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The Daily Tar Heel

Satire: People I wouldn’t sit with on a plane who would make a better interim chancellor than Lee Roberts


I found out that Lee Roberts was being knighted as UNC's interim chancellor on my recent 38-hour plane ride to New York, where I was stuck next to a 32-year-old Harry Potter fan and her six newly adopted kids (all from different continents, except Antarctica — they don't have kids there.) Upon reflection of this experience, I somehow found myself more devastated by Roberts' appointment than my unfortunate seating arrangement — even after the kid from Australia ate my AirPods. 

I've taken up the burden of compiling a list of people I would hate to sit next to on a plane, but I still think would make a better interim chancellor than Lee Roberts. 

A grieving widow

With all due respect, a grieving widow is NOT somebody I want to sit next to on a plane. Being surrounded by such profound sadness does not seem like something that would make my flight very enjoyable. I would wager that there would be some significant mourning energy next to me on that flight. With that being said, a recently bereaved widow would still make a stellar choice for interim chancellor compared to Lee Roberts. At least she didn’t propose massive budget cuts in higher education in North Carolina. 

Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence following a federal grand jury convicting her of defrauding investors in her company, Theranos. To simplify things, Lizzie essentially lied and said she could run dozens of tests on just a single drop of blood from a finger prick — a revolutionizing advancement in medicine if this were true (it wasn’t).

She took a ton of really horrible rich people’s money to continue making advancements like this in her company. I would absolutely not want to sit next to her on a plane. Her signature deep nasally voice would be enough to make me ground that plane myself. Yet, I feel strongly she would triumph as interim chancellor, as opposed to Roberts. Holmes wasn’t a part of the administration at the center of an incredibly transphobic bathroom bill, unlike Roberts  — who was a part of the 2016 Gov. Pat McCrory administration that passed the H.B.2 bill, which lost the state over $400 million in investments. Even if Holmes lied about her advancements, at the very least she was bringing in money. Roberts, on the other hand, worked in an administration that actively pushed it away from the state for the sole purpose of discriminating against an entire group of people who just want to pee comfortably.

A person who took an edible on the plane for their anxiety

I cannot stand people who take edibles. All they do is talk about how high they are from said edible, and I don’t care. The last thing I want to spend my in-flight time doing is listening to someone talk about how high the dose was in their mango flavored gummy. That being said, this doesn’t quite compare to how much I cannot stand Lee Robert’s ties with the GOP. Like I said, Roberts was an appointee of the Republican Gov. McCrory and was then appointed to the UNC Board of Governors by a GOP-backed legislature. Regardless of how much I dislike talking to someone who’s taken an edible, I would rather listen to a person drone on about whatever strain they’ve taken than have my education overseen by the very man who was trying to defund it not even a decade ago.

Someone who I flirted with at the airport bar and they bought me a drink but they ended up being on my flight and now they won’t stop bumping their knee into mine but I wasn’t really attracted to them I was just bored waiting in the airport

It’s human nature to drunkenly flirt with people you aren't into solely because you are bored. We’ve all been in that unfortunate situation where a person starts to expect something more because of meaningless flirts. I can’t think of any person I would want to avoid sitting next to on an airplane more than them. This would make for an incredibly awkward flight. Having to consistently pretend like you don’t feel their knee advances while avoiding eye contact with them sounds like an absolute nightmare.

Even with all of this, I still think that such a person would make a better interim chancellor than Mr. Roberts. This accidental flirt was at least fun briefly at the bar, whereas I’ve never once found Roberts entertaining, even for just a few minutes. He’s a horrible human being who has no experience in higher education administration. His placement as the interim chancellor is further proof that the UNC Board of Governors is a biased, unqualified, conservative, partisan-based and ignorant group of individuals with no real appreciation for anybody at this University.


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