Thorp: UNC strengthening policies in wake of latest black eye
Posted September 11, 2012
Updated September 12, 2012
Chapel Hill, N.C. — 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 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."