After 10 months of dealings behind closed doors, the search for the next UNC-system president may be nearing its conclusion.
Following Wednesday's closed meeting by the president search committee, the full Board of Governors met for an emergency meeting Friday.
The meeting went into closed session within two minutes of beginning, in order to discuss the potential qualifications of a candidate to replace current President Tom Ross. Ross, who was forced to resign in January without explanation, will serve until Jan. 2016 or until his replacement has been named.
Legislators and education activists speculate the BOG's top choice is Margaret Spellings, former President George W. Bush's secretary of education, to head the system. Representatives from the left-leaning nonprofit organization, N.C. Policy Watch, reportedly spotted Spellings in the BOG meeting prior to the closed session before she was whisked away.
An emergency meeting can be declared at the discretion of BOG Chairperson, John Fennebresque, and waives the normal waiting period between announcing and convening a meeting.
Fennebresque, whose controversial handling of the presidential search has caused several people to call for his resignation, declined to answer questions after the meeting via UNC-system spokesperson Joni Worthington.
But with less than 48 hours’ notice, a number of people — including at least one BOG member — questioned the reasoning behind the emergency declaration.
N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and Republican House Speaker Tim Moore co-signed a letter sent to members of the General Assembly expressing their concerns over the emergency meeting late Wednesday afternoon.