Message laundering: How the far right is getting its dirty work done at UNC

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. 

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. 

Bottom Line:

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.  

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Alanna Joyner

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