The University of North Carolina system’s governing board has unanimously approved a proposal to close a center on poverty at the Chapel Hill flagship, a move critics have called politically motivated, The Charlotte Observer reports.
The controversial vote capped a Friday meeting that was briefly derailed by student protests. The interruption prompted the Board of Governors to relocate to another room that the protesters were barred from entering.
The proposal to close the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity attracted controversy immediately after a working group advanced it last week. Supporters on the board argued that an advocacy organization should not be associated with an academic institution, while critics alleged the proposal was political. Gene R. Nichol, the center’s director, has long been a vocal critic of the state’s Republican leadership.
The American Association of University Professors urged the board earlier this week not to approve the closure.
The board also closed two other centers, one on biodiversity at East Carolina University and one on civic engagement at North Carolina Central University.