|Holden Thorp (wearing the blazer) appreciates the support, but he still plans to step away from his job next spring. (US Presswire)|
Holden back their years to come?
If you thought most of the folk inside the borders of the University of North Carolina were self-aware, that they knew the university's reputation, academically, had taken a hit lately ... you might've jumped to a conclusion. The Board of Trustees' most recent action certainly indicates that, at the absolute least.
If you missed it, UNC president/chancellor Holden Thorp announced this week that he'd be leaving his post at the end of the school year. Tough call, but when plenty believe students and players could've been taking ghost classes and receiving phony grades over a course of time that's longer than the average UNC student's undergraduate career, you know, some heads have to roll.
(And some already have.)
Then you factor in the Tami Hansbrough debacle, the football team that's already been hit with sanctions thanks to the Butch Davis era, and it has just been a big batch of bad news all around at UNC the past few years. (Saying nothing of the completely serious and totally unrelated health issue with Roy Williams.)
Now comes word that the Board of Trustees doesn't want Thorp out. Forget the public relations implications of it, dammit; they want him around for the long term. Is it the right move, and does the board realize how this looks to the rest of the country?
From ABC 11 in North Carolina:
The Board of Trustees for UNC Chapel Hill UNC passed a resolution in support of outgoing chancellor Holden Thorp Wednesday unanimously appealing to him to reconsider.
About 250 faculty members approved a resolution Tuesday declaring that Thorp "remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times." The resolution passed despite Thorp stressing the decision to resign next June was his, and that he planned to return to teaching chemistry.
"I appreciate your outpouring of support," Thorp said. "But right now my plan is to sit out there with you."
Unanimous vote. That's probably why this news really jumps out. This was a quick reaction and unified front. But Thorp has to go -- and I don't write that with any bloodlust. It's merely for good business going forward. Hey, a nice gesture from the board, but hopefully they did this merely as that: a gesture. Let's hope the rallies stop from here, lest these people fully embrace their tone-deafness.
A lot of people believe North Carolina wasn't ethical with its academics. Does it happen elsewhere? Of course; it has to. But UNC is the one with the current investigation still ongoing -- and it was/is considered one of the best public universities in the country. As of now, the school is still digging through its records and conducting interviews over possible nefarious practices in African and Afro-American courses. The former chair of those departments is now gone.
And Thorp will eventually follow, only with much less shame yet, unfortunately, equal parts responsibility. The crown weighs heavy. Damage control must continue, and it's possible we still haven't seen the worst of the fallout yet with the University of North Carolina.