Under the Dome

UNC President Margaret Spellings weighs in on shrinking the university system’s board

Margaret Spellings
Margaret Spellings cseward@newsobserver.com

A move by the legislature to reduce the size of the UNC system’s governing board would improve efficiency, UNC President Margaret Spellings said in a statement Friday.

A bill to shrink the UNC Board of Governors has passed the House, and it passed a preliminary vote in the Senate Thursday. It is expected to gain full passage next week.

Under the legislation, the board would go from 32 members now to 28 members this year and 24 members in 2019. Republicans say a smaller board would be more efficient; Democrats have expressed concerns that the board’s membership could end up having less racial, gender, ethnic and geographic diversity.

Spellings said the proposal “fits with a natural pattern of modern and effective governance and greater operational efficiency.”

“We have the opportunity to find the right balance in governance and accountability – system-level governance should remain focused on broad goals and accountability measures,” her statement added. “As we rise to meet the challenges of a growing state and a more complex economy, getting that balance right is more important than ever.

“Ultimately, it’s about the people, not the number of them—their vision, expertise, and leadership that will help strengthen public education for the citizens of North Carolina.

“Our mission is to create greater opportunity for North Carolina students and families, and we appreciate the legislature’s careful attention to the University’s role in our state.”

The UNC Board of Governors enacts policy and sets tuition rates for the state’s 17 public campuses, which serve 220,000 students.