UNC reforms urged

The University of North Carolina system needs a “tune-up” of its governance system, says a new report by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

The report, “The Statewide UNC Board of Governors: Its Selection, Powers and Relationship to the 16 Local Campus Boards of Trustees,” outlines 11 recommendations.

Among them, the center suggests shifting the duty of appointing members of the UNC Board of Governors, which oversees the 16 UNC campuses.

The governor should name board members, the report says, rather than state lawmakers, who the center says do not properly research candidates’ qualifications, and who have failed to achieve demographic and geographic diversity in board membership.

The report also says the current board-appointment process is tainted by campaign contributions from Board of Governors candidates to lawmakers, who have received a total of $425,720 in a recent five-year period.

The Board of Governors should also develop a long-range plan for coordinated higher education in the state, as mandated by law, a requirement the center says the system has not met.

The report also says the UNC system is vulnerable to lawsuits because it has raised tuition seven times in the last eight years, potentially violating the constitutional mandate that tuition remain affordable to all North Carolina citizens.

Given a history of “major infractions,” the center says, the Board of Governors should make the universities more accountable for the conduct of athletic teams by adopting guidelines and policies to govern programs of all universities.

The report also offers recommendations on issues, including terms of board members, private fundraising by public universities and governance of the system’s most-influential campuses.

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