Due to “a pattern of egregious violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism,” the American Association of University Professors is investigating University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Here is another case of the “chickens coming home to roost.”
The AAUP announced last month that a special committee will highlight the issues surrounding the UNC system, along with the unnecessary mismanagement of New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure case. After a long, drawn-out process, Hannah-Jones was hired at UNC-Chapel Hill but ultimately rejected the invitation and instead opted to work at Howard University.
The accomplished Hannah-Jones was brought on at North Carolina as a Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism, but received backlash because of her Pulitzer Prize-winning work on The 1619 Project, and, you know, being a woman oozing Black excellence.
A report in the News Observer touched base on the scope of the American Association of University Professors’ investigation.
The AAUP’s special committee will also look into the “influence of the gerrymandered state legislature” on the UNC System Board of Governors and campus boards of trustees across the state. The individuals on those governing boards are largely appointed by the Republican-controlled state legislature. The committee will examine “how the use of political pressure has obstructed meaningful faculty participation in the UNC system.”
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As the late, great John Witherspoon once said: “That’s yo’ ass, Mistah Postman…”
More on the concerns regarding UNC’s faculty:
The AAUP’s concerns are similar to those recently made by UNC-CH faculty, former system leaders and other stakeholders as part of the Coalition for Carolina. They’re working to defend the university from political interference, which they say has led to campus controversies, including Hannah-Jones’s tenure, the handling of the Silent Sam Confederate monument and re-opening plans and vaccine protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also want campus administrators and faculty to have more autonomy to make decisions that affect their campus.
Michael Behrent, the president of the North Carolina State Conference of the AAUP, said this investigation was prompted by “longstanding and widespread frustration from faculty” at campuses across the system who called attention to the systemic problems.
Hannah-Jones’ tenure case and the chancellor selection at Fayetteville State University caught the attention of the organization, but issues within this system have reared its ugly head for upwards of a decade, Behrent stated.
I wonder what type of violations the AAUP will find during this investigation. Only time will tell.