The N.C. Legislative Black Caucus wants the UNC Board of Governors to keep the three university centers that a board panel has tagged for elimination.
A Board of Governors working group recommended getting rid of N.C. Central University's Institute of Civic Engagement and Social Change, East Carolina's Center for Biodiversity and UNC-Chapel Hill's Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity. Gene Nichol, the Poverty Center's director, has been an outspoken critic of the state's Republican leadership.
"I'm very concerned about the elimination of these centers. North Carolina has the highest rate of increase of poverty in the nation," said Rep. Garland Pierce, caucus chairman, said in a statement.
"The need to address poverty and civic engagement remains at an all-time high, and these recommendations appear to be taking us in the wrong direction," said Pierce, a Wagram Democrat. "We must continue to better understand how to get residents back to work, increase wages and expand the middle class."
The caucus has 35 members - all Democrats.