Gov. Pat McCrory said he would propose legislation to overhaul the way higher education is funded in North Carolina, putting the emphasis on job creation not liberal arts and taking specific aim at the state's flagship university.
"I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs," McCrory told conservative talk show host Bill Bennett, the former education secretary for President Ronald Reagan, during an interview Tuesday morning.
McCrory echoed a crack the radio show host made at gender studies courses at UNC-Chapel Hill, a top tier public university. "That's a subsidized course," McCrory said, picking up the argument. "If you want to take gender studies that's fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don't want to subsidize that if that's not going to get someone a job."
The Republican governor said he instructed his staff Monday to draft legislation that would change how much state money universities and community colleges receive "not based on how many butts in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs."
"Right now we pay based on how many students you have, not how many jobs you are getting people into," he said.
In the interview, McCrory used the academic scandal at UNC-CH involving athletes to drive the point. "It's even hit our athletic departments. Sad to say, at Carolina, our great basketball program, they took Swahili on a night study course where they didn't have to do any work and got B-pluses," McCrory added. "What are we teaching these courses for if they are not going to help get a job."
At the same time, McCrory seemed to contradict himself, saying he supported a liberal arts curriculum. "I do believe in liberal arts education," the Catawba College said. "I got one."
Moments later, the radio host said "How many PhDs in philosophy do I need to subsidize? ...That's my feel."
"You and I agree," McCrory added.