As an alum of UNC Chapel Hill, I have been following the efforts made by the UNC Board of Governors to bar the UNC Center for Civil Rights from extending legal services to marginalized North Carolinians, most of whom are poor and black.
Two events this month evidenced the sinister nature of the Board of Governors’ offensive against the CCR. Board member Marty Kotis’ attempt to sneak the ban through an unscheduled vote on the conference call of the Educational Policy Committee is a clear sign that good intentions are not at the fore for those committed to incapacitating the center. Then, the next day we learned that Steven Long, the BOG member who put forth the proposal to stop the center from litigating, asked the N.C. Pork Council to write to the BOG about the center It’s clear that Long knew the letter would be negative. Perhaps Long’s action doesn’t meet the criteria for a legal conflict of interest, but it certainly is an ethical one.
That the Pork Council “disagrees” with Center for Civil Rights lawyers that the hog industry has wronged the center’s clients – communities harmed by that industry – points to the importance, not the pitfalls, of its work.