Title: Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, April 4, 1990. Interview L-0193.
Interviewer: Link, William
Interviewee: Scott, Robert W. (Bob)
Abstract: The son of former governor Kerr Scott (1949-1953), Robert W. Scott served as governor of North Carolina from 1969 to 1973. He begins the interview with a brief discussion of his education at North Carolina State University during the early 1950s, and follows with an assessment of his early interactions with William Friday, former president of the University of North Carolina System, when he was the lieutenant governor. The bulk of the interview is devoted to a discussion of Scott's role in and perception of the consolidation of the university system during his tenure. Scott describes how he served as the chair of the Board of Trustees in his capacity as governor and how he lobbied the General Assembly to also appoint him as the chair of the Board of Higher Education. Scott worked closely with William Friday and Cameron West, then the director of the Board of Higher Education, during the formation of the consolidated university system. In addition to emphasizing the leadership of Friday and West in that process, Scott describes the complex political maneuvering and compromising that was required as a result of changing power dynamics in the state legislature and other factors, including the growing prominence of historically African American universities and colleges. In addition, Scott devotes attention to his decision to intervene in episodes of campus unrest, including his decision to send state troops to the University of North Carolina during the food workers strike in 1969, and to send in the National Guard to North Carolina A&T in Greensboro after direct conflict between the students and local police broke out. Scott concludes the interview with an overall assessment of his gubernatorial term, arguing that his most significant accomplishment was his ability to reduce racial unrest significantly.