Local/State

UNC students rally around Thorp

Friday, September 21, 2012

UNC faculty, students, and employees gathered Friday in support of Chancellor Holden Thorp.

Hundreds are asking that Thorp reconsider his decision to step down at the end of this academic school year. The group gathered Friday just before noon on Polk Place, in front of South building on campus.

Thorp announced he was stepping down Monday after a series of embarrassing scandals at the state's flagship public university that ranged from football players accepting gifts, to no-show classes and instructors who didn't teach, to fundraisers traveling for personal reasons using donated money.

Thorp said he was not forced out and that the decision was his own.

Since the announcement, there have been a number of shows of support for the chancellor to stay, including a meeting by the UNC Board of Trustees and a UNC faculty group.

When Thorp was named chancellor in 2008 he was supposed to lead the university for 20 years. Now just five years into his tenure, he has decided to step aside and return to teaching chemistry.

With his wife and children by his side, Thorp made a surprise appearance at the rally. He thanked the crowd for their support, but stood by his decision to step down.

"I'm confident that it's in the best interest of the university and me and my family for me to go back to the faculty next fall," said Thorp.

Thorp is expected to stay on the job until June.

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