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Sunday February 28th

BOG talks board positions, budget and COVID-19 safety

The UNC System President Peter Hans speaks at a meeting of the Board of Governors on Jan. 21, 2021. The BOG met to discuss safety concerns and vacant board positions.
Buy Photos The UNC System President Peter Hans speaks at a meeting of the Board of Governors on Jan. 21, 2021. The BOG met to discuss safety concerns and vacant board positions.

The UNC Board of Governors met Wednesday and Thursday to discuss budget and safety concerns, appointments to vacant positions and the future of North Carolina higher education.

What’s new?

  • UNC System President Peter Hans said there are reasons to believe this spring semester and the rest of 2021 will be an improvement over the previous year. He emphasized the role that university research played in developing COVID-19 vaccines.
    • “The vaccines and the treatment that hold so much promise for bringing us back to a more normal life have their roots in research conducted at universities, some right here in our own state,” Hans said.
  • Hans reaffirmed the System’s commitment to equity.
    • "There’s a lot of skepticism about whether big institutions can be allies in the fight for a better and fairer world," he said. "I promise you, this one can be and will be.”
  • Board of Governors Chairperson Randy Ramsey said one of the top priorities of the UNC System Office is to maintain campus safety as schools reopen for the spring semester. 

Reports

  • James L. Holmes Jr., chairperson of the Committee on Budget and Finance, reported on the committee’s discussion of the UNC System’s tuition and fee proposals for the 2021-2022 academic year.
    • The Board is scheduled to vote on these proposals during its February meeting.
    • Committee member Art Pope said he had concerns that the Board has not scheduled a vote to uphold its “statutory duty to develop, prepare and present to the Governor and General Assembly a unified single budget.” 
  • Carolyn Coward, chairperson of the Committee of Strategic Initiatives, reported on the committee’s discussion on what she called “the state of innovation of higher education.” She said the pandemic is likely to lead to lower rates of high school graduation and therefore lower rates of enrollment among young people. 
    • She said the committee is currently considering what demographics the UNC System should focus on serving in the future, such as fully employed adults.
    • “I do hope that this Board will pay particular attention to online platforms,” Holmes said.
  • Anna Spangler Nelson, vice chairperson of the Committee on Educational Planning, Policies and Programs, said the committee approved an updated process for proposing new academic programs, such as new classes, which had been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • UNC professor Timothy Ives gave a presentation on the UNC System Faculty Assembly and the value of investing in faculty leadership programs. 
  • David Powers, chairperson of the Committee on University Governance, moved to appoint Andrew Tripp, the UNC System’s senior vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, to the Liability Insurance Trust Fund Council.
  • According to Board materials, "The Trust Fund is a self-insurance program established to provide professional medical malpractice liability covering the University of North Carolina Hospitals at Chapel Hill (the hospitals) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Faculty Physicians (the faculty practice plan for the School of Medicine)."
    • He also said he recommended appointing Margaret Benjamin to the UNC-Greensboro Board of Trustees.
    • Both motions passed.
  • C. Philip Byers, chairperson of the Committee on Public Affairs, reported on donor and alumni engagement and motioned for changes to the 2021 Board of Governors Legislative Proposals, including changes to Human Resources flexibility and eliminating unnecessary reports. The motions passed.
    • “While for the third consecutive year our universities raised over $1 billion in commitments, there is still much more work that remains for the majority of our institutions,” Byers said.
  • Mark Holton, chairperson of the Committee on Audit, Risk Management and Compliance, gave his report on the committee’s discussion concerning the retention and payment of UNC System police officers.
  • Kellie Hunt Blue, chairperson of the Committee on Personnel and Tenure, reported on changes made to the classification and compensation of UNC System police officers and updated the committee on human resource matters related to COVID-19.
  • Reginald Ronald Holley, chairperson of the Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions, updated the Board on the committee’s COVID-19 leadership education initiatives.

What’s next for the BOG?

  • The Board of Governors will next meet Feb. 17-18.

@therudolphyn

university@dailytarheel.com

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