|UNC BOG Chair Harry Smith|
Smith leads a band of hard-edged conservatives -- all appointed by the Republican overlords in the General Assembly -- and he's a bloodhound for sniffing out people who won't be missed. He just succeeded in getting rid of the chancellor of Eastern Carolina University, Dr. Cecil Staton, following closely his successful defenestration of UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt and UNC System President Margaret Spellings.
Forcing out Dr. Staton at ECU in the last week opened a public fissure on the BOG. Member Steve Long has issued a public letter denouncing his chairman as a petty meddler who relentlessly grinds his axes to the detriment of higher education in North Carolina. According to Long, Smith's vendetta against Chancellor Staton consisted of a "long-running campaign of false accusations and irrational attacks" based on Smith's failure to reap a profit from the students at ECU: "Harry Smith has been seeking the Chancellor’s removal ever since Chancellor Staton and his trustees rejected in 2016 Mr. Smith’s proposal to buy an apartment complex near ECU if the University would change its housing policy." The sordid topic of coin in the age of the Trumpists.
Making a profit seems very much uppermost in the philosophy of Harry Smith, as is keeping the symbols of white supremacy manifest in an old bronze statue. Wonder how he feels about Chancellor Sheri Everts' successful application for certifying AppState student IDs for the purposes of voting. Is that a strike against her? Smith doesn't seem like the sort of political operative who would be interested in encouraging student activism at the ballot box. In fact, we wonder if any discussion will focus on the fact that 12 of the institutions in the UNC System just had their students significantly disabled from their access to the polls.