The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 5th

Legislators to meet with Board of Governors on Wednesday, discuss transparency issues

For months, members of the N.C. legislature have called for more transparency regarding the UNC-system Board of Governors. When the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations meets Wednesday, with several board members in attendance, legislators are expected to address just that.

Legislative dissatisfaction with the board worsened with the closed-door appointment of Margaret Spellings to the position of UNC-system president, and it culminated in the decision to raise the salaries of chancellors system-wide during closed session Oct. 30.

“I think they want to go over with us the open meeting laws and explain the need for transparency,” board member Marty Kotis said. “The public is concerned with our lack of transparency, and the legislators are echoing those concerns.”

In their meeting Friday, the board addressed the issue of transparency when member Joe Knott suggested the legislature was attempting to extend their political influence over the board in an usual way.

“We must, as the Board of Governors, be careful to preserve our governance of the university and not allow the legislature or any other political group to usurp our role as protectors of this great institution,” he said during the meeting.

Wednesday's agenda states the board’s interim chair Lou Bissette, along with the board's chief legal representative Tom Shanahan and the board's secretary, will be in attendance. 

Joni Worthington, spokesperson for UNC system, said she had not received any information about the nature of the meeting from the legislature, besides the limited agenda.

“Certainly, I don’t want to speculate on the nature of the meeting,” she said. “Lou Bissette and Tom Shanahan will be there to represent the board and respond to whatever information legislators want to share.”

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