Borscht Belt comedian Red Buttons had a shtick about “ _______ never got a dinner”. Red would do that shtick at Friars’ Roasts. ….. UNC-CH’s much-maligned munchkin Chancellor Carol Folt (From Dartmouth) finds her self in a sort of similar “pickle over a portrait”. Apparently Carol was not universally admired within Dartmouth Nation.
Full Disclosure: I have not personally met Carol Folt.
My opinions of her are an accumulation of her public appearances, her public statements and 2nd hand opinions from acquaintances within the UNC Faculty and Staff. I am on-record of being very UNimpressed with what I have observed thus far in The Folt Era.
Here is the commentary from a Dartmouth Class of ’79 alum – LINK. I have no clue who this guy is nor how he became so unimpressed with Carol Folt. It could be a (1) personal disagreement and/or (2) he could be a generally constipated cynic….. or (3) he could reflect the opinions of a number of Dartmouthians (?).
Take what he says for whatever you deem it is worth. Many of you automatically assume the absolute worst about everyone associated with UNC-CH. This will be a belt-high fastball in your wheelhouse.
Anyone in the public eye at all, if only for Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes, will quickly accumulate detractors. Ask any elected public officials or any sports coaches or even roguish Internet legends. ADs, Chancellors, City Managers, Talk Show hosts and School Superintendents are all easy and frequent prey for highly vocal criticism. It is one of the lesser appreciated “perks” of those jobs.
A Good Rule of Thumb is that Strident Criticism of High Profile Individuals is similar to Conspiracy Theories: 50% of it is Bogus but which 50% ?
That all said. I am not impressed with Chancellor Carol Folt. My very unscientific polling finds Chancellor Folt’s primary support base is with those diagnosed with terminal Carolina Way-itis. That base is not nearly as large as it used to be.
Whenever I see Carol Folt on the news I think of Lilly Tomlin’s “Edith Ann” sitting in that oversized chair…. “Golly, I sure am pleased as punch to be here at Carolina…. I sure am!” Wheeeeee!
The position of Chancellor at UNC-CH at this time in its 250-year history is not an enviable one. Folt has been dropped into the middle of a minefield at midnight and told to get herself out with one eye closed, wearing galoshes, ….. in a driving rain. The Knicks have a better chance of making the NBA playoffs.
The most experienced, square-jawed, steely-eyed crisis manager would be challenged to slog thru this glorious mess. Carol Folt is as far from an “experienced square-jawed steely-eyed crisis manager” as Tom Ross could possibly find. Folt’s knowledge base re: Big Time College Athletics was so non-existent that it made Holden Thorpe seem like Nick freakin’ Saban by comparison.
I was told by a reputable high profile UNC staffer that Tom Ross’ directions to the search committee was:
(Paraphrased) Bring me three candidates, one of which is a woman. I really don’t care if the other two are a kumquat and a homeless guy named Moe.
Ross was determined that the candidate he would hire would have two X chromosomes. Carol Folt, if geneticists are correct, does indeed have two XX chromosomes.
There IS a list of highly qualified, accomplished female University CEOs. Carol Folt’s name was not and is not on that list.
UNC-CH was in a helluva crisis when Folt was selected. Was she the most qualified individual they could find for the daunting task at hand? Was she just the one who best fit Tom Ross’ primary qualification? Was she the only one who would work for the minimum salary for a Chancellor at an institution of UNC-CH’s stature? UNC-CH still has “stature” ?
The Texas Rangers have a motto: One Riot – One Ranger.
Tom Ross’ version: One Great Unpleasantness – One Clueless Ivy League Elf.
Did Ross think that the fever had broken on The Great Unpleasantness ergo Carol Folt would simply be a Happy Days & Rainbows Chancellor. A Chancellor’s whose most daunting challenge would be which Oh Me Oh My cause’s lapel ribbon to pin on her little blue suit each morning?
If Tom Ross was that naïve and blind to the hellacious mess that The Flagship was mired in, then giving this goober another ten months, hell another day, to fumble and bumble is an administrative crime by the Board of Governors.
This is the same UNC System President that suggested “Call Me Dickie” Baddour serve as system-wide Director of Athletics following the super-silliness of Dickie’s Grand Farewell as UNC-CH AD. I don’t know what sane soul kibosh-ed THAT absurdum before it could be enacted by Tom Ross but 16 campuses owe whoever did a debt of gratitude.
Forget Ross’ decade as bag-man for Z. Smith Reynolds. That he thought Dickie Baddour had performed so adroitly as UNC-CH’s Totally Clueless AD that Dickie merited even greater authority ??. That is the same fellow that insisted UNC-CH hire a female Chancellor in the midst of the single greatest crisis in its history.
I am forever doing smart-ass jokes about Carol Folt’s itty-bittyness. Most infamously when I asked rhetorically on WCHL’s Good Sports “Is Chancellor Folt a midget or a dwarf?” That lit up the call-in board!
WHY do I make wisecracks about Carol Folt’s height? (1) Because making wisecracks is an element of what I do. I use absurdity to illustrate the public foolishness of high profile people especially ones I am unimpressed with…… and (2) Because I know it really torques a faction of the uber politically correct gang that IMO take themselves waaaay too seriously. Actually #2 may be the #1 reason I do it.
Another high profile UNC-CH insider, who shares my opinion of Chancellor Folt, has noted that her #2 – “Dean Provost Dean” – a/k/a The Bully, was hired before she was by the powers that be. Provost Dean “The Bully” is the real executive-in-charge at South Bldg. Charming Little Carol (From Dartmouth) is nothing more than a token “Look at us. We have a she-Chancellor. Aren’t we Progressive and oh-so-Diverse!”
Damn Tom, you coulda hired Condi Rice scoring an extra Di-versity point…. PLUS gotten a for-real Executive Manager.
Folt appears to be naught but a figurehead for a gang of radical Femi-Nutsies who have systematically taken over UNC-CH over the past decade. Folt gets to wear the most elaborate academic costume at those BFDs that academaniacs so love to put on for themselves…. and she gets to wear the lapel ribbons and “feel the pain” of the 65%+ coed undergraduates in their aggrievement de jour. ….. Oh, apparently, Folt also got to harrumph and waggle her bony little finger at Mary Willingham. That most UnChancellory act recently costs The University $330,000. Oops!
I must admit that I selfishly enjoy having Carol Folt as UNC-CH Chancellor. In the same way that AgentPierce enjoys Reverend Barber and “Bellowing Gene” Nichol. If either of us are too lazy to conjure up a new column topic we can always just “go to those wells” one more time.