Opinion: Board of Governors must work with education, not against

Austin Mann

Kevin Griffin

Austin MannLast week, the N.C. Senate elected eight new members to the Board of Governors.

The board is in charge of “the general determination, control, supervision, management and governance of all affairs of the constituent institutions,” according to the UNC website. It controls college campuses across the state, including our own.

The Board of Governors is responsible for appointing members to Appalachian State’s Board of Trustees, defining its powers and duties, appointing and compensating our chancellor, vice chancellors, administrative officers and more.

 The Board of Governors is a very powerful force because it has a large degree of control over not only Appalachian, but other college campuses, too. It is very important who is on the board, and for the majority of its history both parties have had a say.

But with the recent election, the Republicans now have a majority on the board.

It bothers me that people in the state government who would rather privatize education than make it free. They would rather accept $135 million budget cuts than fight back.

 Democrats would probably endorse cuts as well, although perhaps not as big. Does it matter that we have Democrats on the board? Also, the Board of Governors has no real power to object to budget cuts. The problem with the Board of Governors is that it is not responsible to a constituency, but to the state administration.

“The Republicans won the election,” Rep. Edgar Starnes, a Hickory Republican, said in the News & Observer. “We are in control. We intend to elect Republicans and appoint Republicans, and we make no apology for it.”

 Communities are  subject to the whims of politicians like Starnes whose only interest is in spreading a pro-market agenda.
The Board of Governors is a tool of the state administration, not the people.

But I see a bright future ahead. Students across North Carolina are aware of the things that affect them, and tomorrow I hope to see communities running their own education systems.

Mann, a freshman computer science major from Raleigh, is an opinion writer.