I was a doubter when Holden Thorp was first appointed to be the UNC chancellor, but he has turned out to be the best thing to happen to South Building in decades. I was surprised to see some of my friends blaming Thorp for UNCâ€™s athletics scandal and acting as if the abuse of med air flights was a capital crime.
Thorp clearly seems guilty of trusting Matt Kupec too much, and allowing him to waste taxpayer dollars. But Thorp is also a tremendously thoughtful and effective leader of this hugely complex academic institution. One stupid screw-up wasting money does not outweigh the great job he has done for many thousands of students, for Orange County and for the state of North Carolina. In fact, I think heâ€™s due a lot of credit for the overdue daylight thatâ€™s been shed on UNC athletics.
The chancellorâ€™s position has become untenable now because of athletic boosters and anti-intellectuals like Art Pope pounding the drums of â€œscandal.â€ These people are not concerned with the quality of education available to North Carolinians. Of course the Kupec/Hansbrough thing was a big mistake, but it doesnâ€™t make Thorp unfit to do all the many things required of a good university chancellor. Letâ€™s donâ€™t blame Thorp for having to clean up the mess left by decades of athletic corruption and mismanagement.
And with Pope stacking the BOG with his Republican pals and getting himself appointed to a new panel on the future of the UNC system, Iâ€™m afraid the next chancellor will be someone that doesnâ€™t care about Chapel Hill and does whatever the Ramâ€™s Club wants. This will also not be a person who is able to fight off Popeâ€™s decimation of the state educational system.
I urge the chancellor to reconsider, and I call on students, alumni, faculty and staff to continue to show support for Holden Thorp. The reason I love the Tar Heels is that I love the institution they represent. The Carolina Way means academic integrity and fair play. If we give UNC over to Art Pope and the Ramâ€™s Club, I wonâ€™t have much to cheer for.