Since 2011, there has been a Republican majority in the General Assembly, even if the governor is affiliated otherwise.
On the BOT, there are currently 10 registered Republicans, one registered Democrat and two registered unaffiliated members. Two members of the BOT, Malcolm Turner and Ramsey White, do not reside in North Carolina, and it is not clear what their political affiliations are.
While Roberts is registered as unaffiliated, he has a long history of voting mostly for Republican candidates, based on information that is publicly available via the state Board of Elections.
Jennifer Halsey Evans, who was appointed to the BOT in 2023, said while it is known that the bodies who appoint the BOT are for the most part Republican, she has never been directed or asked to vote a certain way based on her party.
Evans said if people bring issues to the board, they aim to find a responsive, engaging and open board that wants to work hard to solve problems on campus.
“So the challenges that we have on our campus, that’s really the reputation that we — that I — personally intend to support and that I think a lot of my colleagues are focused on,” Evans said.
Jacob James, chairman of UNC’s College Republicans, said that the right-leaning representation in the University’s governance makes sense because he believes that UNC’s politics should match the state’s politics.
“I think that recently the Board of Trustees has been moving to make sure that the University is more reflective of the state and is better serving the state,” James said.
UNC Young Democrats president Sloan Duvall said that while she feels a lot of student groups on campus have been upset with the new interim chancellor appointment, the group has been able to host political events, including a rally for gubernatorial candidate Josh Stein last week.
“As long as they don’t attempt to quiet any of the progressive voices on campus and they give the same opportunities to students on all sides of the spectrum, there’s no reason why we can’t work with them and we can’t be successful on this campus,” Duvall said.
As student body president, Everett is a voting member of the BOT and is the only registered Democrat. He said throughout his time in the role, he has built relationships across the aisle and will continue to do so going forward.
“It’s difficult,” Everett said. “It’s complex. But I would hope that there’s some assurance that you have student leaders like myself, like Lauren Hawkinson, like Tj Edwards, and everyone else that’s willing to stand in the gap and make that regardless of who’s in office, we’re making sure that we’re building these external relationships with folks to get certain issues solved.”
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