It's bad enough that Art "The Puppetmaster" Pope wants to control the Republican Party and state government - he also wants to control the University of North Carolina. Recent stories about his attempts to illegally peddle influence in local elections reminded me of this story which ran in the Independent this past January.
Anyone who has attended or worked with one of the UNC-system schools--or any other public university system for that matter--should know about the endless debate between faculty and administrators, and the legislature and big money donors that fund them.
The university opened the floor for public comment on Tuesday and will again on Monday, Jan. 30, at 4:30 p.m. in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center. Administrators at UNC created the task force after 71 faculty members signed a letter to The Daily Tar Heel last year accusing the administration of cutting the faculty out of the process to propose a program in "Western Cultures" to the Pope Family Foundation. The letter states, "The lack of transparency and the administration's withholding of information throughout this process are disturbing."
The issue arose when faculty learned the UNC administration was in discussions with the Pope Foundation for a potential multi-million-dollar grant to promote study of Western civilization, which other conservative, Pope Foundation-funded organizations say has been neglected at UNC in the name of multiculturalism.
The Raleigh-based John William Pope Foundation is the primary source of funding for the John Locke Foundation and the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy--which has launched attacks on "left-wing bias" in UNC classrooms and campus groups. The foundation, headed by UNC alumni Arthur Pope and John Pope Sr., gets most of its money through the Pope family's closely held corporation Variety Wholesalers, which owns Roses and a couple other retail chains in the South.
(One professor) explained in an e-mail why she opposed the Pope family funding: "The Pope Center, which is funded mainly by the Pope Foundation, mocks and disparages the university's efforts to respect ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity and to create a more inclusive scholarly community. To judge from its Web site, the Pope Center would like to roll back the clock to a day when the study of western civilization meant the celebration of great white men, with no mention of racism and sexism, or oppression and exploitation of any kind."
Must be frustrating for the Puppetmaster when the help gets uppity.