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ECU beginning new school year with new leadership


Ginger Livingston

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Six new members will join East Carolina University’s Board of Trustees as it gathers today for discussions on finances, athletics, enrollment and other challenges facing the university in the coming year. The board on Friday is scheduled to vote on a new leader and discuss the sale of alcohol at athletics events.

The two-day series of meetings also is the first for interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach. He joined the university on June 3 following the resignation of Cecil Staton, whose three-year tenure was marked by controversy over athletics decisions, the purchase of a new chancellor’s house, decreasing enrollment and financial deficits.

The issues influenced a decision by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to reject a recommendation to reappoint four trustees. The decision could have left ECU’s board with no women and was criticized by Kieran Shanahan, ECU’s outgoing board chairman.

The UNC board’s governance committee shuffled its nominees, and Leigh Fanning of Greenville was reappointed. Angela Moss, a former ECU Student Government Association president, also was appointed along Thomas Furr of Durham and Phillip Lewis of Greenville in March.

Robert Moore of Winterville and Jim Segrave of Kinston were appointed to the board by the General Assembly last month. Also joining the board is ECU’s Student Government Association president, Colin Johnson.

Leaving the board are Shanahan and Edwin Clark. Shanahan, who was appointed in 2011 to fill an unexpired term, was eligible for reappointment but did not seek a new term. Clark was not eligible for reappointment.

Also leaving are Deborah Davis, who was not eligible for reappointment, and Mark Copeland and Kel Normann, who sought reappointment but were not selected by the governors.

Sitting board members Vern Davenport – the board’s vice chairman, Max Joyner, Bob Plybon, Vince Smith, Fielding Miller and Jason Poole have terms that expire in 2021.

Today’s meeting is a day-long orientation session for the new members that is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. in Room 253 of the main campus student center. The sessions will include a review the university’s budget. Leaders of health sciences, academic and student affairs and athletics will give reports on their respective divisions.

Interim UNC President Bill Roper is scheduled to address the board at 5:30 p.m.

Friday’s meeting is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. with a presentation by Donna Payne, vice chancellor of legal affairs and university counsel, and Megan Ayers, assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees.

The new board members will then take the oath of office and the board will elect a new chairman, vice chairman and secretary.

The board then is scheduled to undertake a discussion about alcohol sales at athletic events, an action approved recent by the General Assembly. North Carolina State University’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved the sale of beer and wine at Wolfpack athletic events.

The trustees also will discuss the university’s annual audit plan and revisions to the board’s bylaws.

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