Thursday, July 01, 2021

UNC Board of Trustees Caves on the Issue of Tenure for Nikole Hannah-Jones


Lamar Richards

Lamar Richards is the hero who did the heavy lifting for the reversal of fortune for journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. After weeks of scorchingly bad national press for their refusal to grant tenure to Hannah-Jones, the UNC Board of Trustees reversed itself yesterday in a 9-4 vote, primarily because Lamar Richards would not stop pressing the board for reconsideration. Richards petitioned for the special meeting yesterday and apparently worked behind the scenes to line up the votes.

The meeting of the BoT got momentarily ugly yesterday when the chair announced it would be going into closed session to consider a personnel matter -- standard practice that was nevertheless a surprise to the students who had gathered to watch the proceedings -- and some were shoved and punched to get them out of the room. Lamar Richards subsequently addressed the crowd via speakerphone to explain the process and calm the crowd.

The closed session lasted for some three hours and went on into the night.

Student protesters stand behind members of the UNC BoT before being
removed from the room yesterday.
Photo by Helen McGinnis for The Daily Tar Heel

The nine voting for tenure:

Richard Y. Stevens, Board Chair, former Republican member of the NC Senate representing southern Wake Co., a registered lobbyist, and a lawyer

R. Gene Davis Jr., Board Vice Chair, and a lawyer

Teresa Artis Neal, a lawyer (Harvard) and the only Black member of the board

Jefferson W. Brown, a partner in the law firm of Moore and Van Allen in Charlotte

G. Munroe Cobey, a retired partner of Tudor Investment Corporation based in Greenwich, Conn. where he was a senior portfolio manager

Charles G. Duckett, a partner in Battle & Associates, Inc., a marketing services firm

Kelly Matthews Hopkins, a former elementary school teacher turned life coach in Charlotte, and the second of only two women on the board

Ralph W. Meekins Sr., a personal injury lawyer from Shelby

Lamar G. Richards, student body president

The four voting against tenure:

David L. Boliek Jr., a Fayetteville attorney with prevous experience in political consulting and public relations

Haywood Cochrane, immediate past chair of the BoT with a background in banking and healthcare management

Allie Ray McCullen, owner of a real estate and appraisal firm in Clinton

John P. Preyer, a former legislative director for Sen. Lauch Faircloth at the US Capitol and president of Restoration Systems, an environmental company specializing in wetland, steam, nutrient, and habitat mitigation

NOTE: Yesterday was the last meeting for Chair Stevens and for trustees Brown, Cobey, Duckett, and Hopkins because their terms have ended, so perhaps they felt a little freer to defy their GOP bosses in the General Assembly and elsewhere. 


Anonymous said...

Almost no education experience, and certainly experience with high education, on the entire board. As with most thing related to the G.A., this makes no sense.

O SUZANNAH said...

Right-wing Tea Party GOP going ape-shit about the "RINOs" on the UNC BOT.