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The News and Observer has published a dozen stories and editorials and letters by people extolling the virtues of the UNC Center for Civil Rights –  all saying roughly the same thing: The professors leading the Center are warriors battling for the poor and the oppressed and the least among us.

It’s a noble picture.

But the heart of the tale is a fiction – because the UNC Center isn’t an academic Civil Rights Center, it’s a political committee disguised as a Civil Rights Center.

It’s fought Republican legislation, lauded Moral Monday protesters, allied with political groups – like the ACLU – and because it is part of the UNC Law School it’s funded with state money. Its employees receive state salaries, state pensions, and state health care benefits.

Which is why there’s a problem: The Center’s politics is paid for by the State.

The best thing for the Center to do is to move its politics out of the University – by turning itself into a private foundation. Then it could be as rampantly political as it wants and no taxpayer would have a right to say a cross word.

Unfortunately both the Center and the powers-that-be in Chapel Hill, starting with the Chancellor, don’t want that to happen. Which means it’s up to the UNC Board of Governors to say, It’s time for the politics to stop. But will the Board do that? In the past, faced with controversy, the Trustees have wavered. Will they waver again? If so, then, the time will have come for the General Assembly to step in to end the foolishness.

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