Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The Outlook for Higher Education in NC
The protesting student group, calling itself N.C. Student Power Union, is upset about the old, rich, white man lack of diversity on the committee. There's only one student representative. There's only one faculty member representative. There's only one staff employee representative.
The N.C. Student Power Union didn't tell the half of what's wrong with that committee, seeing as how it also includes the power base of the NC Republican Party, particularly the ultra-right, Tea Party wing, the very people primarily responsible for the major, crippling budget cuts to the university system in the last two state budgets (both vetoed by Gov. Perdue, whose vetoes were overridden) and for the general weakening of all public education in the state.
Thom Tillis, Republican Speaker of the NC House, is on the committee.
Phil Berger, Republican NC Senate President Pro Tem, is on the committee.
Lew Ebert, President of the NC Chamber of Commerce, who is very actively supporting Tea Party darling Paul Newby for the NC Supreme Court, is on the committee.
Robert Ingram, former president & chief operating officer of GlaxoSmithKline, who according to OpenSecrets has given some $96,000 to Republican causes, is on the committee.
Fred Eshelman, a Big Pharma mogul who principally funded RightChange in 2010 and who was therefore directly responsible for much of the sleaze that was directed at Cullie Tarleton and Steve Goss, is on the committee.
Art Pope, the prelate of predatory conservatism, the Death Star of the NC political universe, the Big Boss who bosses around Tillis and Berger (see above) and got his own puppets on the Tillis and Berger payroll, is on the committee.
The very people who have been most consistently and tenaciously critical of a Liberal Arts education in North Carolina are going to be setting priorities for our best institutions of higher education. Students ought to be organizing to call attention to the radical tilt of this crucial advisory committee.
And incidentally, ASU Chancellor Ken Peacock is also on the committee.