The leaders of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are, like others in the UNC system, running scared these days of the system’s Board of Governors and the state legislature, dominated by a hard-line Republicans. So it’s no surprise that they didn’t put up a fight when the BOG eliminated centers of study and action it deemed too liberal. Out went money for the poverty center at UNC-Chapel Hill and also gone is funding for the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy.
The institute, with which trustees of UNC-CH has cut ties, has done good work encouraging improvements in public education and working with political leaders toward structuring policies about it. Governors from across the country have convened at the institute’s behest to closely examine the most important issues in education.
That the institute has been effective means nothing to North Carolina’s GOP lawmakers, who’ve made public education a political target and who, despite claims to the contrary, don’t hesitate to dictate their views to the Board of Governors. Make no mistake: This wasn’t about saving money. It was about the fact that the institute carried the name of a former four-term Democratic governor. Petty politics at its very worst.
The institute will carry on independently. And UNC-Chapel Hill leaders will presumably await their next ideological marching orders from the Board of Governors.