Rescind the election of James Arthur Pope to the UNC Board of Governors

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A slot on the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors opened up late last week when former Senator Bob Rucho resigned. A senate resolution has been proposed by Senate Republicans electing James Arthur Pope to be a member on the University of North Carolina School System Board of Governors, for a term beginning on July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. 

James Arthur Pope contributed millions of dollars in personal and corporate donations from to help create and fund political nonprofits, such as Americans for Prosperity. Arthur Pope served as a founding board member of the white supremacist conservative group. Pope has be involved with policy changes that advocated for limits on voting in North Carolina including an end to same-day registration and a shortened early voting period. James Arthur Pope also contributed funds to the Freedom Partners Action Fund which gives grants to conservative organizations including Tea Party groups like the Tea Party Patriots. In January of 1975, Arthur Pope filed a suit charging Algenon Marbley, Black Student Movement Chairman at UNC, for alleged disruption of David Duke's speech in Memorial hall. This prompted the newly reborn chapter of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom to threatened legal action against the University if there were to be further disruptions of campus speakers. David Duke is the most recognizable figure of the American radical right, a neo-Nazi, and longtime Klan leader.

The Pope Foundation and the Civitas Institute have a long history of animosity toward the UNC System. The Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank, has long assailed public education, often calling for UNC budget cuts. It is funded by the Pope Foundation, whose chairman is conservative million James Arthur Pope. He chaired the Civitas board until 2012, when Governor Pat McCroy appointed him state budget director. In that position, Pope rejected the UNC System budget. the money trail behind HB2 leads to Art Pope, the millionaire CEO of a chain of discount stores who played a key role in financing the Republicans' 2010 takeover of the state legislature through a network of super PACs he funded. the family foundation chaired by Art Pope funded groups that successfully pushed for an anti-gay marriage amendment to the North Carolina Constitution. In the 14 years leading up to the amendment's passage, the John W. Pope Foundation provided nearly $1 million to the N.C. Family Policy Council (NCFPC) which had been advocating for the amendment since 2004, as well as additional funds to several other anti-LGBT rights groups.

As the University of North Carolina System serves a diverse group of students, it is important that those in leadership positions, reflect, understand, and respect the values and needs of those it serves. It would be disrespectful and inhumane to ignore the years of trauma that has ensued due to the racism embedded in institutions, such as our schools of higher learning. With the UNC System continuing to lead the way in the arena of higher education, it is imperative that we set the precedent for education that is equitable, inclusive, and accessible. The election of Arthur Pope to the UNC System Board of Governors does not accurately reflect the wants and values of the all the people the system serves and falsely represents the core values of the UNC System. Please sign this petition, so we can rescind the election of Arthur Pope to the UNC Board of Governors.