Margaret Spellings resigning as UNC System president

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The head of the state's 17-campus university system is resigning.

Margaret Spellings informed UNC Board of Governors of her decision this morning during a closed-door session that lasted two hours.

Spellings will leave UNC on March 1st and will get a separation package. That includes a $500,000 separation payment and $35,000 in relocation expenses.

Spellings was halfway through the five-year contract she started in March 2016. She said March will mark her third anniversary at UNC "and that was the right time for me," Spellings said.

"North Carolina’s public universities are the lifeblood of the state. They are pillars of communities, drivers of economies, and paths to opportunity for people of every age and background. The state’s commitment to higher education is what drew me here three years ago, and it’s what propelled me forward every day on the job,” said Spellings. “I will forever be honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve alongside our terrific chancellors, faculty, staff, students and our Boards of Trustees and Board of Governors."

“Together, we held tuition in check; opened the doors to more rural, low-income, and first-generation students; and earned deeper support than ever from our lawmakers and the public. We’ve kept our focus on the core challenges facing North Carolina, and we’ve made real progress.”

The former member of President George W. Bush's cabinet was selected after the Republican-majority North Carolina university board forced out her predecessor, who got the job under Democratic control.


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The state's public university board is now meeting behind closed doors in an emergency session amid news reports that Margaret Spellings is leaving as president of the state's 17-campus system.

In a statement, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors said it would hold an emergency session Friday morning to "consider an executive personnel matter."

The meeting started at 10:00 a.m. and immediately went into closed session. UNC is expected to hold a news conference after the meeting.

A spokesman for Spellings, the former U.S. education secretary, did not respond to calls, emails or text messages Thursday.

Spellings is halfway through the five-year contract she started in March 2016.

The former member of President George W. Bush's cabinet was selected after the Republican-majority North Carolina university board forced out her predecessor, who got the job under Democratic control.

Some power brokers in the Republican-dominated state legislature saw her national reputation as giving her too much independence.



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University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings plans to step down as the chief executive of the 17-campus system, sources told WRAL on Thursday.

Although the timing of her departure hasn't been set, Spellings wants to return to her home state of Texas, the sources said.

The UNC Board of Governors has scheduled an emergency meeting for 10 a.m. Friday morning "to consider an executive personnel matter."

Spellings' three-year tenure as UNC president has been rocky from the start. After former President Tom Ross was forced out in early 2015, a tumultuous seven-month search marked by student protests and board infighting ended with the Board of Governors voting unanimously for Spellings.