CHAPEL HILL — The support for Chancellor Holden Thorp to stay on the job at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill increased Wednesday when the school’s governing board passed a resolution asking that he not resign.
The Board of Trustees unanimously passed the resolution saying it “believes Carolina is better today because of him and emphatically requests that Chancellor Thorp reconsider his decision because we think it is in the best interest of the university.”
Thorp’s reaction wasn’t immediately known. University officials said he was on a plane Wednesday evening.
Thorp announced his resignation Monday after struggling with scandals that have spread in the past two years from football players accepting gifts, to no-show classes and instructors who didn’t teach, to fundraisers traveling for personal reasons using donated money.
The resolution in support of Thorp, 48, was the second in as many days. On Tuesday, about 250 faculty members of North Carolina’s flagship public university approved a resolution declaring that Thorp “remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times.”
Thorp, who became chancellor in 2008, has stressed that the decision to resign next June was his, and that he planned to return to teaching chemistry.
Students are holding a rally Friday in support of Thorp. Student body President Will Leimenstoll, who sits on the Board of Trustees, said in a statement that Thorp’s “commitment to accessibility, his open door policy and willingness to listen to any student on any issue, and his unwavering advocacy for the ideals and values important to students, among a number of qualities, are reasons why we support a reconsideration of his resignation.”
The most recent scandal at UNC came when it was disclosed that the university’s top fundraiser and the mother of former Tar Heels basketball star Tyler Hansbrough, also a fundraiser, may have used donated money to pay for personal travel. Both former UNC quarterback Matt Kupec and Tami Hansbrough resigned last week.
The Board of Trustees also approved the appointment of a former corporate vice president of Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta as interim vice chancellor for advancement, Kupec’s old job. Board members voted to hire Julia Sprunt Grumbles of Chapel Hill, a 1975 UNC graduate, for that position.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/OWIuWK) that Thorp traveled on some of the questionable flights taken by Kupec and Hansbrough. The newspaper reported that Thorp said he stopped Kupec from hiring Hansbrough for a position in Kupec’s office in 2010 because the two fundraisers were dating, but then traveled with the pair on private flights. Hansbrough was hired as a fundraiser in the university’s division of student affairs in 2011.