This week, word of petty feuds, the likes of which I would expect from friends still in their teens or twenties, spilled into the news—from the Board of Trustees. For those who haven’t read about the scandal, I will lightly recap it.
From what I’ve gathered, there are three key players to this situation: Phil Lewis, Robert Moore and Angela Moss. The former two were either friends, associates, or allies with Moss, who lost the election for Chairman of the Board by one vote in July.
It is important to note that the SGA President holds a voting seat, and that Moore alleges our SGA President at the time promised his vote to Moss, only to change his mind. That’s when the feud from this trio of Trustees turned towards a student.
Recordings show that Lewis and Moore then went on to try and hand pick a new SGA president, offering to pay for their campaign and set them up with Moss for ‘advice’ as she was the SGA President in 1999. This feels like an attempt to endear Moss to the new hand-picked President, ahead of a future election.
If what they were doing was so above board, then why did they feel the need to hide where the money was coming from? This is a quote by Lewis, taken from the recording: “I can line that up and you can talk to her by phone or she'll come down here. And, and, confidentially, as long as you don't have to show where you get the money — I mean, we have no problem — I don't have any problems supporting you.”
I have been a student at a community college and two universities, each of which had SGA associations. I’ve seen students that are passionate about SGA, and those who hardly know of its existence; either way, it serves an important purpose in the University.
It is a widely accepted idea that students pay tuition and fees into the University, with little-to-no expectation of transparency or influence in how that money gets spent, or how the university is governed. The SGA challenges that theory, by leaving students to their own devices in governing the areas they’re granted control or influence over. It also provides better transparency, as the head of this Association is given a seat at the table for the Trustees, where many of the high-level decisions are made.
By so heavy-handedly attempting to manipulate the SGA, and install their own president, these Board of Trustees members are showing how little they respect the students they govern. In their apology letter, Lewis and Moore wrote “We also realize that we have a responsibility to the UNC Board of Governors,” but what of a responsibility to the students they were trying to manipulate? This a school that people come to for learning, and the personal politics of its Trustees should always take a backseat.