OBS: statusquOblinger, NC State still doesn’t get it (Sat Update)


One step forward. Two steps back.

First the good news – Norris Tolson was appointed to the Board of Trustees last week. Tolson is first class and is a fantastic appointment to the Board that remains in desperate need of real world experience. brings a fantastic

The president and CEO of the N.C. Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park, Tolson has served the citizens of North Carolina as a business and policy leader for more than four decades. He graduated from NC State with a bachelor’s degree in crop science and agribusiness in 1962. After serving in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps from 1963 to 1965, he joined Dupont, where he held various research, marketing and sales assignments in the company’s agricultural products and electronics business for 28 years. He was assigned both domestic and international business responsibilities and lived in Europe for several years before retiring in 1993.

He then served in some of the top policy positions in the state. He was a two-term legislator (1994-1997), secretary of commerce (1997-1998), secretary of transportation (1998) and secretary of revenue (2001-2007).

Tolson, of Pinetops, N.C., serves on the NC State Board of Visitors and the Alumni Association board, as well as the College of Education Foundation. He also is a member of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Society.

Unfortunately, that news is overshadowed by the continued incompetence in west Raleigh. The Charlotte Observer ran this editorial today.

It’s a good gig if you can get it: a $298,700 salary – not to work, but just to think about when you will work, six months from now.

Don’t worry about all those poor schleps being laid off around you. Don’t fret over the embarrassment you brought your last employer. And certainly don’t lose sleep over the taxpayers who are getting stiffed.

No, if you are former N.C. State Provost Larry Nielsen, feel free to put your feet up, collect your checks and partake in “study leave.”

How in God’s name is James Oblinger still living the life in the Chancellor’s residence? I guess it would be different if the man had ever actually done anything of note that you could cite to support a different point of view. But, to the contrary, the man has made a career of find ways not to do things in order to not rock the boat. That style of living in oblivion is what has gotten our University – and our athletics department – into the embarrassing positions where the currently reside.

For all of the embarrassment that Chancellor Oblinger has brought our University, we continue to await his official censure from the same faculty that ran off Jim Valvano, Bruce Poulton and that was so eager to censure and neuter Marye Ann Fox. Heck, the only embarrassment Fox ever brought was to the excessively content and incompetent people who rest on their laurels and participate in the good old boy network that is far more interested in maintaining their personal relationships and potential political gain than advancing the University towards actual success.

Related: statusquOblinger finds his memory

Saturday, June 6th Update

The chairman of the N.C. State University Board of Trustees on Friday ordered a review of the deal given to former Provost Larry Nielsen after his resignation, which includes six months of leave at his full salary of nearly $300,000.

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NC State Administration

38 Responses to OBS: statusquOblinger, NC State still doesn’t get it (Sat Update)

  1. old13 06/05/2009 at 9:37 AM #

    Yes. What I posted yesterday under the “And You Thought NC State Celebrated Mediocrity” article still applies:

    “I see that Status Quoblinger is at it again!


    With the economy the way it is and the State of NC (among MANY others) making deep budget cuts left and right, he comes up with this one!? Does he have a brain in his head (outside of “book learning!”) Since when is it appropriate to keep paying a non-provost a provost’s salary to simply make lesson plans that others do for a professor’s salary! Outrageous!”

    It’s time to get rid of all the good-ol’-boying that goes on at State!

  2. WolftownVA81 06/05/2009 at 9:57 AM #

    Oblinger must go. This will have an impact on contributions to the school and comes at the worst possible time. The Chancellor has become an albatros. Whereas before he may not have helped elevate the school, now he is actively draging us down. I wish some close friend or associate would help him get a clue and do the right thing. If he stubbornly continues to old on to his job despite his ineffectual performance, he is no friend of NCSU.

  3. packof81 06/05/2009 at 10:18 AM #

    Such stubborn greed and overt crookedness has made an ugly spectacle. It’s a demonstration of how corrupt and incorrigible NCSU administration has become.

  4. Clarksa 06/05/2009 at 10:54 AM #

    Just like fools running the government, seems like its time to fire everyone running NC State and start over from scratch…

  5. phillypacker 06/05/2009 at 11:03 AM #

    This burns me up. There has to be some kind of public statement that can be made against this. I will chip in for one of those banners flying over the stadium that says “Oblinger Must Go!”

  6. Paramarine 06/05/2009 at 11:05 AM #

    “For all of the embarrassment that Chancellor Oblinger has brought our University, we continue to await his official censure from the same faculty that ran off Jim Valvano, Bruce Poulton and that was so eager to censure and neuter Marye Ann Fox.”

    You nailed it right here. How can the faculty be silent about this and still maintain any shred of credibility?

    You don’t have to wait for the ship to hit bottom to know that it’s sinking – Oblinger is damaged goods and he has to go. He’ll never be able to recover to the point where he could someday be an effective leader.

  7. legacyman 06/05/2009 at 11:26 AM #

    Does anyone actually expect the faculty to speak out when they are much of the problem that has haunted us for many decades.

    These folks are just too happy to belong to the “good ole boys’ club”. They are the clowns who didn’t like it when Dr. Fox started moving some dead wood out of west Raleigh so they “censured” her and drove a proactive leader out of town.

    Expecting change from them is like expecting the head rooster in the hen house to abdicate…ain’t going to happen.

  8. beowolf 06/05/2009 at 12:14 PM #

    How in God’s name is James Oblinger still living the life in the Chancellor’s residence?

    Because, in the name of whatever is holy in Raleigh (it ain’t God), dozens of worthless administrators are still “living the life” at NC State. As I wrote back in April, it’s harder to find a competent official at NC State than the glad-handing slackers.

  9. wolfprof 06/05/2009 at 2:11 PM #

    The “severance” deal the provost received is typical for deans and above at every major university I am aware of. The “deal” pales in comparison to those awarded failing corporate execs you commonly pull in millions of dollars. When Moesser resigned as chancellor at Chapel Hill, he was given a year off a full pay. Why is the N&O not talking about that? A separate question, of course, is whether public universities should act like corporations when top execs step down, for whatever reason.

    A second point about OB being ousted: Without the two top university positions being filled on a permanent bases (interims do not count), NC State would essentially be placed in a condition of receivership and be administered by UNC-General Administration (situated, not surprisingly, in Chapel Hill). Who wants that?

  10. WolftownVA81 06/05/2009 at 3:51 PM #

    ^Sometimes no leadership is better than bad leadership.

  11. howlie 06/05/2009 at 4:53 PM #

    I don’t understand how and if ‘censure’ by the faculty has any effect–like the inmates running the prison, it would seem. Rather, popping this pimple would only come from the UNC-16 Institution System Board, wouldn’t it? And they have no reason–and no record–of stepping in when we have controversy. Only during our success. You know the UNC Board of Governors is loving this, and will want to extend Oblingers contracts.

    The Board of Trustees, apparently, just watch–the very definition of “trustee.” Plus, they grant contract extensions and ‘votes of solidarity’ for our leaders. And pay raises. It’s time for that now.

  12. 61Packer 06/05/2009 at 10:35 PM #

    The hogs remain dug in at the public trough and they ain’t budging!!!

  13. graywolf 06/06/2009 at 12:40 PM #

    Bad leadership produces bad results be it either academically or athletically. Currently our administration is out of the park bad and so are the results. Oblinger must go for the betterment of the university.

  14. burnbarn 06/06/2009 at 5:22 PM #

    Good stuff in the news section in the Blow today.. this is rampant in academia… N and O documented many cases at many of the UNC schools including the one in Chapel Hill.

  15. Dogbreath 06/06/2009 at 7:25 PM #

    I went to VMI for my first two years, part of the old corps, class of 97. Transferred to NC State and graduated in 2 years. At the time it was a lateral move academically, as far as I was concerned, and having survived the ratline and 3rd class year, I felt like the challenge of working and supporting myself was what I needed and that’s what the move to Raleigh afforded.

    I still maintain very close ties to both schools and give to both alumni associations.

    As such, I get all of the alumni pubs and sundry communications. Ever since Dr. Fox left, there has been a palpable void in leadership, vision, and an exponential decline in standards across the board at NC State.

    Today, the differences between NC State and VMI are stark, and the quality of each institution is moving in diametrically opposite directions.

    There has to be something the BOT can do to reverse this course. It is heartbreaking, if not maddening to witness what is happening in West Raleigh to our beloved alma mater.

  16. Hoyawolf98 06/06/2009 at 8:48 PM #

    NCSU is to the ACC what GM is to car manufacturers – ossified, turgid, and irrelevant.


  17. legacyman 06/06/2009 at 9:30 PM #

    There are many in the state who would love to see NC State practically disappear. After all, when NC State was on the verge of being born as an agricultural and engineering school, some leaders in chapel hill made a big push to establish an engineering school in their neighborhood and thereby eliminate the need for a school in Raleigh. Guess it has been going on for over a century…

  18. PackBAEProf 06/06/2009 at 10:30 PM #

    Before anyone jumps off a building… I agree that the university looks really bad about this, but for folks to say that our academics are taking a hit… I can’t agree with that. Just this year my research team alone signed incoming graduate students who chose us over programs like Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Texas-Austin, and Virginia Tech.
    All this mess at the top hasn’t seemed to impact the rank and file professor who is just trying to get his/her job done.

  19. ADVENTUROO 06/06/2009 at 10:44 PM #


    All you YOUNGER posters….remember the HISTORY…

    When the faculty got their panties in a wad, they DID run off Jimmy V and Dr. Poulton. THEN, they got the head of the EE department, Dr. Monteith (I could use a play of words….he sunk his MONOTOOTH….into EVERYTHING that Jimmy V & Dr. P. had accomplished).

    Now, the JUNIOR members and YOUNGER faculty saw what happened. They were made to Kow-Tow to the Gladiators that chased the Evil V & P men OUT OF RALEIGH.

    Thus, they learned to worship Mediocracy….and they REALLY became adept at it.

    NOW, these “younger” types are the OLDER and obviously much WISER types….so they KNOW how to handle things.

    NCSU has made all the drum beats about RAISING the pay and benefits so that their TOP LEVEL Profs would not run off to greener pastures…

    Dr. O’s trite statement….”the 6 month PAID LOA is standard in the academic world so Dr. Neilscon can ‘find himself’…”


    Dr. Neilson, with the assistance of Garmin and Magellan’s TOP GPS Units, Mapping software and a laptop with the computing power of a Cray, COULD NOT FIND HIMSELF if he was standing, looking UP at the Bell Tower.

    This is a farce and a fiasco…lets HOPE it eventually results in Dr. O. having an opportunity to “find himself…”

  20. turfpack 06/07/2009 at 12:34 AM #

    Two guys that I play golf with-one a EZU grad -the other a UNX grad- looked at me and said “NCSTATE Ha-Ha-Ha why would anyone want to be associated with that school -their administration and athletics suck”
    This is what we have become-Thanks Obie and Foulup-I’d say I must agree.

  21. nikemike 06/07/2009 at 7:50 AM #

    A CFO who doesn’t know what top officials are getting paid. A spokesman who is “mischaracterizing” information. A chancellor who apparently lied about the severance package and is now, predictably, unavailable for comment. Just another Sunday morning article about the Gang That Could’t Shoot Straight…


  22. dbo2874 06/07/2009 at 2:12 PM #

    Folks this is an absolute clusterf*ck of epic proportions. this was taken from the N&O article. By the end of the week, this dude will have a “retreat package” for the rest of his life.

    N&O: He resigned his position. Why doesn’t he go to a faculty salary right away, especially given these budget times?

    Oblinger: It’s very standard. …That is something put in administrative contracts from the very beginning. That is done widely.

    N&O: So his salary stays at the provost level. You are saying that is just standard?

    Oblinger: Very standard. In his case, it’s six months.

    NCSU spokesman Keith Nichols, on Saturday afternoon

    N&O: To be clear about this now, Nielsen’s pay will not go down to the faculty level after six months. It will go down over 18 months?

    Nichols: That’s correct. It will go down in equal steps over that time.

    N&O: Why was it said the pay would be dropped in six months, but now it’s 18 months?

    Nichols: I don’t know what to say about that. … I do apologize. I should have been more forthcoming.

    N&O: Whose mistake was it?

    Nichols: I gave you what I had permission to give you.

    N&O: So did you know that his pay was over 18 months all along?

    NCSU chief financial officer Charles Leffler, on Saturday evening

    N&O: You say it’s now three years?

    Leffler: We have today pulled together some information and, frankly, in spite of our best intentions, we have not been accurate and that’s not the way we want to be. … The length of this migration, this retreat package for Dr. Nielsen, is longer than we thought it was.

  23. orionpack 06/07/2009 at 2:38 PM #

    Just FYI, I know Leffler and he is a stand up guy (ie not one of the good ole boys). It sounds as if there was a contract signed similar to what big CEO’s sign that is fairly compicated (those lawyers on here I’m sure know more than I do, which is not much). He has been responsible for a lot of good things done on the campus.
    I totally agree that this whole situation reeks, but he is a straight shooter and says what he means and means what he says (not witholding information knowingly).

  24. GAWolf 06/07/2009 at 2:39 PM #

    Two things:

    1) I started in EE and there wasn’t a person on the entire faculty that could relate to the average engineering student, much less the average student, much less the average North Carolinian.

    2) As soon as the provost resigned and “kept his job” I asked the question on this board whether a) he would also keep his pay and b) whether he did or didn’t (if he had a pay decrease) the simple facade of the falling on the sword didn’t fool me.

    This whole situation is getting worse and worse everyday, and quite frankly I don’t call this the “good ol’ boy” network as many of you see it. This is just corruption. There’s a huge difference between building a network to gain a leg up and flat out being corrupt. In my eyes what some of you call “the good ol’ boy network” is a given part of humanity in every culture and every country. There’s always an “in” crowd and an “out” crowd. If you replace “good ol’ boys” the vacuum of power is just replaced by “new” boys. I don’t have a problem with that at all. It’s been a part of life since the beginning of time. What I have a problem with is when ANY person/group gives not favor to his “friends” but uses his/its power to force others to give favor to friends which is otherwise inconceivable.

    That’s what you have here. Here we see the corruption of abusing influence to force favor upon their own. What we don’t have here is “good ol boys and girls” networking. Get over that. Anyone who cries about that sort of stuff simply doesn’t make the effort to get their foot in the door and thereafter build professional connections. That’s wasted effort in my eyes. Instead of making themselves a “have” they sit around and whine about being a “have not.”

    In my world you have rainmakers and you have grinders. A grinder can’t be successful without a rainmaker, but a rainmaker can be successful without a grinder. When I hire an employee, I’ll take the rainmaker. Many of the things I’ve read here make me believe some of you misconstrue “rainmaking” with being corrupt. They’re two totally different things, though obviously the line between the two can easily blur.

  25. oldflyingfarmer 06/07/2009 at 3:59 PM #

    I just wanted to comment on the beginning of this post. Norris Tolson is a great addition to our Board. I know him well and know that he bleeds Wolfpack red. He really hates to see us lose, especially to certain shades of blue. He is an excellent choice that should do us all proud.

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