UNC Board Of Governors A Step Closer To Closing Academic Centers

Feb 18, 2015

Gene Nichol leads The Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Credit UNC Law School

A committee of the UNC Board of Governors has recommended closing three academic centers and placing 13 others under review.

The seven-member committee started last year by looking at more than 200 academic centers on the 16 UNC system campuses. Together, the centers and institutes receive $69 million in state appropriations – a 40% drop from 2009.

The three recommended for closure are: The Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill; the NC Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina University; and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at NC Central University.

The Poverty Center receives no direct state funding and is led by Gene Nichol, a frequent critic of Republicans and state government.

“The Board of Governors’ tedious, expensive and supremely dishonest review process yields the result it sought all along – closing the Poverty Center,” Nichol wrote in a response in the News and Observer, published after the closure decision was announced. “This charade, and the censorship it triggers, demeans the board, the university, academic freedom and the Constitution.”

The committee’s report also proposed a policy banning University-backed political advocacy.

The full Board of Governors will vote on the committee’s recommendations next week.