It’s now pretty clear that N.C. Central’s chancellor committed corruption

Things are getting bad for Debra Saunders-White. The N.C. Central University chancellor is embroiled in a lawsuit by two former employees who said they were fired for not being black. Her former chief of staff piled on, alleging that she used university funds for personal leisure. Yet another former employee, a current one, joined the lawsuit today. Furthermore, the attorneys representing the former employees have made public some receipts showing more evidence of Saunders-White’s corruption. WNCN News is on the story:

A receipt from December 6, 2013 shows Saunders-White purchased a Yowza Fitness treadmill on and then expensed to the NCCU foundation.

Other receipts show she purchased towels from a Raleigh Marshall’s store and Christmas decorations from Carolina Pottery and Dollar Tree.

Amazon delivered the treadmill, which cost $1,800, to her home address.

N.C. Central and the UNC Board of Governors have declined to comment because it’s a pending lawsuit, but WNCN says they’ve commented in the past, denying all charges.

It seems they’ve run out of plausible deniability; the evidence is pretty damning. What’s disconcerting is that neither N.C. Central nor the BOG have made any statement to the effect of “If this is true, it is unacceptable,” or even “This does not reflect our values.” Just denial, then silence.

Of course, they might be afraid of walking on eggshells–look at what happened at Cape Fear Community College after President Ted Spring resigned. It was clear to everyone he needed to go, but now he’s suing over losing his job. Pushing someone out can be dangerous business, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

But that’s no excuse to side with a corrupt college leader. Cape Fear was right to hold strong even if it led to a lawsuit, and both N.C. Central and the BOG should do the right thing: distance themselves from Saunders-White, and where there is evidence of wrongdoing, call her out on it. And if those receipts show what the lawyers claim they show, she has no business heading a UNC institution.

Harry Painter

Harry Painter writes for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.