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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Julius L. Chambers, June 18, 1990. Interview L-0127. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Changes in higher educational governance in North Carolina

Chambers discusses how the changes in school governance moderated the centralizing force of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, so that non-Chapel Hill higher educational institutions and black colleges had a greater voice.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Julius L. Chambers, June 18, 1990. Interview L-0127. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

WILLIAM LINK:
You were on the Board of Governors? Is that right?
JULIUS L. CHAMBERS:
Yes.
WILLIAM LINK:
In the 1970s?
JULIUS L. CHAMBERS:
Yeah, in the seventies. I think from around '72, or something like that, through around '76.
WILLIAM LINK:
So it would have been the Board of Governors, as it was in existence, following the reorganization of the early 1970s?
JULIUS L. CHAMBERS:
Right.
WILLIAM LINK:
Were there rough edges to that reorganization, from the point of view of the Board of Governors, being on the Board of Governors? Did you see much in the way of changes that had to be effected in order to make the system work?
JULIUS L. CHAMBERS:
Yeah. There were a lot of changes that had to take place. I think the Board of Governors replaced the State Board of higher ed. And the Board of Governors came in with authority to direct a lot of things that the State Board only had authority to doߞto try to influence the proposed policies and then programs. The Board of Governors came in as the governing agency for higher ed across the state. And this meant bringing together, not only the then three major entities of the University system, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, and Raleigh, but also the five-year colleges, and the four-year colleges, and the traditionally black institutions. This was a major undertaking. Additionally, the Board ended up with authority over some private schools in terms of the types of degrees, etcetera, that they could grant. And there was, during that period, some monies that were being appropriated by the state, to support some of the programs at private institutions. So it was a rather all-encompassing board that required some major changes in leadership in bringing these institutions in the fold.
WILLIAM LINK:
The old Board of Trustees that used to govern the threeߞthree-member Consolidated University of North Carolina, then the six-member Consolidated University that included Charlotte, and Asheville, and Wilmington. From my point of view, that old Board of Trustees seemed to have been a smaller group of people that seemed to representߞthe Executive Committee seemed to run things. And the same people seemed to be on the Executive Committee. I'm wondering, the Board of Governorsߞis it correct to say that the Board of Governors opened things up a little bit? Was there greater representation? Greater ߞ
JULIUS L. CHAMBERS:
Well, it opened things up a little bit in the sense that it brought onto the board a number of people who were previously on some of these local boards. It broughtߞor it opened opportunities for folk to get on the Board of Governors who never would have gotten on some of these local institutional boards. Because the major educations in the state were really almost seats that you passed down, with some heritage or something. And you inherited a seat. You know, you had to be the governor, or head of Wachovia, or NCNB, or whatever, to get on. And they had no blacks on the board. Limited number of women, except over at Greensboro. And this organization of the governing board was designed to open up opportunities for forces within the state, to have a more effective role in the governance of the higher ed.