North Carolina governor Roy Cooper has announced the formation of a new commission to reform the governance of the University of North Carolina system. Cooper, a Democrat, established the commission via executive order and made the announcement flanked by two former leaders of the system.
While Cooper praised North Carolina’s universities, he also referenced recent scandals.
“Unfortunately, a spate of controversies over the last few years has led to concerns that boards plagued by undue political influence and bureaucratic meddling hinder effective university governance. Instability and political interference can have significant impacts on campus leadership, turnover and academic experience for students, and can threaten the university’s reputation and the state’s economy and communities,” Cooper said in a news release.
Asserting that Republicans have too much power over UNC governance, Cooper signed an executive order to form a commission that will consider making recommendations on appointment reform.
Former UNC system presidents Tom Ross and Margaret Spellings will co-chair the commission.
However, the commission likely faces an uphill battle, considering that the 23 members of the UNC System Board of Governors are selected by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. A legislative staffer in the Speaker of the House’s office tweeted that efforts to change the UNC system’s governance structure would be “DOA,” or dead on arrival.
Current UNC system president Peter Hans told The Charlotte Observer in a statement that “disagreements over policy and governance are a fact of life, and we welcome public interest and accountability, as the University of North Carolina’s fundamentals have never been stronger.”