarterly update on the system’s five-year strategic plan.

While the system had hoped for more state support to fund elements of the plan, the legislature authorized they system to spend up to $15 million on strategic directions. Ross is opting to only spend $3 million on the plan that seeks to boost degree attainment in the state to 32 percent by 2018. 

General administration staffers also gave an update on the system’s Campus Security Initiative that will include three work groups focusing on campus public safety operations, public disclosure of security and crime information and policies an process for to responding to alleged offenses.

Ross announced the initiative in June to determine whether the university system is on target in addressing allegations of sexual assault, harassment and violent crimes.

He said it was in part a response to the sexual assault conversation which dominated the headlines at UNC Chapel Hill and other universities across the country last spring.

At UNC, accusations that the university violated the rights of sexual assault victims and created a hostile environment for students who reported sexual assaults has caused the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education to launch three  investigations. 

Elizabeth City State University also found itself in the news over its handling of alleged sexual assaults after an investigation by local police found that campus police didn’t investigate 126 reported crimes, including several alleged sexual assaults.
The discovery led to the resignation of the police chief and the retirement of the university’s chancellor.
The full board meets today.