I see the Mayor is getting out his signs again this year. This is a welcome sight because he deserves another term for...

Politics damaging UNC system


Tom Campbell


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sometimes it is hard finding truth. That’s where I am regarding the UNC Board of Governors.

Three top officials within the University of North Carolina System have resigned or been fired this year. The UNC Board of Governors either instigated these departures or has shown little remorse for them. Its chairman has had a running feud with the chancellor at East Carolina University and appears heavily involved with the firing of Chancellor Cecil Staton, even though Harry Smith denied he had any involvement.

I told one BOG member it appeared the board is out of control. Not so, was the response, followed by defenses for all three departures. Former President Margaret Spellings had done a terrible job of managing the system and was undermining the board behind the scenes. Not only had UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt been ineffective in managing the academic scandal she inherited, she had made it worse. Besides, her handing of the Silent Sam controversy was a disaster. ECU’s Staton was the worst, I was told. Enrollments are down, the university is in financial trouble, a $60 million expansion of the football stadium was plagued with problems and that doesn’t even speak to the poor performance of the former athletic director and head football coach.

Implied is that just about everything that happened prior to this board’s arrival was wrongheaded, incompetently managed or antithetical to the university’s mission. Previous Boards of Governors failed miserably in performing oversight duties. Additionally, university administrations and faculties have become so left-wing liberal as to poison educational integrity. And the BOG chair is providing sound and proper leadership and supported by the board. Sometimes you have to break something to fix it. Opponents don’t know the facts and are mostly liberals. Thank heavens this current board had arrived to rescue our faltering system. It has done some really positive things, like NC Promise and halting big tuition increases.

Legislative leaders obviously agree. Both houses just named their new BOG members and, in a “vote of confidence,” 10 of the 12 elected are holdovers. Of the 24 BOG members only six are women, only four are minorities; there might be one or two Democrats and an unaffiliated voter or two among them. Mostly it’s older Republican white men.

There is a completely opposite narrative coming from a growing group of business leaders, former BOG members, education leaders and concerned citizens. These bipartisan citizens say this current board is all about politics and intent on kicking trash cans and turning over just about everything, whether working or not, in their desire to create dissension, dysfunction and the dismantlement of our “crown jewel.” They say board members are spreading repeated lies in to support their agenda and they are pushing for the ouster of the chairman, a reformed selection process and a return to civility and cooperation in working for the betterment of our 16 campuses.

Which of these two is right? Call me a doubting Thomas, but I started being concerned when President Tom Ross was summarily fired for no other apparent reason other than he was a Democrat. I can accept that fresh eyes can see things that can be improved, but a lot of what is happening seems to be change for the sake of change. I believe the truth is in here somewhere, but the situation has become so heated and politicized as to be hard to see the truth. I admit to leaning more in favor of the group critical of our current board.

The one clear truth is that it is dangerous for us to politicize our universities.

Tom Campbell is former assistant state treasurer and host of NC SPIN at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on UNC-TV. Contact him at www.ncspin.com.


Humans of Greenville


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

Op Ed

September 05, 2019

The year was 1990. While serving as pastor of a church in Greensboro, I became involved in a ministry to the most vulnerable.

At the time, North Carolina was at the top of the list when it came to infant mortality. Politicians who ran a strong anti-abortion campaign in the name of…


August 25, 2019

The travel and tourism industry is one of the most mid-understood industries across our nation despite its huge contribution to the national economy.

The United States Travel Association reported that $1.1 trillion was spent by travelers to the U.S. in 2018, resulting in a $2.5 trillion output…


August 24, 2019

As North Carolina teachers start to return to classrooms, they will undoubtedly have a lot on their minds to prepare for a new academic year. Fortunately, they will no longer have to worry about the status of their in-network health care coverage for 2020 under the State Health Plan.

Thanks to the…


August 24, 2019

If you come to the end of the year and you’ve got surplus money in the bank what do you do? This seldom happens in most homes, but would you spend it? Save it? Or, with a government, would you return some of it to the people who sent it? That’s the option Senate President Pro Tem Phil…

August 21, 2019

For many parents, August is a month of both pride and tears. Pride because their teenager is taking that big educational step and tears because for many it's the beginning of an empty nest. Yet, there's a going-away-to-college question that far too few parents ask or even contemplate: What will my…

Walter Williams

August 18, 2019

I have had the distinct honor and privilege of leading the Greenville VA Health Care Center as the Administrator and Associate Administrator since November 2016.

Over the past two and a half years, I have enjoyed working all of the veterans and staff members as we grew together, overcame obstacles,…


July 23, 2019

Since being sworn in January, I have been working hard to help the people I represent in Lenoir and Pitt counties — and the biggest opportunity to do this has been through the state budget. I’ve talked with elected officials, educators, administrators, nonprofits, business owners,…


July 12, 2019

Over the past three years, I have had the good fortune to work on a project that has the potential to transform the farming landscape in eastern North Carolina, one that involves harnessing gas produced from hog waste.

As CEO and founder of OptimaBio, our work with Smithfield Foods to capture…


July 01, 2019

The American system of checks and balances government does not work the way most people think it does or the way the Founding Fathers said it would.

The president serves at the pleasure of Congress, just as the prime minister of the UK serves at the pleasure of Parliament, which means that the…


June 26, 2019

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls are calling for Americans to make reparations for slavery. On June 19, the House judiciary subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights and civil liberties held a hearing. Its stated purpose was "to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the…

Walter Williams
51 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 6
        Next Page»   Last Page»