Friday, September 28, 2012

THORP (A WCHL Commentary)

On September 21st, we went up to campus to attend the noon rally that was billed as an effort to persuade Holden Thorp to stay on as chancellor.  We didn’t go thinking that a grand plea had any chance of getting him to change his mind, but we went because we felt the show of support would lift his spirits and let the entire Thorp family know how so many felt. 

We stood there with our “Thank-You Chancellor Thorp” stickers among hundreds and hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alums and townsfolk, and we felt a lot of excitement, enthusiasm, and energy that came from the crowd that surrounded us.  There were people leaving messages on a roll of butcher paper that ran down the sidewalk, people with signs like the clever one that said “Keep Holden On,” and most impressive of all, the speakers from all sectors of the university and community who made the case why the resignation was wrong for Carolina.  

 I respect Chancellor Thorp’s decision and I accept his rationale.  Moreover, I also understand that leaders have to make the decisions that are best from them and their family.  I now wonder, given the environment that Chancellor Thorp had to operate in over the last couple of years, who we will find to lead UNC in this new normal and under the conditions that seem toxic enough to challenge the very best and most talented leaders.  

 I’m hopeful that we will find the right woman or man to lead us forward, and if we’ve learned nothing else, we know that the leader we get will not be able do it alone.Who will help?