Letters to the Editor

Nelson Dollar: Nichol’s center had no impact on poverty

It’s the height of ivory tower elitism for professors to defend the UNC Center on Work, Poverty and Opportunity. It’s the height of absurdity to analogize closing the center with the censorship of E.E. Ericson and John Spencer Bassett, as Rob Christensen did in his Feb. 22 column.

Everyone knows the center on poverty was contrived to give John Edwards a platform for the core message of his 2008 presidential campaign. The center traded on the prestige of the university for personal political gain, not for poverty.

When that fiasco blew up, the university doubled down, making the center Gene Nichol’s personal golden parachute. Why? Was he a nationally renowned expert on poverty or work? No, he was an abject failure as president of William & Mary so UNC bailed him out. Nichol makes a six-figure salary, and the only poverty he’s acquainted with is a poverty of original thought.

The bottom line is the center has contributed nothing impactful on the issues of poverty, work or opportunity, and Nichol is nothing more than a strident left-winger with no fresh ideas. The university system has no business creating and maintaining centers for the likes of Edwards and Nichol.

Finally, we have a Board of Governors willing to end this type of abuse.

State Rep. Nelson Dollar


The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. District 36.