WANTED: A New (Breed of) Chancellor

October08/ 2012

The UNC powers-that-be have officially launched their Find A New Chancellor campaign. Within moments of said launch all the peanuts in the spectator gallery launched their nuclear cynicism attack. …..and certainly it is not without some validity. I am more optimistic than most…. I see a High Plains Drifter on UNC’s horizon.

Here’s why ……

I don’t have the blueprint the designated Chancellor Getters are working from but I GUARANTEE you it is unlike any similar job description ever used by Ye Olde University of The People since Hinton James rode into town several centuries ago.

Knowing the second stanza of Hark The Sound is NOT a prerequisite this time. Knowing how many Choo’s in Choo Choo is well down the list. Actually having read Look Homeward Angel isn’t on the list at all. Good thing on that last one as 99% of living Americans would be disqualified including most descendants of Thomas Wolfe.

The U of NC is in the throes of a PR dilemma unlike any in its existence. It’s been said that the biggest downside of going around with one’s nose in the air is what happens when it rains? The upturned noses along Franklin Street are drowning in their own arrogance these days. When it did start raining, like Morton Salt, it poured! Of all the courses ever taught at UNC; Humility 101 has never ever been one of’em.

The current siege of UNC has lasted longer than Hitler’s of Stalingrad….. or Agamemnon’s of Troy. It’s been 2.5 years since Marvin Austin first hit “send” on his tweeter and the aftershocks are still rattling the rafters of a certain campus “dome”.

Recall our fellow UNC friends and associates who breathed a sigh of relief after the parking ticket fiasco saying “at least it’s all out in the open now”. Ouch! How many fiascos ago was that one?

So here we are and here we go.

It is my privilege to know several of the lead go-getters among the Searchers. They ain’t perfect but I can call’em friend without a second thought. Since I don’t suffer fools; that tells you they ain’t fools. Foolish on occasion maybe, but not fools.

Now, I don’t know all the search committee members, The Universal Rule of Committees dictates a few dryballs mixed in. What would a committee be without a few nimrods for comic relief? Someone has to bring the doughnuts for those early morning sessions.

The folks at the helm of this search are as solid as Gibraltar.
APSS – AgentPierce Says So.

Yeah yeah yeah so who they gonna get? No clue on Who…. but easier to predict a “What”.

My crystal ball says a Non-UNC family member. An experienced administrator / academic; not an academic administrator. That order is meaningful. I see a combat veteran who has guided institutional ships through rough seas before and is not afraid of “the media” or “faculty in hizzy fits” or “bloviating politicos” or “fat cats in vain search of country club bragging rights”…. or “fuzzy-cheeked kids who think they know diddly”. They don’t know diddly but might if they shut-up and study.

I see’em romancing seasoned veterans who don’t need the job. World-wise “pros” who aren’t all gooey gooey about “how lovely Chapel Hill is” blah blah blah.

I can see a chain-saw type who says “I’ll come in and clean-up your mess but I’m doing it my way”.

Think Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter.

OK, I don’t see that part where Clint had’em paint the town red. No, that won’t happen.

Continuing the movie analogy…. the scene in Godfather when Michael tells Tom Hagan: “Tom I’m replacing you as consigliore. You’ve been terrific but now we’re at war and I need a war-time consigliore….”

Holden Thorp is “a peace-time Chancellor”. Bless his heart. A calm seas sailor…..

Could it be someone from (eeeevil) “corporate America”? Yes, it “could be” but I don’t think it will be. But I think the him (or the her) will attack the problems with a no-nonsense corporate mind-set. Senior administrators will be held accountable and their tasseled loafers held to the fire. The new executive staff will be a No Putz team. (Yes, I borrowed that from The PhraseMaster Himself – BobLee.)

Could it be a non-Caucasian – Irreligious – Gender neutral – non-Hetero ? Again, yes it could be and in a normal search I’d say it would be at least two of those three UNC being about what it is about; but this is not their normal “Diversity Diversity Above All Diversity”-centric search. Not by a loooong shot.

King Augeaus’ stables are in mess and a Hercules is needed to clean’em up.

I’ll keep you updated as this process proceeds. Don’t be dismayed by the sniping peanuts in the spectator gallery. No one has ever erected a statue to a sniping peanut on an anonymous comment board…. and no one ever will.

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