The controversy over the fate of the UNC Center for Civil Rights' ability to litigate dominated the UNC Board of Governors’ agenda in the past few meetings, but the university system managed to stay busy this summer.
The system appointed a new chancellor at North Carolina Central University and pushed legislators for higher education funding in the state budget.
Future for UNC Civil Rights Center remains uncertain
A proposal to ban the UNC Center for Civil Rights from litigating will advance to the full board in September after receiving initial approval from a committee earlier this month.
The ban, being pushed by board member Steven Long, seeks to protect the “academic focus” of centers by prohibiting them from participating in litigation.
Long said law students can receive training in civil rights litigation through law clinics or private organizations.
“The Center for Civil Rights has not done just civil rights litigation, but they’ve been involved in very political issues, and they’ve used the litigation to further the agenda of the managing attorney at that center,” he said.
Ted Shaw, the center’s director, rejected the idea that the center’s work is political.
“The center does exactly what other civil rights advocates do, whether they’re located in law school settings or whether they’re in public interest settings,” he said. “They provide representation to poor black and brown people who are struggling with the impact and the legacy of racial discrimination and inequality.”