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The Daily Tar Heel

Salary Call Provokes Legislative Outrage

Legislators say some want Moeser to be fired

"Moeser needs to be fired," said Rep. Russell Capps, R-Wake. He added that he has gotten an earful from constituents angered by the almost $320,000 severance agreement reached between Moeser and the University's outgoing Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Susan Ehringhaus.

"People have been expressing outrage about this," Capps said.

Senate Minority Leader Patrick Ballantine, R-New Hanover, said he also has been inundated with complaints about Moeser -- both from constituents and fellow legislators.

"I hear from a lot of people that say the chancellor has to go," he said. "Joe Public and Susie Taxpayer are very concerned. I hear all the time about the arrogance and outlandish extravagances of the universities."

But Ballantine said he thinks calling for Moeser's removal is extreme. "I'm not to the level where I think we need to remove the chancellor."

He did, however, caution that change in the University's management policies must be made because public perception is souring.

"It just seems like one embarrassing matter after another," Ballantine said. "I personally love our universities and know what jewels they are in North Carolina, but I recognize that there has been a pattern of indiscretion that appears like lavishness."

UNC-system President Molly Broad said that though Moeser's actions arguably were extravagant, he has apologized and is more than capable of continuing to lead the state's flagship university. "I have confidence that Chancellor Moeser can provide adequate guidance for the University," she said.

A committee of the UNC-system Board of Governors also has asked that Broad draft a policy addressing severance agreements for administrators to ensure that Moeser or other chancellors do not overstep their bounds again.

Though the board's action has reduced the rumblings in Raleigh, Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, said that legislators have not been lulled and that some are demanding action be taken against Moeser.

"Early talk was that this was evidence that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has enough money," she said. "I think that now the conversation has shifted."

But legislators' complaints aside, Insko said, she thinks one misstep is not a reason for dismissing Moeser.

Moeser said Wednesday in an interview that he was not aware that any legislators wanted him removed from his position. He declined to comment further on the matter.

But Moeser did say that though he has not spoken to legislators, other people have been understanding. "I accept full responsibility," he said. "The faculty and staff I've talked to have been very supportive."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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