The uproar over Nikole Hannah-Jones’ hiring at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill roots itself in not only race, but the GOP’s coordinated effort to incite division and control any corner of our society that goes against their efforts to gain power.
From pushing laws to make it harder for North Carolinians to vote, restricting abortion rights, attacking NC educators, targeting vulnerable populations to now meddling with university affairs for political gain, NC Republicans are mirroring their counterparts in neighboring states, as Republicans nationwide are desperately attempting to hang onto power and control at all costs — regardless of the impact on their constituents.
- Since taking control of the General Assembly in 2011, Republican lawmakers, with Phil Beger at the helm, have repeatedly imposed their political views on the universities across our state.
- The result of the Republican-led North Carolina Board of Governors, which fails to reflect the diversity of our student body, and institutions, “is an oppressive atmosphere in which many professors are wary of criticizing the Board of Governors or the state legislature for fear of losing funding or having their work restricted”.
- UNC students, faculty and journalism board have offered support for the hiring of Nikole Hannah-Jones and are condemning the lack of transparency and politically motivated denial of academic tenure to the acclaimed journalist.
Let’s be clear: Republicans have spent more time using their position and privilege to deny Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure than undoing their decades of underinvestment in universities across our state.
Not too long ago, when universities were facing significant financial losses and teetering on the edge of a dire public health crisis amid the onset of the pandemic, the UNC BOG adhered to commands of the GOP legislative leaders who installed them and, in turn, the edicts from the Trump administration’s push for a rapid reopening, despite opposition from students, faculty and parents.
Time and again, North Carolinians are shown that the priorities of the UNC BOG do not reflect the concerns of our universities, faculty or students, but rather the policies and agenda of the Republican lawmakers.
The Republicans’ effort to block the teaching of critical race theory in public schools coincides with their refusal to bring on one of the most influential, decorated and important journalists of our era. A woman who invites us to address the discriminatory system that has plagued this country for centuries.
Yet again, Republican lawmakers choose their privilege, comfort in division and unwillingness to address systemic racism. This time, it’s at the expense of universities, faculty and students across the state.