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Folt Steps Down As UNC Chancellor, With No Decision About Her Replacement

Lisa Philip

Carol Folt steps down today as chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill, a role she's held for six years. Her replacement has not yet been announced.Folt told reporters this morning she doesn't yet know what she's going to do next.

“You know, honestly, until the end of the day today, I'm still the chancellor and I've been thinking about that,” she said. “And I'll use my next couple of weeks to have a chance to think about that. But I've got a lot of exciting thoughts about higher ed and where it should go, and I want to continue to be a part of that.”

Folt resigned earlier this month just before ordering the removal of Silent Sam's base from campus. The UNC System’s Board of Governors, whose chair expressed frustration with Folt’s announcement, then pushed up her resignation date from May to January. Folt had been planning to stay in the chancellor position through spring commencement.

Folt’s replacement has not yet been named. Interim UNC System President Bill Roper has been tasked with appointing an interim chancellor and told reporters on Thursday morning that he anticipated having a decision in the middle of next week.

He said the university's provost would take on the chancellor's duties until then. In the meantime, Roper said he's been busy listening to and weighing suggestions from constituents.

“I think it's important, given the very important work of the university, that this person be someone who's well-known here and who knows well the situation here,” said Roper, who has served as dean of the UNC School of Medicine and CEO of UNC HealthCare. “Doesn't have to be somebody on the campus, but it needs to be somebody close.”

Folt told UNC trustees this morning she wasn't sure she would be back as a faculty member, but that she would always be a Tar Heel. Before becoming a university administrator, Folt researched metal toxicity and its effects on aquatic and human life.

Lisa Philip is an occasional contributor to WUNC. Previously, she covered education for the station and covered schools in Howard County, Maryland for the Baltimore Sun newspapers.
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