Last month, the Raleigh News & Observer laid out a series of articles questioning conservative leadership at the University of North Carolina System and General Assembly. The authors concluded that under this leadership, our public higher education system has not only suffered, but the UNC System has deteriorated as a state asset.

Jenna Robinson, President of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, and I examined the facts. The evidence shows otherwise. The authors’ used misleading data points to create a narrative against conservative leadership. 

  • The point of comparison matters. The News & Observer used Governor Beverly Purdue’s political wish list of recommendations as a comparison point to claim that Republicans cut over $400 million to the UNC System. In reality, the cut was much smaller at $125.1 million. 
  • The whole picture matters. One article claimed that state appropriations have not been sufficiently replenished following the 2008 financial crisis due to Republican leaders exhibiting “fiscal conservatism” rather than public investment. But under Republican control (beginning in FY 2012), inflation-adjusted per-student higher education appropriations increased by 11 percent.

    Similarly, one author undercut her own narrative, berating the 2013 tax cuts for starving revenue while revealing steady increases to UNC funding after 2013. 

Read more here to find out why the North Carolina Legislature has not harmed public universities.