Home Opinion COLUMN: Folt bolts, takes Sam with her

COLUMN: Folt bolts, takes Sam with her

So it looks like the UNC Board of Governors has run off another employee.

UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt announced she’s leaving at the end of the academic year, just weeks after UNC President Margaret Spellings announced her resignation.

Since firing Tom Ross, the Board has damaged the University’s reputation and apparently made it a miserable place to work. The Board issues edicts and micromanages campus operations. They’ve been particularly tough on the University’s flagship campus, UNC-Chapel Hill. I suspect they resent a public university producing so many people who would think that government could do something good. 

In an interesting twist, Folt announced she’s taking Silent Sam’s pedestal, too. She says they’ll put the plaques that are on it in storage until they can figure out what to do with them. The move was a big F-U to the board members who wanted Sam restored to his former glory. 

The best line in the whole episode came from BOG Chair Harry Smith’s comment on Folt’s decision to remove the pedestal: “It lacks transparency and it undermines and insults the Board’s goal to operate with class and dignity.”

That’s hilarious. If that board is known for anything, it’s being classless and lacking dignity. The members have repeatedly embarrassed the University for everything from firing a competent and respected president to dog whistling to racists over the Silent Sam debacle.


Folt’s move inflames the Board’s authoritarian instincts. It undermines the board’s desire to micromanage the campuses and took Silent Sam out of their hands. It also should embarrass them since they’ve managed to run off a president of their own choosing and now the chancellor of the flagship school. 

The board, though, is little more than a reflection of the legislators who appointed them. They believe that government can’t do anything right, including educating our children despite over 200 years of evidence to the contrary. They’re blinded by arrogance and ideology to the damage they’ve done to the reputation of our state. 

I wish Carol Folt the best and thank her for her courageous stand on Silent Sam. 


Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent 20 years as a political and public affairs consultant. Republished with permission from PoliticsNC.com.


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