CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina system, sat down Wednesday with CBS North Carolina’s Robert Richardson. The two had a long and wide-ranging conversation. Selected remarks by Spellings are below:
On the system’s needs as state leaders work on a new state budget:
I’m encouraged by some of the things I see in Governor Cooper’s budget. (I) haven’t had a chance to fully review it. He’s put some things in that budget that we, the Board of Governors, has asked for, things like investment and data systems. We really can’t effectively manage and run this enterprise without really understanding better our student, our customer, our life-long learner. … We need to fund enrollment growth, we need to attract and recruit and retain world class faculty. That’s why I’m encouraged about a pay raise that he’s embraced in that proposal. … I’m looking forward to working with (Cooper) and, of course, the legislature.
On the Trump administration and the new U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos:
I was encouraged by President Trump’s meetings with the HBCU presidents. We have five of those here in North Carolina, and I believe we had a full complement of chancellors participating with the president. … I’m encouraged about the discussion of a deregulation agenda where we can get out of the kind of command-and-control compliance discussion and better serve students. … I am very outspoken on some of the opportunities that we need to provide for our immigrant students as has been done through DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
On students who are undocumented immigrants:
I want them to know that they have a friend and a supporter and advocate in me. … These children have been brought here through no consideration of their own at a very young age and they’ve done what we’ve asked them to, and that is be successful in public education. … We North Carolinians have invested in them, in our public schools, and now they want to make their dreams realities by attending colleges here in North Carolina.
On House Bill 186, proposed to fix problems caused by House Bill 2:
I’m thrilled that the legislature is working on it and seemingly in a bi-partisan way. … We’d love to host the ACC championships, NCAA events, and many more things as we did prior to the enactment of House Bill 2, and I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that they’ll reach a resolution here fairly quickly.
On other impacts of HB2:
I think some of our competitors in other states are using it as a way to advantage themselves sometimes. … I’m ready to hope that (state leaders) will get some sort of resolution so we can really focus on the real work of this institution, and that is making sure that everyone has a high quality, very affordable education.