Tom Ross is an excellent president of the UNC system, yet the Board of Governors has asked him to step down. Why? Some mention a political agenda. But there really is no explanation.
Aside from the abuse of Ross, the UNC Board of Governors and the elected officials who appointed them have managed to abuse the university itself and all of higher education in our state. The university is not a department in the executive branch of government. It is embedded in the Constitution of North Carolina. It is, therefore, the people’s university throughout the state. Those who abuse the trust placed in them to manage and nurture it are surely subject to recall.
Those who have been chosen to lead it – Bill Friday, Dick Spangler, Molly Broad, Erskine Bowles and Tom Ross – have done so as a sacred trust and treated it, as Spangler has said, “as a high calling.”
Those who have been appointed to support the leadership of the university, as Friday often said, are “charged with advocating for it, nurturing it and making sure it does not become a tool of government or any special interest.”
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The university has “lifted up” our people and has prepared them to lead and prosper from its support, providing them with the free choice to be or become all they can be.
The Board of Governors must sustain UNC’s heritage and contribution to all our residents and without disruption further enhance its journey as a great university that has made higher education in North Carolina respected by the nation and throughout the world.
Donald J. Stedman
President, Retired Faculty Association of UNC-Chapel Hill; dean emeritus, School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill
James L. Peacock
Kenan Professor of Anthropology; former Chair of the Faculty of UNC-Chapel Hill
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response. The letter was also signed by nine members of the Executive Committee of the Retired Faculty Association of UNC-Chapel Hill.