Civitas Review

A Lukewarm Welcome for Margaret Spellings


By Jenna Robinson

Mere days after the UNC Board of Governors announced that Margaret Spellings would be the next president of the UNC system, North Carolinians are voicing their thoughts and concerns.

In the Pope Center’s latest article, Jesse Saffron offers Spellings a hearty welcome, a warning about challenges, and his encouragement to reform:

“Still, in many ways, Spellings brings a breath of fresh air to a system that badly needs change in a broad range of issues. We wish her the best and hope she can quickly surmount any initial difficulties.”

But not everyone in North Carolina has been as welcoming. Several sources, including the progressive NC Policy Watch, have questioned Spellings’ $775,000 salary and generous perks and benefits. Some have also criticized Spellings on the grounds that she does not have an advanced degree.

And the UNC Faculty Assembly voiced its opposition before any announcement was made, stating:

“[S]he must understand that the secretive character of this search, and his or her own indifference to consulting with staff and faculty when [s]he was an active candidate for the position, will make it difficult to win the confidence and trust of the University community.”

It’s likely that Spelling will have an uphill battle. But she seems to be up for the challenge.

Jenna Robinson is president of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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