UNC Board of Governors narrows review of centers down to 34 for possible closures (with list of centers)

By: - December 5, 2014 4:05 pm

The University of North Carolina’s board of governors has narrowed its probe of centers and institutes for possible closures down to 34 groups.

The Republican-led state legislature paved the way for up to $15 million in cuts in last year’s budget by requiring that the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors and campus leaders “shall consider reducing State funds for centers and institutions, speaker series, and other nonacademic activities.”

The review – which began earlier this year with 237 centers from a variety of academic disciplines– is led by a working group of members of the UNC system’s Board of Governors.

The 34 remaining groups are spread across the university system’s 16 campuses, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University have the most groups still under review.

The centers flagged Friday by a working group from the UNC Board of Governors will hear presentations next Wednesday and Thursday before making final recommendations about shutting down any of the centers or reducing state funding. Of the 34,  seven of the groups are already under examination at the campus level for possible closure.

The Board of Governors will separately review the nine centers and fields that work in the marine science fields in the beginning of 2015.

Several groups that concentrate on providing services or studying issues that affect minority or disenfranchised groups of people remain under review by the UNC Board of Governors. Those include groups like the Center for New North Carolinians at University of North Carolina-Greensboro and the Center for Civil Rights; the Sonya Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History and the the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, all on the Chapel Hill campus.

Gene Nichol, the outspoken head of the poverty center, has rankled members of the UNC Board of Governors concerned about Nichol’s vocal criticisms of policies under Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican majority in the state legislature. (Note: Nichol is on the board of the N.C. Justice Center, the non-profit that house N.C. Policy Watch, but he did not have any role in the reporting or writing of this post.)

Jim Holmes, the UNC Board of Governor’s member leading the review effort, reiterated that the review isn’t aiming to weed out controversial centers.

“Everyone is looking at this like there’s some agenda,” Holmes said. “I can assure you, there’s not.”

Groups under review may be terminated, lose state funding or could continue operating as it is or be folded into an academic department, Holmes said.

Holmes also said Friday that the group wants to create a new “public advocacy” policy for centers that re-state the limits and type of political or partisan activities UNC employees can engage in during work hours.

The list of 34 groups still under review by the UNC Board of Governors include:

  • Brantley Risk and Insurance Center (Appalachian State University)
  • Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis (ASU)
  • Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics (ASU)
  • Center for Applied Computational Studies (East Carolina University)
  • Center for Diversity and Inequality Research (ECU)
  • Center for Health System Research and Development (ECU)
  • Center for Natural Hazards Mitigation Research (ECU)
  • NC Agromedicine Institute (ECU)
  • NC Center for Biodiversity Institute (ECU)
  • Rural Education Institute (ECU)
  • Drug Information Center (Elizabeth City State University)
  • Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change (N.C. Central University)
  • Juvenile Justice Institute (NCCU)
  • Institute for Emerging Issues (N.C. State University)
  • Center for Cooperative Systems (North Carolina A&T)
  • Center for Human Machine Studies (NCA&T)
  • Carolina Center for Public Service (UNC-Chapel Hill)
  • Carolina Women’s Center (UNC-CH)
  • Center for Faculty Excellence (UNC-CH)
  • Center for Law and Government (UNC-CH)
  • Center on Work, Poverty and Opportunity (UNC-CH)
  • James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy (UNC-CH)
  • Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History (UNC-CH)
  • University of North Carolina Institute on Aging (UNC-CH)
  • UNC Center for Civil Rights (UNC-CH)
  • Center for Creative Writing in the Arts (UNC-Greensboro)
  • Center for Educational Research and Evaluation (UNC-G)
  • Center for Social, Community and Health Research and Evaluation (UNC-G)
  • Center for New North Carolinians (UNC-G)
  • Swain Center for Business and Economic Services (UNC-Wilmington)
  • Cherokee Center (Western Carolina University)
  • Public Policy Institute (WCU)
  • Center for Community Safety (Winston-Salem State University)
  • Center for Economic Activity (WSSU)

Note: This post has changed from the original to reflect the correct number of groups under review is 34.


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Sarah Ovaska-Few

Sarah Ovaska-Few, former Investigative Reporter for N.C. Policy Watch for five years, conducted investigations and watchdog reports into issues of statewide importance. Ovaska-Few was also staff writer and reporter for six years with the News & Observer in Raleigh, where she reported on governmental, legal, political and criminal justice issues.