Boards of Trustees Fiddle While Their Schools Burn

Control over state colleges and universities is in the hands of their boards of trustees. Their duties are not to get involved in the minutiae of operations, but to keep disastrous decisions by administrators at bay.

It’s not working. Boards seldom lift a finger in opposition to administration policies, especially if doing so would mean an unpleasant battle against politically zealous administrators, faculty, students, and the media.  Most trustees just don’t want to bother.

In today’s Martin Center article, Jay Schalin looks at the way boards in the UNC system have reacted to the invasion of DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) programs and policies in UNC institutions.

He writes, “Implementing the DEI agenda enfranchises a collectivist, racialized political theory that goes against almost everything our nation has long stood for. Consider a letter sent by the dean of the North Carolina State School of Veterinary Medicine to his school’s faculty, which states:

We must commit to our Values and to being a Values-Driven culture. We must support the cause of Black Lives Matter with more than just words, this is the time to commit to anti-racism and to demonstrate that commitment through action.”

DEI ideology has been sweeping through UNC institutions (and much of the rest of higher education in America) for the last year. Have the boards done anything to stop or even slow it?

No, but why not?

Schalin: “That reluctance to look out for the interests of the majority of North Carolinians raises some very basic questions. Why are the boards not up in arms when a disturbing political litmus test is imposed on the institutions they are sworn to defend? What human incentives are behind their inactivity: confusion, ignorance, cowardice, or corruption?”

It’s probably some of each. Whatever the reason, the UNC system is embracing a divisive and destructive ideology that can only damage the education that students and taxpayers are paying for.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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