Around Campus

Trustees applaud successful return to campus

Board members received good news about admissions, investments and the Campaign for Carolina and prepared to meet new UNC System requirements on delegated authority and budgeting.

David Boliek and Kevin Guschiewicz

In July, a team of University staff and administrators presented the plan for the fall return to campus to the Board of Trustees. Six weeks into the semester, the trustees seemed pleased at the way those plans had worked out.

Recognizing their “optimism, faith and commitment,” said board Chair David L. Boliek Jr. at the trustees Sept. 23 meeting at the Carolina Inn, “we want to thank that team for executing the plan that they laid out.”

Boliek also thanked faculty, staff and students for “being here despite the uncertainty” caused by the pandemic. Students in particular “want to be here. They really do. They sure don’t want to go home,” he said.

“It’s been incredibly exciting to see the campus come alive since we were here together last,” said Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz, recognizing “the hard work of our faculty, staff and students that is making this on-campus experience possible.”

New UNC System requirements

But another development since the July meeting is causing the board to re-examine previous delegations of its authority to the campus. The UNC System Board of Governors passed a resolution July 22 requiring each of its 17 institutions to adopt a resolution “amending and restating in detail all delegations of authority” by Nov. 1. If they don’t, all those delegated authorities would revert back to the trustees.

The tight timeframe for such a sweeping policy review meant University administrators and staff had to swiftly provide an overview of powers the trustees have delegated in the 49 years since the UNC System was created. Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Charles Marshall led the trustees through a 38-page list of these powers and policies in a special 2½-hour session Sept. 22.

Sept. 23 meeting of the UNC Board of Trustees at the Carolina Inn

At its Sept. 23 meeting, the UNC Board of Trustees received good news about admissions, investments and the Campaign for Carolina. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Some of the powers the trustees have delegated to the chancellor or other campus administrators include establishing patent procedures, hiring campus police, setting pay levels for certain employees, deciding what student services to offer and reviewing appeals of undergraduate admissions cases.

“We’re pushing the reset button, taking a look at everything, seeing how things work, making sure there is orderly responsibility and accountability,” Boliek said.

To give the trustees time to review the information, the resolution required by the Board of Governors will not be voted on until another special meeting of the Board of Trustees can be scheduled in early October, Boliek said.

The Board of Governors has also required that its constituent institutions each develop a “comprehensive, all-funds budget” for Fiscal Year 2023 going forward. In his remarks to the Finance, Infrastructure and Audit Committee, Nathan Knuffman, vice chancellor for finance and operations, gave a timeline for presenting Carolina’s budget to the Board of Governors by May 2022.

In addition to being a forward-looking plan that includes all expected revenues and expenses, the budget will also include a “narrative that demonstrates the budget’s alignment with strategy,” both at the University and the UNC System level, Knuffman said.

Service to the state

Jacqui Greene

Jacqui Greene (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Presenters from the School of Government highlighted how Carolina provides unique services to local governments throughout the state. “No other university has a school that focuses exclusively on its own state,” said Dean Michael Smith. “Carolina made that innovative — and I think brilliant — decision 90 years ago.”

The two faculty members described how they advise lawmakers as they are crafting legislation, how they explain and interpret those laws to those impacted by them and how they are constantly fielding questions and researching solutions in their fields.

Jacqui Greene, assistant professor of public law and government, works with the juvenile justice system. She has been involved in the changing of the system’s structure to include 16- and 17-year-olds and teaches classes for judges. “I try to be very practical,” she said, showing how she has tried to explain the juvenile delinquency process by writing a book, posting answers to questions in a blog and creating a flow-chart that her students called “Chutes and Ladders.”

Kara Millonzi

Kara Millonzi (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Kara Millonzi, the Robert W. Bradshaw Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government, works in public finance law across the state “from Mecklenburg, population 1.1 million, to Hayesville, population 377.” This year, she’s spent much of her time explaining the nuances of the American Rescue Plan Act and fielding dozens of questions a week. Millonzi has had so many problems presented to her, she said, “I never have to come up with a fake hypo in class.”

The trustees received several reports with good news:

  • Undergraduate Admissions reported that the class of 2025 is the largest, the most academically talented and most diverse class ever at Carolina;
  • The UNC Investment Fund hit $10 billion, with a 42.3% return on investment; and
  • The Campaign for Carolina reached $4 billion in total campaign commitments.

In other action, the trustees:

  • Announced the formation of a new Strategic Initiatives Committee to be chaired by Dr. Perrin Jones;
  • Passed a resolution of appreciation for Vice Chancellor of Communications Joel Curran, who has taken a position as vice president of public affairs and communications at Notre Dame;
  • Named as honorary member of the Board of Trustees and passed a resolution of appreciation for T.J. Scott, former executive assistant to the board, who is now pursuing a master of business administration degree at Kenan-Flagler Business School; and
  • Approved the design for the McColl Building renovation and addition and the site of the expansion of the Kenan Football Center addition.
Chair David Boliek invited Boy Scout Troop 740 from his hometown of Fayetteville to present the colors at the Sept. 23 meeting of the UNC Board of Trustees.

Chair David Boliek invited Boy Scout Troop 740 from his hometown of Fayetteville to present the colors at the Sept. 23 meeting of the UNC Board of Trustees. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)