Chapel Hill students, professors protest against new UNC system president

Friday, October 23, 2015
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There was mixed reaction to UNC's newly elected president

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- UNC-Chapel Hill students and professors protested the Board of Governors' election of Margaret Spellings as the new university system president on Friday.

Read more on Margaret Spellings election as new system president here.

Students held up signs that read "We need a system that represents students," and "#ShutDownBOG."

UNC-CH geography professor Altha Cravey held up a protest sign through Spellings' entire introductory speech.

Cravey's sign read "BOG = Bully Boys," on one side, and "AAUP shared governance" on the other. AAUP is short for the Association of University Professors.

Cravey, alongside the Faculty Assembly and students, expressed concern over the Board's selection process. They said the Board dismissed both faculty and student opinion in the presidential selection process.

Cravey and UNC students also said they were concerned about Spellings' previous experience in the Bush administration. Her role in "No Child Left Behind," left some fearing the use of testing metrics to implement budget cuts.

Read more about Margaret Spellings here.

"I know what it takes to build a university like this," Cravey said. "I know that it is not something you can measure in short-term quarterly reports, as Pat McCrory and Margaret Spellings want to do."

Some UNC students, like senior Jack Largess, attended the meeting to defend their Liberal Arts education and support the Faculty Assembly in their concerns about "open access affordability, attention to innovation and creativity, and promoting the public legacy."

Largess says he hopes the new president won't view students as "job takers," but rather "job creators."

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