Education

Thorp: UNC strengthening policies in wake of latest black eye

Posted September 11, 2012
Updated September 12, 2012

— Chancellor Holden Thorp said Tuesday that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is working to upgrade its internal processes so that issues such as one that led to an administrator's resignation don't crop up again.

Vice Chancellor for Advancement Matt Kupec stepped down Monday amid an internal investigation into his travel expenses.

Thorp said he pulled information about Kupec's travels together as part of a routine review. Development officers travel extensively to recruit donors, but he said some of Kupec's trips appeared questionable.

"(There were) trips he was making that appeared to me to be driven personally. There may have been some business conducted on those trips," Thorp said.

The UNC-CH Foundation paid for the trips, and no taxpayer money was used, he said.

The trips were taken with Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former UNC All-America basketball player Tyler Hansbrough. Sources have told WRAL News that Kupec and Tami Hansbrough are dating.

Tami Hansbrough, who has served as a major gifts officer at UNC since February 2011, was placed on administrative leave Monday until the internal investigation is complete.

Thorp said it's too early to say whether she did anything wrong. He said her 2008 hiring by a foundation that supports the UNC School of Dentistry – Tyler Hansbrough was a senior at the time – didn't violate NCAA rules.

Wade Hargrove, chairman of the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, said that Kupec's resignation is in the university's best interests. UNC-Chapel Hill seal on sidewalk UNC investigating travels of top fundraiser, ex-player's mother

"Indicators at this time point to a serious violation of university policy," Hargrove said in a statement.

Trustee Lowry Caudill said the board has full confidence in Thorp and the way the internal investigation is being handled.

"I believe the chancellor acted swiftly, he acted appropriately and the board is very much behind the chancellor with this decision," Caudill said.

Kupec had worked as a fundraiser for UNC for more than 20 years. He said in a statement issued late Monday that his efforts brought $4 billion to the university, but the statement didn't address the reason for his departure.

His annual salary was $349,800. Tami Hansbrough makes $95,000 a year.

"I admire Matt for resigning promptly and graciously," said Jan Boxill, a philosophy professor and chairwoman of UNC's Faculty Council. "He has done a truly splendid job for the university, not only in raising billions of dollars in private funds but also in organizing our development operation in ways that will endure. We owe him thanks for that."

Thorp said he also might call in an outside auditor to review the travel records.

”I’m not going to kid people that we’ve had a tough couple of years," he said, alluding to an NCAA investigation of the Tar Heel football program and an internal review of possible academic misconduct in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.

"We’ve uncovered a number of problems in the university, and they are mostly the results of policies that have been here for a long time that need to be strengthened," he said. "We are determined to find all of the ways in which we can improve the processes that we have here for auditing and controls and IT security."

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  • survivorgirl007 Sep 14, 6:26 p.m.

    I'm not saying Thorp has done the right thing, by any means, but let me give him a thumb's up for striving to strengthen policies as a result of and in response to this fiasco. Let's hope he really means it. I'm a victim of clergy abuse, and the "powers that be" in my denomination have said that they don't alter/strengthen/overhaul sexual ethics policies in response to incidents. So, hey, Thorp's integrity is better than the church's, at the moment, anyway.

  • onlymy2cents Sep 14, 4:03 p.m.

    A golo poster on here yesterday stated since the enrollment is at an all time high and the university is still ranked the number one public school in the state,therefore, these transgressions do not matter to the school's reputation. Glad to see that there are some UNC folks that do understand the ramifications to the flagship reputation when involved in multiple scandals on one person's watch.

  • chouseworth Sep 12, 4:07 p.m.

    Holden, come on. The problems are "mostly the results of policies that have been here for a long time that need to be strengthened"? You are a living, breathing disaster. Man up. Show some modicum of honor, and resign now. I would urge your firing, but the Board has already shown itself to be as clueless as you are. The only thing else for alums and friends to do is withhold their contributions until the University gets serious about repairing its badly tarnished reputation. Money is the only thing that sways these people.

  • tdgdtw Sep 12, 3:58 p.m.

    Jan Boxill, president of the faculty senate, is a professor of philosophy with particular professional focus on sports. Maybe that explains the total lack of comment on the total absence of ethics in this fiasco. Silly me, I always thoughts ethics was a conerstone of philosophy curriculum so that even if you did not have any you would at least understand their role in maintaining integrity, whether at the personal or organizational level.

  • dawg59 Sep 12, 2:58 p.m.

    Say goodbye Holden!!!!

  • derekjames2001 Sep 12, 2:52 p.m.

    Holden, Old Boy, I would like to apply for Kupec's old job. I can't think of a lot worse things than taking Tami on some "trips" if you know what I mean!! Tami might bring the university to its knees, but I know she can bring me to my knees.

  • alabama Sep 12, 2:17 p.m.

    "The UNC-CH Foundation paid for the trips, and no taxpayer money was used, he said."

    Given that Kupec's salary per working day is approximately $1,400, I'd like to knwo if he took vacation days or unpaid leave. If not, taxpayer money ws definitely expended.

  • imtiredofit Sep 12, 1:32 p.m.

    Thorp needs to be removed from the UNC system, the corruption that has developed under his watch is too much to allow him to continue in his position.

  • NCSU84 Sep 12, 1:00 p.m.

    Same old song and dance routine from UNC administrators.

  • Boylan Sep 12, 12:50 p.m.

    "With Thorpe's corruption record, he is inline for NC Governor!" MadMaxx

    Well done.

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