If new UNC System President Margaret Spellings a/k/a “that Bush woman” asked me for advice (not as far-fetched a frightening possibility as some might wish), here is what I would tell her:
Relocate (1) The UNC System Headquarters and (2) The President’s Residence OUT OF CHAPEL HILL Immediately!
Move both physically OUT OF CHAPEL HILL.
This Column was originally posted in JUNE 2016….
The logistics of doing so are incredibly easy. As I will outline below.
WHOA… Q: BobLee, where did you find such an attractive picture of Margaret Spellings?. …. A: NOT in the files of The N&O or WRAL that’s for sure. They have strict orders to never run “attractive pictures” of anyone they viscerally despise which, alas, includes a LOT of people these days including me.
By doing so, President Spellings, and The UNC Board of Governors would gain much needed credibility (1) across the 17-member UNC System and (2) among the general population from Murphy To Manteo.
The negatives for doing so? There ARE no negatives to doing so.
BUT BobLee won’t doing so really “piss off” The UNC-CH crowd?
There is an hydrological term called super saturation. An object – say a sponge – can only absorb so much liquid. Once that absorption point is reached it simply can’t absorb any more. The earth after multiple days of hard rain reaches “super saturation”.
The UNC-CH crowd has been effectively “super saturated” to despise / loath Margaret Spellings from well before she ever took office this past March. Very few collective bodies can manifest goggle-eyed “loathing” with the dynamic energy of that portion of the terminally constipated UNC-CH crowd.
It does not matter what President Spellings does or does not do. The UNC-CH / Chapel Hill crowd is going to despise / loath her To The Max.
The only superficial objection to physically relocating UNC’s General Administrative HQ out of Chapel Hill is thereby eliminated. The AYES have it.
The UNC General Admin HQ has always been located in Chapel Hill since “kindly old Bill Friday” created the august umbrella body in its current form over 45 years ago. BECAUSE The Board of Governors, which oversees “The System” had, until about five years ago, always been totally dominated by UNC-Chapel Hill alumni /partisans.
Appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) to provide administrative oversight to the 17-member system, Board of Governors (BOG) members have always reflected the political leanings of the reigning majority of the General Assembly. For 40 years a Democratic legislature appointed it’s political cronies to The BOG. A very high % of whom had very strong emotional ties to the Chapel Hill institution….. i.e. we’re talking hard-core Dan Kane-hating, Carolina Way Tru-believers.
Until about five years ago The UNC BOG was “UNC-CH and the 16 Whozits”. At one point the 32-member BOG had as many as 25 UNC-CH partisans. YIKES! Many of the 17-member campuses have NEVER had a single advocate on The BOG. The HBCUs had “token representation” as was always the case under Democratic domination. The 6-8 larger campuses of the 17 still do dominate with their partisans.
I have another awesome plan for diminishing that unbalanced representation, but one Awesome Plan at a time….
Now – 2016 – following several appointment rotations, UNC-CH no longer dominates The BOG with a Carolina Blue iron fist. There are still a number of UNC-CH advocates but NOT the super-majority as was the case for 40 years.
OK, enough about the incestuous history of The UNC System. Lets move on to relocating the General Administrative HQ…. OUT OF CHAPEL HILL.
The UNC System HQ is located on Raleigh Road (Hwy 54) between Glen Lenox and The Institute of Government. Driving into Chapel Hill on Hwy 54, you can’t miss it “on the Left” (a Freudian slip?) While “it” may be an impressive edifice at first glance; the building is badly in need of major renovation both structurally and functionally. Asbestos ! Yikes! In my plan, the building and mega-valuable land is sold off to a private developer for whatever purpose. More Roger Perry over-priced condos or trendy eateries? Hell, sell it to The Wolfpack Club to set up a 24/7 surveillance post.
Yes, I know the Prez’ office and many other admin functions are now in a nearby building within The Friday Center but “moving out of Chapel Hill” is symbolic.
The UNC President’s official manse is located on West Franklin Street adjacent to the UNC-CH campus. A stately Georgian mansion several blocks from The Morehead Planetarium. The UNC Chancellor, on the other hand, is provided housing further off-campus in the woods above Finley Golf Course. In my plan…. The Chancellor will move into the Georgian Mansion vacated by The President and the current Chancellor housing sold off.
A Chancellor should be near his/her campus. A System President needs to be dis-connected from any one campus. A permanent manse suitable for a System President’s personal and professional responsibilities can be found in any number of “toney enclaves” surrounding RTP. Hey, maybe out at The (Board of) Governors’ Club?
In The UNC System all 17 members are theoretically equal; or, at least NOT ONE dominant member and 16 others literally fighting for leftover table scraps as has been the case until 5-6 years ago.
Because the BOG is a state government-related body it should be in reasonable proximity to the NC General Assembly negating moving its HQ to any far-flung area of the state. Either Downtown Raleigh or Research Triangle Park will suffice. There are advantages to either scenario.
“What about NC State’s Centennial Campus?” say NC State partisans. Nope. That recreates another proximal attachment to one institution to be avoided.
Available space could be purchased or leased and quickly upfitted “in/around RTP”. “It” does not have to be a dramatic free-standing edifice…. in fact, there is a practical school of thought that the expense of creating such is imprudent. Modern first-class office space with all the accoutrements necessary IS available.
The sell-off of the current facility will more than cover all relocation expenses with $$$$$ to spare.
All current UNC System staff could be retained as commuting within The Triangle is no hardship. Any current staff reluctant to do so can resign with their likely superfluous positions eliminated. A secondary advantage of the relocation.
If you are not already enthusiastically “on-board” this plan…. Just Wait – There’s More.
Surely you have noticed – because Triangle-area media also loath / despise Margaret Spellings & The BOG. Both are seen as eeeeevil Republicans blah blah blah. The BOG has been under siege for many months by a small insignificant gang of obscene hooligans epitomizing that aforementioned “we just hate’em because….” mind-set.
While this small insignificant gang of obscene hooligans is in reality truly irrelevant they have been glorified and magnified by an in-cahoots NCGA / BOG-hating media led by McClatchy’s News & Observer and Jim Goodmon’s WRAL – into “sympathetic rebels with an ill-defined cause”. PUH-leeeze!
Their “cause” ?? is lost amid their screaming obscenities, misspelled signage and deep-seated animosity towards any form of polite society. It’s the 2016 version of the same unwashed anarchists that have festered around Chapel Hill / Carrboro since the 70s some still wearing the same tie-dyed tees and chanting the same ol’ mantras over five decades. These days they are led by a rather scary messianic crone named Altha Cravey.
Because the current UNC System HQ is (1) within easy walking distance from their Chapelboro hovels and communes, and (2) they have nothing else to do, and (3) they get to be media stars…. they congregate each month at BOG Meetings to “do what they do”.
There are only several dozen of’em but they do yell loud and draw media attention in the same way that “Bully” Barber’s Monday mini-mobs” do on Jones Street. From exactly the same media for exactly the same reason. Duh!
Moving the UNC HQ 10-15 miles away in RTP will cut the several dozen to ever how many angry snowflakes can fit in a Prius.
This last “reason to relocate” is simply a bonus.
So President Spellings. That is BobLee’s Awesome Advice. Oh, and I have already discussed all this with a number of your BOG members. THEY LOVE IT!
Hang in there “Bush Woman”.
NOTE: If you take away nothing else from this…. please remember that Spellings DOES “have an “s” on the end.