Loading...
BYH Zoning Commission. Take your chairs and sit in the field by Bostic Sugg in morning or afternoon and tell the...

Spellings deserved better

Loading…

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bill Friday was right. Friday, the founding president of the 16 campus University of North Carolina System, fought with then-Gov. Bob Scott in 1971 over the creation of the new system.

Friday recounted the fight in 2010, in an interview with me in front of an audience for NC SPIN’s 600th show. Scott advocated for a 32-member governing board with strong centralized power. Friday agreed the board should have central power but insisted that existing university trustees and campuses have say-so as to how the board was constituted. Gov. Scott, determined to have his way, gave the legislature a plum by telling them they could appoint the new 32-member board if they would pass his plan.

Friday strongly opposed it, but this was one battle he lost. In 1971, and again in 2010, he was adamant this structure had huge disadvantages. He believed the legislature didn’t have the necessary expertise to appoint the board, that just gaining enough votes from the House or Senate didn’t give anyone the qualifications needed to make policy decisions for a statewide university system and that the temptation of injecting politics into university policymaking was too great and certain to occur.

Friday’s prescient forecast has become reality. What we are now witnessing is embarrassing, distracting from the goals of our system and further proof that North Carolina’s governance of all levels of public education needs fixing.

Margaret Spellings was hired after a newly reconstituted Board of Governors surreptitiously fired Tom Ross as president, saying there was no problem with Ross’ performance, they just wanted a change. In other words, the firing was political. The search for a new president was equally controversial. Spellings, who had been George Bush’s secretary of education, came to Chapel Hill amidst this controversy. Legislative leaders didn’t want her and the BOG, which has increasingly become a rubber stamp for the legislature, often exceeds its mandate of setting policy by attempting to run the system.

As relationships grew more tense it was speculated Spellings would fulfill her five-year contract, then leave. The breaking point may have come in September, when Spellings and then-Board of Governors Chairman Lou Bissette wrote a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper, asking the state’s help with increased security because of a potentially dangerous confrontation at a protest planned for Silent Sam the next night. The letter further suggested that Cooper convene the N.C. Historical Commission to determine the future of the statue, as prescribed by law. Fifteen of the 28 members of the board lashed out in criticizing her. Subsequent events proved Spellings’ concerns were justified.

Margaret Spellings just couldn’t take it any longer and looked for an escape, applying to become president of the University of Texas. When she didn’t get that appointment, she decided enough was enough and resigned. Board member Steve Long summed up the situation, “I do believe that the leadership of our board has gotten too involved in the management of the university in certain cases and that’s why Margaret Spellings is leaving. I feel like we’ve lost a great leader, and if she had been given greater authority, full authority to run the university, she would stay.”

President Spellings clearly articulated the goals for our universities and took positive steps to lower costs for a college education. She has done a commendable job. Margaret Spellings deserved better. So did Tom Ross. And so do the people of North Carolina.

Tom Campbell is former assistant state treasurer and creator and host of NC SPIN, a statewide panel discussion that airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on UNC-TV and 10 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday on the North Carolina Channel.Contact him at www.ncspin.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

February 18, 2019 - 27 minutes ago

I was born in Charlotte. But I grew up in rural Mecklenburg County. There used to be such a place — and, indeed, quite a few such places still exist in our increasingly urbanized state.

My family lived on 40 acres, mostly forest with a freight-rail track running through it. When the train…

john hood.jpg

February 18, 2019 - 27 minutes ago

 

It snowed on Amy Klobuchar as she announced her run for president. And while that might be a bad omen for some candidates, the icy weather accurately symbolizes her appeal.

The Minnesota Democrat, just elected to a third Senate term, portrays herself as a common-sense pragmatist from a blue-…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

February 17, 2019

If the most important factor determining the welfare of workers is the growth rate of the economy, that has policy implications that free-market conservatives, among others, will welcome.

Real, long-term economic growth is about investment, about both the amount invested and how skillfully it is…

john hood.jpg

February 17, 2019

Would you like to know why U.S. sanctions against companies owned by Russian billionaire and businessman Oleg Deripaska are being lifted?

You are the reason.

Me too.

And so is everybody else who lives and votes in North Carolina.

Last April, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions against…

DGMartin.jpg

February 16, 2019

With confidence in government at record lows, where have all our leaders gone? Where is the James Madison of today, or the Thomas Jefferson, or even Everett Dirksen? He was the Republican leader who partnered with President Johnson to pass civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

These people were…

eleanorclift.jpg

February 15, 2019

The proposed DMV move brings to mind one of the old Three Stooges comedies, the one where one of the zany trio says, “I’ve cut this board three times and it’s still too short.” Our state continues to take cuts at property decisions and keeps coming up short.

State political…

Tom Campbell

February 15, 2019

On Bleecker Street in Manhattan, you can find both a Planned Parenthood clinic and a boutique for pregnant women.

According to Vogue, the store, Hatch, "is arguably the first of its kind, in that it was designed specifically for pregnant shoppers: Changing rooms have a size chart to help you figure…

kathrynlopez

February 15, 2019

The decision by Virginia's top three elected officials to hunker down and cling to their jobs is bad for both the state and the Democratic Party. If they won't go, the only thing to do is investigate them all.

Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring have all…

Eugene Robinson

February 14, 2019

Of all the headlines about the scandals concerning the alleged past sins of one after another high official in Virginia, one struck me most poignantly. It was this, from the front page of The Washington Times:

"Democrats to vet candidates closely for secrets in past."

Maybe I have spent too much…

February 13, 2019

As our new legislative session fully uncoils, it's good to recall that just a few weeks ago workers in 20 states saw an increase in the minimum wage. The federal minimum, $7.25, was last raised in 2009. Since then, 29 states and dozens of cities and counties have chosen to exceed the federal floor.…

Gene Nichol
317 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 32
        Next Page»   Last Page»