by Jenna A. Robinson
Twenty-five students attended today’s meeting of the UNC BOG working group on centers and institutes to protest the review of 34 centers across the UNC system. One group, stationed inside the board room, wore black tape across their mouths to signify that students don’t have a voice.
Others stood in front of the general administration building carrying signs. One message read, “Value ? Profit.” Another accused the Board of specifically targeting marginalized groups by drawing a parallel between the grand jury verdict in Ferguson and the centers review. The students are a part of the UNC BOG Democracy Coalition, a group that wants to change business procedures at the Board of Governors. The group was formed after the Board made several decisions that pushed back against the progressive culture on campuses, including a ban on gender-neutral housing and a cap on tuition revenues used for student aid.
A few of the group’s suggestions are reasonable, particularly the request for sufficient space for the public to attend Board meetings. But on the topic of Centers, the group is off base. As working group chairman Jim Holmes pointed out, the group has already validated 86 percent of the centers and institutes it has reviewed. Another three percent are being reviewed by the universities themselves. That leaves only 34 (or 11 percent) of the 241 centers and institutes across UNC’s campuses that will potentially be restructured or eliminated. Of those centers, only eight deal with “marginalized” groups.