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’ve been surprised to see some of my friends blaming Thorp for UNC’s athletics scandal and acting as if staff 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 he’s due a lot of credit for the badly-needed daylight that’s been shed on UNC athletics.
The Chancellor’s position has become untenable now because of athletic boosters and anti-intellectuals like Art Pope pounding the drums of “scandal.” 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 doesn’t make Thorp unfit to do all the many things required of a good university chancellor. Let’s don’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, I’m afraid the next Chancellor will be someone that doesn’t care about Chapel Hill and does whatever the Ram’s Club wants. This will also not be a person who is able to fight off Pope’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 Ram’s Club, I won’t have much to cheer for.
UNC class of 1993