Tom Ross Named Sanford Fellow At Duke

UNC System President Emeritus Tom Ross has been named as the first Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work on important policy issues with the outstanding faculty, staff and students at the Sanford School,” said Ross. “It is particularly meaningful to me to serve as the first Sanford Distinguished Fellow and to be associated with such a great university.”

Ross will work with the Center for Politics, Leadership, Innovation and Service, to launch a bipartisan project aimed at improving how political district lines are drawn in the United States.

He will start February 1 and will continue at least through the spring semester, according to Duke University.

“We are delighted to welcome a person of Tom’s stature and experience to Sanford,” said Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School. “The school is working on a number of projects to enhance our impact in North Carolina, and with Tom’s decades of experience in public service, he will provide important guidance for that effort.”

Ross remains a tenured faculty member at UNC and plans to return to the School of Government there after a one-year sabbatical.

Tom Ross Honored By Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber

Former UNC system president Tom Ross was given the Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce during its Annual Meeting on Tuesday.

As the event’s keynote speaker, Ross delivered a speech on the value of higher education.

“Today it’s my fear that colleges and universities in this country are considered increasingly as nothing more than factories that must demonstrate an immediate return on investment,” he said. “We hear constantly, calls to drive out cost and to produce more product for less cost. There’s far less talk about academic quality and excellence.”

He said if nothing else, North Carolinians should care about higher education because of the economic benefits it brings to the state. Ross said the 9.3 billion dollar budget makes the university system the 11th largest industry in the state.

“In 2013, the UNC System creates 27.9 billion dollars of added economic value to the North Carolina economy,” he said. “It has the equivalent impact of creating more than 426,000 jobs.”

Ross said he was concerned with what he called the divestment in education and said this has led to other nations and other states catching up to the UNC system.

“We now spend two percent more on higher education in real dollars than we did 25 years ago,” he said. “During that same time period our enrollment has grown 60 percent. We’re spending more than 30 percent less per student today than we did 25 years ago in this country.”

Ross ended his speech by calling on residents of North Carolina to make their voices heard and tell their representatives that they want to increase funding for the system.

He also encouraged people to vote in favor of the Connect NC Bond, which will invest nearly half of the two billion dollars raised in the UNC System.

“So if I’m right, we must reverse the 25 year trend and begin investing again in our public universities,” he said.

Tom Ross’ Speech at Chamber Annual Meeting 1.26.16

BOG Takes 1st Step to Replacing President Ross

The first step in determining the next President of the UNC System was taken by the Board of Governors on Wednesday.

Tom Ross is scheduled to leave that position in January of next year, following a decision by the BOG.

A nine-member nomination committee was unveiled during a conference call. That committee will nominate members to three committees that will be involved in the search process.

Those committees will consist of a leadership statement committee, a screening committee, and a search committee.

The leadership statement portion will involve campus leaders to put forward a description of the qualities the board is looking for in the next University System President.

From there, the screening committee will wade through applications.

The search committee will have the most influence in the process, including hiring a search consultant.

Nominations to each committee will likely come at the next Board of Governor’s meeting on April 10 in Greenville, on the campus of East Carolina University.

UNC School of Government Aims to Prove Worth to New Board of Governors Leadership

There have been ripple effects emanating through the UNC campus following news that Tom Ross would be transitioning out of his role as President of the University System over the next year.

One UNC branch of note in this discussion is the School of Government. Tom Ross held a position as a member of the faculty, at the then-named Institute of Government, after graduating from the UNC School of Law in 1975. And Ross has been a proponent of the school during his time guiding the university system.

Tom Thornburg, Senior Associate Dean of the School of Government, says what they bring to the table is unique from the rest of UNC.

“We provide training for officials,” he says. “For example, when there are new mayors, we invite them to school and do training there.”

Beyond the on-campus training, the School of Government offers ongoing advising to newly-elected officials as they come upon new experiences. And the school conducts research intended to help those officials better serve their communities.

In addition to working with elected officials, Thornburg says the school also offers a graduate-level program.

“We do work with graduate students. We have a program for Master of Public Administration students,” he says. “That program is here, in part, because many of those people will graduate and then go work in government.”

But the School of Government does not offer any undergraduate programs. With new leadership coming to the Board of Governors, it is possible that undergraduate programs may be in line for more funding than graduate-level work.

Thornburg says, because the school’s work does not line up with traditional classes on campus, it has always been a priority to prove the school’s worth when budget cuts are discussed.

“An important job for us, always, is showing officials [at UNC and with the University System] the work we do, helping them understand how it’s different from other parts of the university, and helping them understand that it’s important to the university,” he says. “We don’t expect that piece to change with what’s going on with the Presidency.”

President Ross will be heading the University System until January 3, 2016, or until a successor is found, whichever is later.

Following his tenure, Ross will have a year of paid research, according to his contract, before having a permanently-tenured professorship at the UNC School of Government.

Thornburg says they would be thrilled to have President Ross back on their roster.

“I expect someone like President Ross will have other opportunities,” he says. “But we would certainly welcome him back to our faculty.”

Thornburg adds the School of Government reaches 10,000 – 15,000 elected officials with the training they offer.

Welcome Chancellor Folt

From Maria Palmer.

Last weekend I participated in the innagural WW Finlator Lectures in Faith & Social Justice at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. The church Bill Finlator pastored for 3 decades celebrated his legacy as one of the great American prophets of the 20th Century. Thank you, Pullen, for an inspiring weekend and for reminding us that we have so much work to do.

It is easy for us privileged Chapel Hillians to think that our actions are always consistent with the highest ethical standards. We don’t break the law. We recycle. We donate money to great causes. I am sure, many of us also pray for justice and for the poor on a regular basis.

But justice is NOT like the climate, something we can call “an act of God.” Justice (or injustice) is the result of our collective decisions. Bill Finlator reminded us that the Bible calls us to DO justice. When we fail to protect women and girls from sexual violence; when one third of our county’s residents are low-income and thousands are uninsured; when one in five children in Orange Co. are living in poverty, I think we may be failing to DO justice.

As we welcome Chancellor Carol Folt, I take hope. After all, UNC president Tom Ross has said she meets his criteria of “unwavering integrity” and somewone who will “always stand for what is right.”

What is right, Dr. Folt, is leading UNC and the community in doing justice. What is right, is paying UNC workers a living wage, what is right is protecting women—students and employees—against abuse and sexual violence. What is right is celebrating and thanking whistle-blowers, not harassing or firing them. They are the heroes who will make our University great. What is right is mobilizing the brain power of our expert Educators to close the achievement gap in our schools. What is right is giving the children of our lowest-paid workers access to the resources of our great university for tutoring, to attend summer programs and enrichment opportunities that bring wealthy children from across the US to our campus. What is right is giving poor children in our community the help they need so that they can attend UNC, not because they pulled themselves up but their non-existent bootstraps, but because the University refused to stand by while children of color are channeled into a permanent underclass. What is right, Dr. Folt, is to find a way to provide adequate health care and transportation for the workers in this community that will make it possible for you to do great things.

Chancellor Folt. Welcome to Chapel Hill. We expect great things from you!

Letter to all UNC faculty about Paul Frampton

As most of you know, Paul Frampton, the Louis D. Rubin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UNC, has been in prison in Argentina since January 23, 2012 on drug charges.

As more information about his case becomes available, such as the July 22 article in the Argentine newspaper Clarin, it becomes more and more obvious that Paul was the innocent, although very gullible, victim of a scam.

Paul left the U.S. in January, believing that his one scheduled Spring class, a graduate course with just one enrolled student, would be canceled because of failure to meet the minimum enrollment requirement. He was expecting to return within a few days with a woman he was to meet in Bolivia. Since he expected to be away only a short time, he left his car parked at RDU airport.

On February 17, 2012 the Provost, Bruce Carney, sent Paul a letter informing him that his salary would be stopped until he could reassume his duties as a faculty member. Paul has hired a Chapel Hill lawyer, Barry Nakell, to help him get his salary back. Several days ago Paul told one of us that he expects to run out of money roughly by September. He has been in prison 192 days and
has no idea when his trial will actually occur. He has published six refereed journal articles since the beginning of 2012, and continues to supervise his two PhD students by phone.

We are writing to express our strong objections to UNC’s decision to stop Paul’s salary, and to alert the faculty to actions taken by the University that we believe should be of great concern to all UNC faculty.

The first and main objection is that, in view of Paul’s over thirty years of distinguished service to this University, and considering his present circumstances in Argentina, the decision to stop his salary is inhumane. Without his salary, Paul is unable to hire a private lawyer to defend himself.

His current lawyer is a public defender with a large caseload. Paul also needs money to buy himself decent food at the prison. Given the slowness and complexity of the Argentine legal system and the great difficulty of finding any way to influence the progress of Paul’s case, paying Paul is perhaps the only way UNC can effectively help him. By not paying him, and thereby directly interfering
with his ability to properly defend and properly feed himself, the University is taking an action that may ultimately cause him grave harm. He is 68, an asthmatic, and has had pulmonary problems.

We also object to the manner in which Paul’s salary was suspended. Our intention here is not to present a legal case, but, to give one example, we call your attention to Chapter VI, section 603, of the Code of the University of North Carolina:

“The chief academic officer of the institution, however titled, shall send the faculty member a written notice of intention to discharge the faculty member or impose a serious sanction together with a written specification of the reasons. The notice and specification of reasons shall be sent by a method of mail or delivery that requires a signature for delivery. The statement shall include
notice of the faculty member’s right, upon request, to a hearing by an elected standing faculty committee on hearings.”

The February 17, 2012 letter in which the Provost notified Paul of the suspension of his salary failed to inform Paul of his right to a hearing, and there has been no hearing as stipulated in the Code. The Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, and Provost were informed about this omission in a letter dictated on the phone by Paul to one of us and emailed on July 23, 2012. In his February 17
letter to Paul, the Provost did not of course choose a phrasing of the following sort: “We hereby impose upon you the serious sanction of suspending your salary”. Instead, he chose the gentler phrasing: “Unfortunately, in consultation with Chancellor Thorp and President Ross, I must inform you that your absence from your duties requires you to take personal leave, which means that
after your salary payment on February 29, your salary will cease until such time as you are able to reassume your duties as a faculty member.”

Paul certainly has not taken a voluntary leave of absence. An important protection of our tenure system specifies that even where suspension is necessary, suspension shall be with full pay. By imposing a personal leave on Paul, the University is undermining this protection. No university should be able to stop a tenured faculty member’s pay simply by declaring him to be on personal leave, even over his objection.

Finally, we call your attention to the University’s more recent decision not to pay Paul his summer salary. This salary comes from a Department of Energy grant, and this decision was made by UNC in discussions with the DOE. Like many faculty Paul has no courses to teach or other duties that require his presence at UNC during the summer, and physicists often spend summers doing research far from their home campuses. It is well-established that Paul has continued to publish papers from prison and to supervise his students. So the argument of “absence from your duties” cited in the Provost’s letter clearly does not apply here.

We are all capable of making mistakes that can cause trouble serious enough to prevent us from performing all or part of our University duties for a time. Imagine that this happens to you after you have taught for years at UNC as a tenured faculty member. Given the precedent being set by the Frampton case, heaven help you.

If you share our concern and wish to add your name to this letter, a copy of which will be transmitted to the Chancellor and to the Provost, please let us know at

Additional information about Paul’s case and documents related to this letter are available on the webpage:


-Mark Williams, Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-Hugon Karwowski, Professor of Physics, UNC
-Jack Griffith, Kenan Professor, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC
-Gabriel Karl, University Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph, Canada, FRSC
-Patrick Eberlein, Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-Marcelo Ubriaco, Professor of Physics, University of Puerto Rico
-Sheldon Glashow, Higgins Professor of Physics Emeritus, Harvard University
-Arthur G.B. Metcalf Professor of Science and Mathematics, Boston University (Nobel Laureate)
-Karl Petersen, Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-C.K.R.T. Jones, Bill Guthridge Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-Gregory Forest, Grant Dahlstrom Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-Shrawan Kumar, J. R. and L. S. Parker Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-Alfred T. Goshaw, James B. Duke Professor of Physics, Duke University
-Eugen Merzbacher, Kenan Professor of Physics Emeritus, UNC
-Christian Iliadis, Professor of Physics, UNC
-James L. Peacock III, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, UNC
-Joseph F. Plante, Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., Kenan Professor of Computer Science, UNC
-Roberto Camassa, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, UNC
-Frank Avignone, Carolina Endowed Professor of Physics and Astronomy, USC
-Julia T. Wood, Lineberger Professor of Humanities Emerita and Royster Professor Emerita, Communication Studies, UNC
-Don Ellison, Professor of Physics, N.C. State
-J. Ross Macdonald, Kenan Professor of Physics Emeritus, UNC
-Fred Myhrer, Professor of Physics, USC
-Robert Scherrer, Professor of Physics and Department Chair, Vanderbilt
-Frank Tsui, Professor of Physics, UNC
-David Tanner, Distinguished Professor of Physics, University of Florida
-Valerie Lambert, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UNC
-Michael Rubinstein, John P. Barker Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, UNC
-Marshall Edgell, Kenan Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Emeritus, UNC
-Brian Stabler, Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, School of Medicine, UNC
-Charles M. van der Horst, Professor of Medicine, UNC
-Lishan Su, Professor of Immunology, UNC
-Amy Shaheen, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Medicine, UNC
-Steven L. Young, Associate Professor, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, UNC
-Amy K. Motl, Assistant Professor of Medicine, UNC Kidney Center, School of Medicine,UNC
-Randall Hendrick, Professor of Linguistics, UNC
-Jay M. Smith, Professor of History and Associate Chair, UNC
-Robert G. Dennis, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, UNC
-Andrew Myron Johnson, Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus, UNC
-Lawrence I. Gilbert, Kenan Professor of Biology Emeritus, UNC.
-Klaus M. Hahn, Thurman Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, UNC
-Edward L. Chaney, Professor Emeritus, Department of Radiation Oncology, UNC
-David Mora Marn, Associate Professor, Linguistics, UNC
-Stephen V. Frye, Ph.D., Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor, Division of Chemical Biology
and Medicinal Chemistry, and Director, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC
-Misha Becker, Associate Professor of Linguistics, UNC
-Stanley W. Black, Georges Lurcy Professor of Economics, Emeritus, UNC
-Marianne Gingher, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of English and Creative Writing, UNC
-Rita O’Sullivan, Associate Professor, School of Education, UNC
-Ofri Leitner, Certified Genetic Counselor, Clinical Assistant Professor of Genetics,UNC Cancer and Adult Genetics, UNC
-Tom Reinert, Associate Professor, English Department, UNC
-Edward T. Samulski, Cary C Boshamer Professor of Chemistry, UNC
-Amarjit Budhiraja, Professor, Department of Statistics and Operations Research, UNC
-Gregory W. Brown, Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Scholar of Finance, Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC
-T. Gary Bishop, Professor of Computer Science, UNC
-Marc Lange, Theda Perdue Distinguished Professor, Philosophy Department Chair, UNC
-Gary W. Marks, Chair in Multilevel Governance, VU Amsterdam, Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Political Science, UNC
-Maria Servedio, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, UNC
-Ana C. G. Felix, Assistant Professor, Neurology Clerkship Director, Department of Neurology, UNC
-Keith Burridge, Kenan Professor Cell and Developmental Biology, and Lineberger Comprehensive
Cancer Center, UNC

(sent August 1, 2012 to members of the UNC faculty)