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Lee Roberts, a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and a former Republican state official, has been named interim chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will replace Kevin Guskiewicz, who is leaving to lead Michigan State University.

Roberts, who runs a private investment firm, was appointed to the UNC Board of Governors in 2021 by the Republican-dominated General Assembly. From 2014 to 2016, he served as state budget director under Republican governor Pat McCrory.

According to his LinkedIn page, Roberts has taught classes at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy since 2020 but does not have administrative experience in higher education.

Roberts will take the helm at UNC Chapel Hill at a contentious time for higher education in the state. Democratic governor Roy Cooper has clashed with the General Assembly in recent months over the process for electing board members as well as a new law that will force public institutions to change accreditors every cycle. The UNC system board has also been mired in controversy over plans to create a new School of Civic Life and Leadership with seemingly little faculty input.

Roberts will step into the role on Jan. 12. A national search to find a chancellor to replace the departing Guskiewicz will be launched within the next few months, WRAL News reported.

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