Been thinking about a coalition
Published October 7, 2021
By Joe Mavretic
"What the hell is going on in Chapel Hill?" After reading that full page ad in my alumni magazine, and a similar ad in a newspaper, I’ve been thinking that the latest strand added to the UNC-CH hair ball is by a group calling itself The Coalition for Carolina. This crowds’ tighties are in a wad over, "Decisions that shape the future of Carolina should be made in Chapel Hill. Instead, they are being made covertly and controlled 28 miles away. In a place called Raleigh."
Well now, politely ignoring glass houses, let’s think a bit about what’s behind university control and decisions.
Budgets reveal the priorities of enterprise and public education consumes over 50% of state and county appropriations. Public education is the principal business of our state and our 100 counties. The purpose of all that expenditure is, "To graduate good citizens who have the skills needed in the marketplace and the ability to enjoy life." To accomplish this mission, our universities are intended to guide our Community Colleges and public schools, to lead in educational research, to provide well-trained teachers and administrators, and to reflect the will of the people. University decisions reflecting the will of the people are intended to be made by our Assembly. Our state is organized to make that happen.
Almost all those decisions that were made for a hundred years, in Raleigh, by elected members of our General Assemblies, were GOOD partisan politics according to some. Now, for about the last twenty years, the decisions, made in Raleigh, by our General Assemblies are BAD partisan politics according to others. Whether some decisions are Bad or Good is a point of view- ‘kinda like noses.’
Our General Assembly has been, is, and will continue to make good and bad decisions for the system and individual universities. The responsibility for our university system belongs to our General Assembly. It is not shared.
Our public schools are shared with each county and a few cities. Our Community Colleges are shared with one or more counties. The University System of North Carolina is shared with no other subordinate political division. The university system answers only to the people. The people, through their Assembly, control and direct their universities…not the other way around. If a General Assembly chooses to do so, some authority to make some decisions may be delegated to a university(ies), but, whatever one Assembly delegates, another may take away. This is designed to address change, and decisions to change are usually publicly lamented by those who did not prevail.
Every two years the people of North Carolina decide who will make any, or all, the decisions for our university system and its constituents. There is no question who is in control…it is the existing General Assembly. This is our intended public education organization.
Any group of disgruntles can choose a name, register as a political pac, and do their democratic thing. This bunch should at least be transparent and call themselves The Coalition for UNC-CH.
JOE MAVRETIC UNC-CH '56