Board of trustees

Each constituent institution of the UNC System has a board of trustees that advises the chancellor on the management and development of the university. UNC—Chapel Hill's board of trustees has thirteen persons: eight are elected by the UNC Board of Governors, four members are appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly, and the remaining member is the president of the student government, ex officio. The board chair is elected by board members for a two-year appointment. The appointed members serve four-year terms and are allowed to serve two consecutive terms.

The university has had a board of trustees since it was chartered in 1789, but its structure and responsibilities have changed over time. The 1789 charter provided for a forty-member board selected by the North Carolina General Assembly, with the governor as board president. The board's responsibilities included financial and capital management. This structure remained roughly in place until 1932, although some aspects changed. Board members had life memberships until 1868, when a new state constitution provided for eight-year terms and membership from each county, which eventually made the board 100 members. From 1868 to 1873 the State Board of Education selected members; thereafter, selection returned to the General Assembly. Under consolidation in 1932 the board of trustees assumed oversight of three institutions: the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (North Carolina State University), and the North Carolina College for Women (now UNC-Greensboro). It continued to have 100 members, but 10 seats were reserved for women. The reorganization of 1971 into the UNC System replaced that board with the UNC System Board of Governors.