State Politics

Cooper signs bill to shrink UNC governing board

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill Friday that will shrink the UNC Board of Governors.

The legislation, House Bill 39, now becomes law. The board will be downsized from 32 to 28 voting members this year, and then to 24 members in 2019.

The state House and Senate each elect members of the board, which governs the 17-campus UNC system. Half the board serves staggered terms, with elections in odd-numbered years.

Republican supporters of the legislation had said it would make the board more efficient. Democrats raised concerns that the board’s lack of diversity could get worse.

The board is a coveted appointment in North Carolina, and members are often well-connected political donors.

The current board is majority white and male, and it has no Latino or American Indian members. It has eight female members and four African Americans.

“We need broad diversity, not only geographically but in others that reflect our population,” Board Chair Lou Bissette said Friday. “Whether it’s 24 or 32, it’s more important to me as to who those people are.”

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill