Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 19:06:45 -0400
Next month, the UNC-TV Board of Trustees will welcome a new member who has been the subject of national attention throughout the past decade — author Orson Scott Card.
Card, a Greensboro resident and author of the popular young adult novel Ender’s Game, was appointed Monday to the board for a two-year term by N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Guilford.
According to a Facebook post by UNC-TV, the position is advisory in nature and is unpaid.
After the post elicited angry comments, UNC-TV responded, adding that by state statute, it did not have the option to decline appointments of Board of Trustees members.
But the appointment of Card — who has been a vocal opponent of gay marriage and a past member of the anti-gay marriage National Organization for Marriage — has left many in the state’s LGBT community with mixed feelings.
Card said he does not see his political views interfering with his productivity as a board member.
“I believe I am well within the mainstream of political thought in North Carolina,” Card said. “When people see what I’ve actually wrote, they will realize my views have been deliberately misrepresented in order to punish me for being on the wrong side of certain political issues.”
Still, LGBT communities nationwide have called for a boycott of the November movie adaptation of Card’s novel and have requested that bookstores pull the work from their shelves, said James Miller, executive director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh.
“We’re disappointed that Card has been appointed to such a position in North Carolina,” Miller said. “But unfortunately it’s a bit of moot point, since there’s not really much he can affect during his time as a board member.”
The board is composed of 22 members from across the state. Card said he was honored to accept the position, adding there were not specific changes he wanted to make.
“I’m an avid fan of many of the shows our UNC-TV already airs,” Card said. “I won’t be doing anything to interfere with the good work that’s already going on.”
Carl Venters, a current UNC-TV board member, said there is little change to programming that Card will be able to make or suggest.
“The board has always been full of very smart people who brought a range of well-balanced views to bring to the table,” Venters said. “One member can’t change programing on his own.”
But the concern about Card’s appointment is not only for his outspoken political views, said UNC junior Daniel Doyle, a member of UNC’s social justice theatre group Interactive Theatre Carolina.
Doyle said it was more about what the move says about the direction of the state’s policies.
“The last thing we need are more oppressive leaders in the state who don’t allow people to be themselves.”