The UNC System has replaced Earl Whipple with former News & Observer reporter Jane Stancill in the vice president for communications position.
Whipple was the author of the op-ed published on behalf of members of the Board of Governors in the News & Observer on December 16, 2019. The op-ed was signed by five members of the BOG: Jim Holmes, Darrell Allison, Wendy Murphy, Anna Nelson and Bob Rucho.
Whipple’s name has now been removed from the BOG website directory, after 18 months on the job. A BOG member confirmed to The Daily Tar Heel that Whipple has stepped down.
Whipple was deposed in DTH Media Corp. v. University of North Carolina on Jan. 27. The lawsuit, now settled, addressed allegations that the UNC Board of Governors violated state Open Meetings Law in the $2.5 million Silent Sam settlement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Whipple testified that he had no knowledge of the five BOG members who signed the op-ed, which revealed the earlier $74,999 settlement with the SCV, discussing this issue of Silent Sam.
“I did draft the op-ed, you know, different iterations from it,” Whipple testified. He had UNC System General Counsel Tom Shanahan look over his draft, and asked the five board members and signatories to give feedback individually, he said.
In his testimony, Whipple was clear that he had no knowledge of any official meetings of any members of the BOG regarding the $2.5 million deal. Most communications, he said, were done over phone and email between BOG members.
Whipple testified to his title of vice president for communications in the Jan. 27 deposition. Stancill said in an email that she has held the job for the UNC System since Jan. 1, 2021.
Previously, Stancill was a reporter for the News & Observer and executive director of communications for the N.C. Community College System.
Stancill said the system could not comment. UNC System Media Relations did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
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