Holden Thorp, the chancellor at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill since 2008, announced his intentions to step down at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
WRAL (Raleigh, N.C.) first reported the news Monday morning, with the university issuing an official statement around Noon. Thorp met privately with the University of North Carolina Board of Governors for "about 50 minutes" on Friday, though there was no indication immediately after the meeting that a move had been made.
"I will always do what is best for this University," Thorp said in the release. "This wasn't an easy decision personally. But when I thought about the University and how important it's been to me, to North Carolinians and to hundreds of thousands of alumni, my answer became clear.
"Over the last two years, we have identified a number of areas that need improvement. "We have a good start on reforms that are important for the future of this University. I have pledged that we will be a better university, and I am 100 percent confident in that. We still have work to do, and I intend to be fully engaged in that until the day I walk out of this office."
Thorp has navigated North Carolina through the entirety of the two-pronged NCAA investigation, and continues to deal with fallout from the ongoing investigation into the academic fraud in the department of African and African-American Studies. Most recently, an internal audit revealed improper use of travel expenses in the school's fundraising department.
Vice Chancellor for Advancement Matt Kupec and Tami Hansbrough - mother of UNC basketball star Tyler Hansbrough, a major gifts officer, both resigned from their positions last week after evidence was found that some of the fundraising trips they took together since 2010 may have been "personally driven."
Scandal at North Carolina already claimed the jobs of head football coach Butch Davis and athletic director Dick Baddour. Thorp may have been able to survive the NCAA investigation alone, but the recent developments at UNC have revealed issues far beyond the limits of the athletic department. In August, the NCAA informed North Carolina there was no evidence for possible violations. However, a third-party investigation by former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin and an investigation by the State Board of Investigators into the academic fraud are ongoing.
-- Chip Patterson
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