by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jay Schalin of the Martin Center shares his concerns about a recent decision from the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors.
Wise decision making depends on knowledge of the full range of options and information, not with rhetoric designed to push a specific agenda. And leadership that seeks out only one side of the story will not produce good governance.
Sadly, the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors seems to prefer limiting its information to a single source—perhaps because greater understanding would force difficult discussions and difficult decisions that defy the status quo.
And that is neither wisdom nor leadership.
This summer, the N.C. legislature included in the budget a provision permitting the Board of Governors to hire up to three staff members. If hired, the staff would be directly responsible to the board and provide badly needed independence from the system’s general administration. It would also enhance the board’s ability to control its own agenda. The board currently lacks those capabilities; the general administration plans the board’s meetings and is the board’s primary source of information—all to the administration’s great advantage.
Yet the board did not jump at the opportunity to make the system’s governance better and more inclusive at its November meeting. Instead, the board’s governance committee shot down a proposal to move the process of hiring staff members forward.
This is an abdication of the governors’ role as the ultimate authority of the UNC system.