Thorp out as UNC-CH chancellor
September 17, 2012WRAL-TV is reporting:
Holden Thorp will step down as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the end of the 2012-13 school year, the university announced Monday. Click here to read the rest of the story, including links to other stories on the topic.
UNC's flagship campus has been beset by scandal for the past two years, including an NCAA investigation of the Tar Heel football program and internal probes of possible academic fraud in one department and questionable travel expenses by the school's top fundraiser.
"I will always do what is best for this university," Thorp said in a statement. "This wasn't an easy decision personally, but when I thought about the university and how important it's been to me, to North Carolinians and to hundreds of thousands of alumni, my answer became clear."
The UNC Board of Governors, which oversees the 17-campus system, met privately Friday with Thorp for about 50 minutes. He said afterward that the board didn't reprimand him for problems at UNC-Chapel Hill, noting that he's shown he's willing to act forcefully to clean up the problems.
"The chancellor is performing well by many measurements," Board of Governors Chairman Peter Hans said after Friday's meeting. "I think every chancellor is to be evaluated as we go along. He clearly has some issues on campus he needs to successfully deal with."
Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, a member of the Board of Governors, said Monday that Thorp had become the face of damage control in Chapel Hill.
"Whether he caused (the problems) or not, you know, he's the captain of the ship," Mitchell said. "He has stepped forward and sacrificed himself, really, for the good of the university.
"I do believe at this point his leaving is for the good of the university," Mitchell continued. "I think it removes a target, basically. Chancellor Thorp had become sort of the lightning rod for the university."
UNC President Tom Ross said in the statement that Thorp approached him Sunday to offer his resignation and would stay beyond June 30 if a successor hadn't been named by then.
"Chancellor Thorp's love of and devotion to UNC-Chapel Hill are beyond question," Ross said. "I have accepted his announcement with considerable sadness but fully understand he is acting in what he believes to be the best interests of UNC-Chapel Hill and the entire university. Whether you're measuring the quality of its students, the productivity of its faculty or the benefits of its world-class research, Carolina has made great strides during his tenure."
Thorp, 48, has served as chancellor since July 2008. He previously was dean of the school's College of Arts and Sciences, director of Morehead Planetarium on campus and a chemistry professor.
He will return to his work as chemistry professor and researcher after leaving the chancellor's office, officials said. Under his severance package, which is common in academia, he will maintain his $420,000 chancellor's salary for a year, and it will then be lowered to 60 percent of that as he returns to the classroom and laboratory.