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WE HAVE MOVED TO MEDIUM, AND CATO'S GHOST IS RETIRING (but not like his namesake!).A few of the posts here won't be making the move, but the rest are being combined with a number of opeds and analytical essays that together provide an overview of developments in North Carolina public higher education governance since 2013. Here's the Medium link:https://medium.com/@steve.leonard.unc

The Silent Sam settlement snafu

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The conflicts over the Silent Sam settlement are all over the place, and this posting will have to be updated later on, but it is worth remembering a couple fundamental governance points about this issue.


First: while the Legislature and the BoG have lawful authority here, in this case both the cause of these difficulties and their resolution entail unlawful (and arguably unconstitutional) acts of failure on the part of the BoG. I will be brief.
        The initial failing is that the Board did not sue the legislature for remedy when the monuments legislation (NCGS 100) was enacted. The purpose of the enacting legislation for the University and the authority of the Board (NCGS 116) is to enable the realization of the  education provisions of the NC Constitution (NC Constitution Article IX) and by legal precedent the equal protection provisions of the US Constitution (14th Amendment). By failing to remove the confederate monument the BoG followed NCGS 100 and did not protect the Universit…

Cecil Staton (and ECU) discover Governance Chaos Theory

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LINKS AND FURTHER EDITING FORTHCOMING. This is a first cut on this one.
Inside Higher Ed (and Rick Seltzer in particular) caught up with the Executive leadership mess now unfolding in Greenville. Cecil Staton has had one foot out the door for at least 9 months. (It was very interesting watching the Board of Governors, and Staton, struggle to respond when some of the BoG radicals tried to savage Staton and ECU several months ago). Now Staton is going -- and (like Tom Ross, and probably Margaret Spellings) he has a 'non-disparagement' clause for his severance contract. 
(Hell, if they had given me one of those payouts, I probably never would have considered writing these things. Then again, that would have meant nightly and nasty visits from Cato's Ghost, so I probably would have been shamed into backing out of any payout deal. Sometimes cowardice protects you from being stupid, too.)

Who's Who with Silent Sam Now

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Dave Dewitt at WUNC has written a great guide to the main players in the current iteration of the Silent Sam drama. Here's my take on that reportage:
______________________________________ This is a terrific introduction to the players in the Silent Sam snafu. Thanks to Dave Dewitt for his work. I would suggest a few additional, related considerations that readers should be able to assess from news reports on UNC BoG happenings over the past 9 months, and how developments unfold over the next 3 months: -- The solution to Silent Sam is way bigger than concerns in Chapel Hill. Sam has to be removed by way of some kind of legal workaround or a modification of the monuments legislation. If Sam goes back up at Chapel Hill, lawsuits for violations of equal protection and equal opportunity provisions of the US and NC constitutions would likely result. Nonpartisans on the BoG -- currently in the majority, and their numbers are growing as members are becoming more sensitive to past excesse…

Rebuilding UNC Governance: The Governor's appointment powers for the campus Boards of Trustees

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If I was asked to advise the Governor on the challenge of clawing back the office's appointment authority for the 17 campus Boards of Trustee that was stripped in H17 back in December 2016, I would recommend an appeal to republican principles of governance-- divided authority, limited powers, etc. -- first. But knowing that partisan tribalism now trumps good old American tradition, I expect things would have to 'go legal,' and the issue would have to go to the judiciary where the last pathetic remnant of republican idealism might hopefully exist. That's the focus of this blog entry. 
Before making the argument, however, you would have to get by the Governor's legal/political counsel, who would be advising against anything that doesn't result in aggrandizing the Governor's partisan capital. That would have been a very hard sell when the Governor was first elected, and was fighting some potentially more easily winnable battles. But it might be easier now if h…

Silent Sam beats Carol Folt and her feel good gaffe

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IHE says: Stunning Departure at Chapel HillMy choice of headline might have been more anodyne: "Carol Folt breaks the law and flees the scene." So much for commitment to the integrity of responsible academic governance. Opponents of Silent Sam should be more careful about what they wish for. But on to the analysis. __________________________________ This is way more complicated than knee jerk encomiums for Folt's (irresponsible) action. Indeed, if I didn't know better, I'd be tempted to argue that Folt has done more for the reactionary right than they can do for themselves. But it is pretty obvious that she hasn't really learned much in her short years in NC, so I won't go there. Here is the deal: The neo-authoritarians in legislature passed this monuments law in 2015 to punish Chapel Hill -- and the Faculty Assembly warned the Board of Governors and the Chancellors that it would bring chaos to the campuses. At the time, Tom Ross was a lame duck hobbled by a…

Groveling before Social Justice Protests

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Jay Schalin and Shannon Watkins once again prove that the Popery emanating from the Martin Center is intended to take its readers to brave new worlds Where No Conservative Could Ever Recognize Himself. 


This time the cause celebre is the Silent Sam statue controversy in Chapel Hill. And the staff of the Martin Center thinks it has discovered the reason that protesters did not pull down the statue or punch neo-fascist hate-mongers in the face: They want their readers to know that the authority of the kakistocracy was on full display 'standing athwart' the lunatics of social justice. It was the remarkable influence of a couple dozen (smiling and friendly) campus and local cops, the fear of (non)consequences from a free speech policy that hasn't been promulgated, and the (un)remarkable (non)bravery of the Chapel Hill Board of Trustees to listen to the barbarism of articulate students and faculty, that held the mongrels of liberalism in check. What courage! What fortitude! What…