RALEIGH (May 3, 2023) – The NC House made its appointments to the UNC Board of Governors this week – and added a touch of ethnic and political variety in the process.
The House reappointed four current members of the board – Dr. Pearl Burris-Floyd of Gaston County, C. Philip Byers of Rutherford County, Terry Hutchens of Cumberland County and Alex Mitchell of Chatham County.
It also named two new members:
- R. Gene Davis Jr., a Democratic lawyer from Raleigh who currently serves on the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees; and
- Swadesh Chatterjee of Cary, an Indian-American businessman who has run an industrial instrumentation company and served on the boards of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and other life-science companies. Chatterjee also serves as Vice Chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor’s Global Leadership Council.
Failure to reflect the demographic, geographic or political makeup of North Carolina has been a frequent criticism of the Republican-dominated Board of Governors in recent years.
Just six of the UNC System board’s 24 members – 25% – are women, even though nearly 60% of the System’s students are female.1 Burris-Floyd, who also happens to be Black, is the only woman appointed this year by either the House or the Senate.
The General Assembly appoints all members of the 24-member board, with overlapping four-year terms. So each chamber appoints six members every two years.
The state Senate made its appointments in March, adding two more white male former senators to the board.
Until Davis’s appointment, former state senator Joel Ford was the only registered Democrat on the board.