Tom Ross

Tom Ross
University of North Carolina

A bipartisan group of former judiciary members offered their proposal for congressional maps yesterday.

The partnership between Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy and the nonprofit organization Common Cause presented a new map of the state's districts to demonstrate that lines could be drawn without regard to voting history or party registration.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow Tom Ross who led the panel.

Margaret Spellings on The State of Things
Charlie Shelton for WUNC

 

Four months after her controversial selection, Margaret Spellings takes the helm of the UNC system today. The former U.S. Secretary of Education faces a broad range of competing priorities.

The Board of Governors hired Spellings on the heels of the forced resignation of her predecessor Tom Ross. As the new leader of the system, she will address issues ranging from budget matters to concerns about academic freedom. 

Margaret Spellings
Dave DeWitt

More than 100 demonstrators interrupted the UNC Board of Governors meeting today in Chapel Hill. They were there to protest the hiring of Margaret Spellings as the new president of the UNC system. 

Today's meeting is the last for outgoing president Tom Ross, who was forced out of the position earlier this year.

John Fennebresque
Dave DeWitt

John Fennebresque has resigned his seat on the UNC Board of Governors, effectively immediately. An attorney from Charlotte, Fennebresque had served as Board Chair since 2014.

Last year, he oversaw a controversial review of UNC academic centers that some called politically motivated. It eventually led to the closing of the UNC-Chapel Hill Law School’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, among others.

Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, has been tabbed as the next UNC system president.
LBJ Foundation / Flickr Creative Commons

The UNC Board of Governors makes their selection for a new university system president. 

Former U.S. Department of Education secretary Margaret Spellings is the president-elect, chosen to replace outgoing president Tom Ross who was forced to resign earlier this year. Spellings served in the George W. Bush administration.

UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The UNC Board of Governors is deeply divided over how to elect a new leader.

Some board members have called for the resignation of chair John Fennebresque after he called an emergency closed-door meeting to interview a candidate.

Emails reveal several board members accused Fennebresque of botching the hiring process which started after President Tom Ross was forced to resign earlier this year. 

The division represents a split within the Republican members of the board.

John Fennebresque
Dave DeWitt

Tom Ross was an unlikely UNC President from the outset. He had a long career as a superior court judge, with shorter stints as president of Davidson College and head of the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation.

This morning, when he faced reporters after it was announced that he would be leaving his job – or, as the Board of Governors’ statement put it, they would “begin the process of leadership transition” – Ross looked shocked and disappointed.

Tom Ross
University of North Carolina

University of North Carolina System President Tom Ross will retire from his position, effective January 2016.  Ross has led the 17-school university system since 2011. 

In a joint statement with Ross, the Board of Governors said it "decided to begin the process of leadership transition."  

UNC System

The UNC System, made up of 17 educational institutions, has seen a reduction in funding over the last several years. Some universities are eliminating positions to try to make up the difference. And tuition hikes place a greater burden on students.  UNC System President Tom Ross  addressed the budget problems in North Carolina in a conversation with host Frank Stasio on WUNC's The State of Things.

Eric Shinseki
Dept. of Veteran's Affairs

The UNC System hosted the federal government’s top Veterans Affairs official yesterday. V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki met with UNC leaders to discuss expanding higher education opportunities for military veterans. 

Several UNC system schools have long and proud histories of educating military veterans. And as General Shinseki pointed out, veterans have a lot to offer the universities and the state of North Carolina as students and employees.

Last spring, the UNC system voted to allow campuses to once again raise tuition. As part of the last several rate hikes, schools were mandated to set aside at least 25 percent of new tuition revenue for need-based financial aid for low-income students.

But the UNC Board of Governors will soon decide whether to change that rule. Some Republican members of the Board say the set aside is a “hidden tax” on students who pay full tuition.

The debate over funding need-based financial aid appears to have a political bent.

Peter Hans
Nelson Mullins Law Firm

The UNC system has a new chair for its Board of Governors.

Dave DeWitt: Peter Hans is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and a former advisor to 3 U.S. Senators, most recently Republican Richard Burr. Now, he’s the chair of the UNC system’s Board of Governors, with oversight over all 17 member campuses. Hans represents a political shift on the Board. The job has typically been held by Democrats. UNC System President Tom Ross says politics won’t be a factor moving forward.

Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors voted today to allow member schools to raise in-state student tuition by an average of 8.8 percent next year. They did so as around 100 protestors disrupted the meeting, banged on walls, and shouted their disapproval. One protestor was arrested.

Today's scene was the culmination of the stress caused by dwindling resources for public higher education. And as Dave DeWitt reports, the vote to increase tuition was a compromise no one is happy about.

Erskine Bowles is spending his last few days as president of the UNC system. Tom Ross takes over in January.

The Erskine Bowles Era was defined in his first few years by streamlining the 17-campus UNC system - and then, in the final years, because of the recession, fighting for dwindling resources.

Tom Ross takes over for Bowles at a time when those resources are likely to be at an all-time low. Ross was, most recently, the President of Davidson College. He says he hopes to have has much success courting state legislators as Bowles did: