UNC BOG pushes Folt out several months early

Calling the move childish would be an insult to children:

The Board of Governors accepted Folt’s resignation during a closed emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon, specifying a date months earlier than the chancellor had intended to leave. The board accepted the resignation effective Jan. 31, whereas Folt had said she planned to step down after commencement, scheduled for May.

“She resigned, we accepted it,” said Harry Smith, Board of Governors chair, during a question-and-answer session with reporters, the audio of which was provided to Inside Higher Ed. “We just felt it was better to compress the timeline and then work more toward a healing process.”

Compress the timeline? Reducing 4 1/2 months to a couple weeks is a hell of a lot more than "compressing the timeline." And as far as I'm concerned, the only "healing process" that will actually work is to purge the UNC Board of Governors of any and all political appointees, and a good place to start is with the Chairman himself, whose ethics are more than a little strained:

Smith went back and forth with ECU officials on the Greenville apartment deal for six months. In early September 2016, he emailed Bissette and others: "I've walked away 5 times but I believe if it's negotiated correctly (it) could be a massive opportunity for ECU too."

By mid-month, with university system general counsel Tom Shanahan asking Smith via email for a sit-down on potential conflicts of interest, Smith declared the deal dead, saying he was convinced by university figures showing a lack of housing demand. Preiss said the apartment complex has since been purchased by FM Capital, a company that deals in distressed properties and hired Preiss to manage the complex.

Smith said his ECU deal would have required approval from the Board of Governors and ECU's Board of Trustees, something Tom Shanahan noted in the email chain on potential conflicts of interest. Smith said he planned to recuse himself from any votes if the deal got that far and that he wasn't trying to hide anything, as shown by repeated emails copying campus and university system officials.

It is glaringly obvious that Smith knew his behavior was unethical, but he kept pushing anyway. And the fact the Board elected him Chairman in the midst of that controversy is just one more piece of evidence they are not qualified to occupy those seats.

Tags: