- The top faculty organization in the U.S. on Thursday condemned the University of North Carolina System, accusing it of flouting academic freedom and perpetuating institutionalized racism among its 16 college campuses.
- The American Association of University Professors’ governing council unanimously voted to pass a resolution against the system and its board of governors. The AAUP said UNC leaders have not engaged with faculty and thus breached governance standards.
- The AAUP also said the system and governing board have disregarded the system's minority-serving institutions and saddled faculty of color with increased workloads.
The AAUP has already been feuding with the UNC system, notably after the faculty organization published a withering 38-page report on the system in April.
The report detailed many of the same accusations the AAUP lobbed at the system this week, including that it had failed to support academic governance and preserved racism on its campuses. The AAUP interviewed more than 50 faculty members and current and former officials for the April report. System officials rejected its conclusions.
April's report also chronicles last year’s public drama and the subsequent fallout surrounding Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who was supposed to teach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The campus governing board initially refused to grant her tenure, a highly unusual break in precedent, reportedly over criticism on her work on the 1619 Project, a prominent journalistic undertaking exposing how slavery shaped many facets of American life.
UNC-Chapel Hill’s board ultimately granted her tenure, but Hannah-Jones refused the offer and opted to become a tenured professor at Howard University, a historically Black institution in Washington, D.C.
The AAUP’s new condemnation of the UNC system does not mention Hannah-Jones, but does reference another high-profile personnel decision: the system's move last year to not reappoint Eric Muller, a UNC-Chapel Hill law professor, as chair of the UNC Press governing board.
Muller held the position for years, but several times publicly critiqued the system, leading to speculation that officials blocked his reappointment.
The faculty group also said that the system office and its governing board are “disproportionately white,” which has led to “a culture of exclusion, marked by a lack of transparency and inclusion in decision-making, that has prevented faculty members of color from moving into positions of leadership and authority.”
A system spokesperson did not respond to request for comment Friday.