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Thorp Blasts UNC Governance

By Ran Northam Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

CHAPEL HILL – Outgoing UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp blasted the UNC system of governance, saying it is driven by politics and entrenched stakeholders who don’t want to give up their jobs. In a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner, he said that puts UNC at a competitive disadvantage.

***Listen to Part VI of the Interview***

“Would you change the governance process at the University,” Heavner asked.

“Oh yes I would,” Chancellor Thorp replied. “I think we have the most complicated, convoluted governance system. I’m sure in 1971 when Mr. Friday devised the whole thing, it made perfect sense. But to have two governing boards, both politically appointed—and I don’t think there’s anything you can do about the fact that in a public university you’re going to have a politically-appointed board—but to have two boards where there’s always debate and some confusion about where the authority lies makes it very, very hard figure out the right course of action.”

“If you take the president plus the two boards, the chancellor works for 45 politically-appointed people,” Chancellor Thorp said. “Private universities have large boards, but they’re not politically appointed, and some of them serve for a long time, so they develop a lot of expertise about the university.”

Chancellor Thorp says he sees a simple solution, but it’s one about which he’s not optimistic.

“If I had the ability to change the system, I think we ought to go to a system where the chancellor just works for one board,” Chancellor Thorp said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen, because it would displace people who are in roles that they sought deliberately. But, yes, I think that puts North Carolina at a competitive disadvantage compared to states where the president and chancellor is either working for just a campus board or just a system board.”

The interview will be played in its entirety Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

 To read about and hear part five, click here.

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