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The Daily Tar Heel

Spellings protest delayed, not disbanded

The meeting, originally scheduled for Jan. 22 at N.C. A&T University, will be protested by groups like Faculty Forward, Ignite NC and the Board of Governors Coalition.

“I’m apoplectic that anyone could look at her time with the Apollo (Education) Group and Ceannate Corporation and think that she is going to help our public university,” said UNC senior Shannon Brien.

Brien said she was unhappy with how former UNC-system President Tom Ross was fired and how the board chose Spellings behind closed doors. “Even if she resigned and went through a transparent process and was elected again, I’d have more faith to work with her,” she said.

Altha Cravey, a geography professor at UNC and a member of Faculty Forward and the Board of Governors Coalition, said Faculty Forward is strongly opposed to Spellings and how the board has been operating without transparency.

“We are going to try and shine a light on what they are doing and reach out to more people to let people know about Margaret Spellings’ ideology and why some people on the BOG saw it as a way they wanted to go,” Cravey said. “The fact that she calls students ‘customers’ shows us how she wants to turn (the UNC system) into a business.”

She said since the board’s meeting was originally planned to be held at an HBCU, protestors were trying to focus on racial issues.

“The Board of Governors is mostly men, white, wealthy — there are so many ways you can see the structural racism of the group itself,” she said.

Protestors also raised concerns about Spellings’ rumored involvement in the selection of Elizabeth City State University and East Carolina University’s new chancellors.

“Even before she is taking office she has already been getting involved in a very non-transparent way,” Brien said. “I am very concerned what this means for when she actually takes over — and specifically what it means for campuses that are facing the threat of closure.”

Although the main protest was canceled, the protesters attended committee meetings at N.C. A&T on Thursday.

Nhawndie Smith, a junior at N.C. A&T who uses the pronoun they, said they hope to encourage greater conversation between board members and students.

“Finding out something was decided upon and that I wasn’t even informed that it was about to happen is stressful as a student,” Smith said.

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