Jones St. GOP engages in racial / gender bean-counting in UNC governance picks


When you see press coverage about the new appointees to the UNC board of governors, you hear very little about ideas and philosophies and a whole lot more about “diversity,” and “gender equity” .    (Yep.  The GOP is STILL in charge over on Jones Street.  I checked.):

State legislators appointed five new members to the UNC Board of Governors last month. 

On a 24-member Board that is disproportionately white, male and conservative compared to the students in its system, these new appointments advance its diversity, increasing the number of female, Black and Democratic members.

The BOG governs the UNC System’s 16 universities and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. The members are elected by the N.C. General Assembly to staggered four-year terms. No member can be elected to more than three full four-year terms.

Every two years, the House and Senate usually each elect six candidates to the BOG. This year, the Senate also needed to select an additional person to fill the vacancy left when former BOG member Darrell Allison, who is now chancellor at Fayetteville State University after resigning in September.

The new members will start their terms on July 1, along with eight members who were reappointed for an additional term.

Rep. Kelly Hastings, R-Gaston, led the appointment process in the House and said the appointments of new and returning members reflect a broad selection of talented North Carolinians. Hastings said the board has geographic, gender and racial diversity. 

Is that what y’all voted for in 2010?   How about some conservative reforms in the liberal swamps that are the UNC campuses?  (I wonder if Kelly applied for reimbursement for his “work” in coming up with these appointments.)


[…] “We have a lot of confidence because all of these members have experience with the university system, and we hope that they can continue to help make our university system and our universities the best in the country, and maybe the world,” Hastings said. 

The new BOG members all said they are honored to serve and hope to positively contribute to the UNC System. They said in particular they hope to focus on affordability, access and improving student outcomes.

Improving student outcomes?  Shouldn’t that be more in the domain of the students themselves than the responsibility of the faculty and administration?


[…] Who are the new appointees?

Former State Rep. John Fraley, R-Iredell, is the only new member selected by the House to join the BOG. 

THIS is the guy Tilli$$$ hand-picked to primary Robert Brawley. 


The Senate’s four new appointees are real estate developer Kirk Bradley of Sanford; investment firm partner Lee Roberts of Raleigh; security-services firm president Sonja Nichols of Charlotte; and former State Sen. Joel Ford of Charlotte. 

Bradley is a Democrat and a MONEY-man.


[…] Roberts, who served as state budget director for former Gov. Pat McCrory for less than two years, said he will bring his expertise in budgets and finance to the board, especially at a critical time when COVID-19 has had a significant impact on university finances

“It’s an interesting time from a budget standpoint, and there are a lot of decisions that have to be made in the coming year and years ahead,” Roberts said.[…]

This one was OK.  He’s an independent, and a smart guy.  He’s also the son of longtime Washington journalists Steven and Cokie Roberts.  MORE:

[…] Nichols said she did not seek the BOG position and was shocked when she received a call from a senator asking if she had any interest in serving. But she said she is excited for the opportunity to serve because women of color are often overlooked.

Nichols will increase the number of women on the board to six — or 25 percent. Female students make up 58.7 percent of total enrollment at UNC System schools, according to data from fall 2020. 

Nichols said she is a supporter of education and a proven fundraiser. In 2019, she helped coordinate the Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon, which raised $2.3 million, for the United Negro College Fund. The proceeds from the luncheon benefited students in North Carolina and the historically Black colleges and universities in the state.[…]

Um, it doesn’t sound like we’ve got much conservative reform coming here.


[…] Both Ford and Nichols are Black. They increase the number of Black members on the board to four, or 17 percent. Black students make up over one-fifth of enrollment at UNC System schools.

Ford said it is important to have diversity because Black people are not a monolith, and each member brings their unique backgrounds and views.

Additionally, Ford and Nichols will be the only BOG members to have received an undergraduate degree from an HBCU — a helpful perspective to add to a system that has five HBCUs. Ford graduated from NC A&T and Nichols graduated from Florida A&M University. 

“I will be one of the loudest voices as it relates to HBCUs and to issues of diversity,” Nichols said.

Ford will be the only registered Democrat on a board composed entirely of Republicans and unaffiliated people with strong conservative ties. In November, The Daily Tar Heel found that 21 BOG members had political contributions tied to Republicans, and only eight to Democrats.

Positions on the board have been filled by Republicans since the GOP took control of the General Assembly in 2010, but Ford said his relationships transcend political affiliation and he has a history of working across the aisle.

“I am looking forward to the discussions and I’m sure there’ll be some philosophical differences, but when I think about the UNC System being the educational system for our state, partisan politics is the last thing that I think about,” Ford said

Though the BOG’s diversity has increased with the recent appointments, some acknowledge there is still room for improvement. 

Seventy-five percent of the 24-member BOG are white males. Only 55.4 percent of UNC System students are white.

While there is one Native American member and four Black members, Nichols said she would like to see representation for the Latinx and Asian American communities as well. 

Ford said he credits the leadership in the General Assembly for their “willingness to expand the diversity of the board from gender to race to political affiliation.”

While the new BOG members vary in background, gender, race and age, they all similarly recognize the value of the UNC System. 


Who is leaving the BOG?

  • Greensboro developer Marty Kotis III and Raleigh attorney Steven Long will depart from the Board after serving two full terms. 

Two conservatives there with ties to the Art Pope political family.


  • Doyle Parrish, owner of a hotel development company, served two terms and did not seek reappointment due to a recent surgery.

Parrish was aggressively pushed onto the board by then-speaker Tilli$$$ because he wrote BIG CHECKS.