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UNC System President Spellings Visits UNC Charlotte

Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

UNC System President Margaret Spellings took a tour or UNC Charlotte’s campus Monday and talked to students as part of her promise to visit all system campuses when she was hired.

At the tightly controlled meeting at UNC Charlotte, Spellings said she is determined to win over her critics who have attacked her conservative policies as secretary of education under George W. Bush. Many people were also upset at the politics involved in ousting her Democratic predecessor.

"Give me a chance, this is the beginning of my third week on the job and I think once people get to know and understand my commitment and passion for public education in our country and at the state level, they’ll see I’ve put my money where my mouth is and that we have a lot in common,” Spellings said.

Spellings said she will focus on keeping tuition and fees low and boosting science and technology programs. She also said she believes in the UNC Board of Governors giving system chancellors room to make decisions regarding their schools, but said, “We need to find the right balance between oversight and governance.”

Last year, the board was criticized for closing three policy centers at system schools, including most notably UNC Chapel Hill’s Center for Poverty, Work and Opportunity.

Spellings used the UNC Charlotte event to promote Connect NC, a $2 billion bond referendum on Tuesday’s ballot. The money would be used to upgrade college campuses, parks and other state facilities. UNC Charlotte would get $90 million of the bond money to build a new science building if it passes.