Under the Dome

New Yorker focuses on the politics at UNC

UNC System president Tom Ross, right, sits with UNC Board of Governors chair John Fennebresque, left, during a a press conference Friday, January 16, 2015. Ross was forced out of his job at system president by the Board and will work to January 3, 2016 or until his successor is chosen.
UNC System president Tom Ross, right, sits with UNC Board of Governors chair John Fennebresque, left, during a a press conference Friday, January 16, 2015. Ross was forced out of his job at system president by the Board and will work to January 3, 2016 or until his successor is chosen. hlynch@newsobserver.com

The New Yorker magazine plows familiar ground in a new report about the removal of Tom Ross as UNC system president, with mentions of Gov. Pat McCrory, former state budget director Art Pope and the recent vote to shut down the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, which has been run most recently by Gene Nichol.

Nichol tells the magazine by email that he has no doubt the closing of the center was intended as punishment.

On several occasions, “my dean was compelled to call me into his office and relate threats received from Republican leaders of the General Assembly if I didn’t stop writing articles for the News & Observer,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The center would be closed, or I’d be fired.”

UNC Board of Governors members have said the closing was part of a broader review.

The magazine says that “since Republicans, many of them affiliated with the Tea Party movement, took over the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010, the board of governors has become a Republican redoubt.”

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