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Gov. Cooper names members of bipartisan commission on public colleges

Kate Medley
File photo of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper posing for a portrait at the Governor's mansion on Wed., Aug. 17, 2022.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has named 15 people who will serve on a bipartisan commission that will recommend changes to how the University of North Carolina system is governed.

Cooper announced the creation of the panel in early November, saying the Republican majority in the General Assembly has too much power over the UNC system's 17 institutions. The governor also cited a lack of diversity on the 24-member Board of Governors. Six members are women and four are people of color.

Two former system presidents — Democrat Tom Ross and Republican Margaret Spellings — will chair the Commission on the Governance of Public Universities in North Carolina.

Members also include former university trustees, and a former student body president at UNC Asheville. Two state lawmakers, House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) and Senator Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford), will also be members.

The commission can make recommendations, but state lawmakers will have no obligation to act on them. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said the panel is an "autocratic attempt" by the governor to expand his control.

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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