Phi Beta Cons

High-handed University System Governance Brought Low

John Fennebresque can certainly claim that he is a uniter, not a divider. He accomplished an amazing feat in his 16-month tenure as chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors; he united the highly divided state on one issue, that issue being his resignation from the board. (He resigned last week).

He angered liberals by showing system president Thomas Ross the door, and angered conservatives by shutting his fellow Republican board members out of the search for Ross’s replacement. He routinely ran roughshod over rules designed to make UNC governance a democratic process, and punished board members who spoke out by removing them from committees.

Jesse Saffron, in his article, “The Man Who Would Be King,” describes Fennebresque’s turbulent term atop the UNC system, plus offers some common sense suggestions about improving university governance in light of the attempt at one-man rule by the man nicknamed “The Czar.”

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