Friends and colleagues have used many words to praise UNC-system President-elect Thomas Ross.
But this week, the John Pope Civitas Institute used new phrases to describe him and his work — “love child of liberal groups,” “friend to many far-left organizations” and “radical left,” among others.
As of Thursday, the conservative Raleigh think tank had released two sections of a three-part series on their website called “UNC President Scandal.” The articles highlight the current Davidson president’s political leanings and call into question their effect on his leadership.
They represent the first serious criticism Ross has faced since his election on Aug. 26, which was finalized by a unanimous Board of Governors vote, a standing ovation from state leaders and widespread praise for his integrity and commitment to the state.
Nonpartisan groups are calling the Civitas articles politically-motivated and not representative of Ross’s background.
The first two articles focus on Ross’s work at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, where he served as executive director for six years. The third, which was not released as of Thursday, will focus on his work within the judicial system.
“We saw there to be a lack of complete public exposure on the man that is Thomas Ross,” said Andrew Henson, a researcher at Civitas who wrote one of the articles.
The Reynolds Foundation, created in 1936 to support charitable organizations in the state, donates millions of dollars each year to groups dedicated to social justice, economic development, civic engagement and the environment.
Researchers at the Civitas Institute pointed to the group’s donations to organizations such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and ACORN as evidence of Ross’s liberal leanings.