Holden Thorp Farewell Interview

CHAPEL HILL – In his ‘farewell tour’ before departing UNC for WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis, Chancellor Holden Thorp didn’t leave anything unsaid in an end-of-term interview with WCHL’s Jim Heavner.

With less than three months until his departure, he says he’s not afraid to be honest in expressing that Carolina still has a lot of problems in the way it governs its athletic program. He also blasted the UNC system when he said a change needs to be made in its two-board governing system calling it “complicated and convoluted.”

Campuses nationwide are being investigated for their handling of sexual assault cases, and UNC is on the list. Chancellor Thorp says he’s glad people are talking about it and from day one he’s been focused on increasing campus safety.

Throughout the week, WCHL brought you all six parts of the News Special in which these topics and many more discussed. Saturday and Sunday you can hear the 90-minute interview in its entirety from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. on 97.9 FM and streaming here.

Part 1 – Holden Thorp: “We Have A Lot Of Problems”

Part 2 – Thorp: Big Time Sports Support Academic Mission

Part 3 – Thorp: Online Education Here To Stay

Part 4 – “This Is At The Heart Of Being Able To Do Our Job”

Part 5 – Can UNC Maintain New Policies Post AFAM?

Part 6 – Thorp Blasts UNC Governance


“This Is At The Heart Of Being Able To Do Our Job”

CHAPEL HILL – On the UNC Campus, charges of sexual assault and the honor court’s handling of them have put pressure on the school and the Chancellor.

***Listen to Part IV of the Interview***

“I think chancellors have struggled over the years with the Honor Court and its independence,” says UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp in a WCHL News Special end-of-term interview with Jim Heavner. “It’s one of these areas where you can’t win, because if something goes wrong in the Honor Court, the public is expecting that the chancellor can intervene and correct that, but all of the sort of former student attorney generals and honor court golden-fleece crowd who love the Honor Court and think it’s this sacrosanct thing don’t think that the chancellor should intervene.”

While the accusations and reports to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights come on the heels of NCAA investigations and investigations into the African and Afro-American Studies Department, UNC is not the only campus dealing with this issue.

Chancellor Thorp says with all the attention paid to sexual conduct at UNC, he still hasn’t spent enough time and resources on it.

“I felt I spent too much time working on athletics; I don’t feel that I’ve spent too much time working on this,” Chancellor Thorp says. “There’s no such thing as spending too much time on this. This is at the heart of being able to do our job.”

And he says some of that focus needs to be on the students’ role in University governance.

“Just as the Knight Commission crowd is upset with me for saying things about how we govern intercollegiate athletics, I think there are certain folks who are uncomfortable that I’ve been saying these sorts of things about the Honor Court,” Chancellor Thorp says. “But again, I think this is one of these things that need to come out into the open and people need to discuss.”

The interview will be played in its entirety Saturday and Sunday.

To read about and hear part three, click here.


Thorp: Online Education Here To Stay

CHAPEL HILL – Online education is here to stay, and according to UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp.

***Listen to Part III of the Interview***

“We need to be part of the conversation and part of the effort that’s going into developing these things,” Chancellor Thorp says. “But, I don’t think the extreme views on either side of this are correct. I don’t think that this is going to disrupt residential college education overnight, and I also don’t think that it’s something we can ignore.”

Coursera and 2U*** are online education models in their early stages, but already the attempts at making them viable options are in the works. Both programs are free and don’t offer many options to receive course credit. However, Chancellor Thorp says with the amount of attention they’re receiving, a newly true form of education is fast approaching.

“Huge numbers of people sign up for these classes, but a relatively small percentage actually completes them,” Chancellor Thorp says. “The frontier in all this is trying to assess the work that the students do and to figure out whether it qualifies for college credit, and these are very difficult, logistical, technical, and pedagogical challenges.”

These comments were made during a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner for a special end-of-term interview with the Chancellor.

The interview will be played in its entirety Saturday and Sunday.

To read about and hear part two, click here.


***2U is not a free online education MOOC (massive open online course) system. 2U has admissions requirements, rigorous workloads, and students receive actual degrees and credits for taking its courses.