Even though North Carolina is a “purple” state and most of the administrators in the University of North Carolina system are as blue as can be, the system’s president, Peter Hans, is a conservative. He hasn’t been in office long and has had a lot of COVID matters to deal with to start his tenure.
In today’s Martin Center article, Shannon Watkins interviews Hans.
Corner readers will probably be most interested in the last few questions. For example, what does he intend to do about the heavy cost of administration? Hans answers that federal regulations require colleges and universities to do a lot to comply, but nevertheless he wants to find ways to cut down the burden.
Another is freedom of speech. Hans notes a survey done at UNC showing that a high percentage of students feel that they must watch what they say — more to avoid trouble with fellow students than with their professors.
“Being exposed to different viewpoints,” he says, “[is] foundational to what higher education should be. Where there is a lack of diversity of viewpoints though, that’s a huge blind spot. Where there is intolerance for alternative viewpoints, it’s a major problem. And so this issue of free expression is one that I feel close to my heart, and I can actually see spending a great deal of time on this post-COVID. We’ve got the ball rolling, now we’ve got to elevate the issue as one of importance, and make sure that all voices are heard and respected.”
Exactly what he wants to do about this Hans does not say. At least he isn’t pretending that all is well.