Tue September 11, 2012
Top Fundraiser Resigns In Latest Blow To UNC
A vice chancellor and key fundraiser for UNC-Chapel Hill has resigned. Matt Kupec offered his resignation after UNC found he paid for personal trips with the university’s money.
Kupec took trips on the university’s dime with Tami Hansbrough. She’s the divorced mother of Tyler Hansbrough, the former UNC basketball star who now plays for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers. She was working for the university as a major gifts officer. But now she’s on administrative leave and Kupec has resigned.
Winston Crisp is UNC’s vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
"There’s always a reaction of shock and disappointment," Crisp said.
I asked him if there's any sense of, "Gosh, another thing?" He said, "Sure, I think anybody human has that kind of reaction." s
That’s because it’s just the latest hit to the state’s flagship university.
In the past few years, some of its former football players were caught cheating in classes and taking gifts from agents, and an internal investigation found some professors in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies gave out grades without assigning work.
Crisp was quick to say the university is still strong and it’s getting past those issues. But he said they are affecting the conversations he has with students and parents.
"I have lots of conversations with people where the question of the prestige of the university comes up," Crisp said. "I think anyone who values the institution and who cares about the institution has concerns about things that they perceive to hurt the institution."
Former vice chancellor Kupec was making about $350,000 a year, and Chancellor Holden Thorp credits him with raising billions of dollars for UNC. He would’ve been in charge of raising billions more in the ambitious new fundraising campaign the university is planning.
"This is losing their top fundraising official at the beginning of a huge campaign," said Todd Cohen, who founded Philanthropy North Carolina.
Cohen has reported for more than two decades on non-profits, from soup kitchens to hospitals to universities. He said when scandals happen, it’s tough to say how the institutions’ big donors will respond.
"Some people are going to be really mad and say I’m not going to give them another dime, and some people are going to say this is precisely when I need to support them because this could hurt them among people who are going to react quickly and negatively," Cohen said.
He said the key for institutions is to immediately explain to their donors what went wrong and what’s being done to keep it from happening again.