The Board of Governors announced Friday that Peter Hans, the current president of the North Carolina Community College System, will be the new president of the University of North Carolina System. Hans will assume the role in August. 

The news comes after a months-long search delayed by COVID-19. Hans succeeds Margaret Spelling, who resigned in 2019 after serving three years in the position. William Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine, has served in the interim. 

The news was led by a joint statement from Senate leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, and Governor Roy Cooper, which was released while the emergency Board of Governors closed-door meeting was still in session. 

The Board of Governors vote on the new head of the 17-campus public university system was unanimous. 

“Peter Hans has done tremendous work as president of the N.C. Community College System, and he’s the right choice for UNC System president,” the joint statement, released through Senator Berger’s office, read. “That we all agree on Peter is a testament to the respect he commands as a competent, able leader.”

Hans, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, previously served on Board of Governors in 2003, 2007, and 2011, and led the board as chair from 2012 to 2014. He has been president of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) since May of 2018. 

Hans also has a history in state politics and has served as an advisor to prominent Republicans like Elizabeth Dole, Lauch Faircloth, and Richard Burr. 

Although his more recent political appointments have included bipartisan collaborations, Hans has long taken conservative stances. In a 1988 Daily Tarheel article, Hans, then an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill and a spokesman for the student panel advising a conservative group called Campus Watch, was involved in an initiative to stop student fees from going to the Carolina Gay and Lesbian Association.

The article mentioned that the three students quoted, including Hans, were “personally opposed to homosexuality,” with Hans stating that his views on homosexuality were “irrelevant to the debate.” 

The INDY reached out to Hans for comment on The Daily Tarheel article, which was not immediately returned.

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