By Jenna A. Robinson
The UNC Presidential Search Committee has done just enough to satisfy the legal requirements recently laid out by the North Carolina General Assembly. Senate Bill 670, which the UNC Board of Governors has agreed to follow, requires that “at least three final candidates shall be submitted to the full Board from which the full Board shall make its selection for the President.”
And, officially, the search committee complied. In Friday’s closed meeting, the board met for several hours with Margaret Spellings and was presented with written materials on three other nominees, thus following the letter of the law.
The full board, however, will have no opportunity to hear personally from those three candidates, nor were those candidates given the same amount of time and attention as Spellings. It seems that Board Chairman John Fennebresque didn’t even stick around to listen to discussion about those candidates, instead choosing to take Spellings to meet with Governor Pat McCrory.
The governor has stated that he won’t make any decision about signing the bill until October 30—a week after the meeting where Spellings will (likely) be confirmed. McCrory explained that the board “should have the autonomy to do the job for which they were appointed.” That statement gave the search committee, which has facilitated the entire search, tacit approval of both the process it’s followed so far and the presumptive president.
The Beaufort Observer got it right. The whole process is a mess.
Jenna A. Robinson is president of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.