The provision, introduced in the Senate Oct. 4, calls for a study of the BOG's overall structure and governing power.
N.C. leaders last examined the governing structure of its public universities in 1971 when then-Gov. Robert Scott created a committee to study alternative models for structuring higher education. After the study, the state's 16 public campuses were consolidated into a single university, and the BOG was installed as its governing entity.
Could the call for a study 30 years later mean another restructuring of the UNC system? Could a breakup of the system be on the horizon?
Legislators are mum on the subject. And that is precisely the problem.
Over the years, the N.C. General Assembly has hovered over the BOG and UNC system like an overprotective parent, and the call for a study is the latest example. First, legislators elect the BOG members. On one hand, that is good because legislators can push for equal representation of all of the system's campuses on the board.
To some extent that has come true. According to the recently published BOG directory, all but four of the UNC system's campuses have members living in their respective cities.
But on the other hand, 22 of the 32 BOG members have either earned degrees from or served on boards at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University, thus begging the question if the board is overly dominated by the UNC system's flagship universities.
In recent years, leaders from UNC-CH and N.C. State have complained that the BOG and UNC system's structures prevent them from operating efficiently as research institutions.
For example, in a 1994 self-study, N.C. State leaders claimed that state appropriations to UNC-system campuses based on class size deprives the university, known for its graduate seminars and one-on-one faculty-student interactions, of much-needed funds.