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The UNC Chapel Hill chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) meets regularly to discuss campus affairs relevant to academic freedom, shared governance, and other issues of concern to higher education workers.

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The UNC-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) supports the academic freedom of Kylie Broderick and of all instructors at the University of North Carolina. We condemn the recent efforts of Israeli officials and North Carolina politicians to interfere with the teaching practices of UNC-Chapel Hill instructors. We call on administrators at UNC-Chapel Hill and the UNC System to vigorously defend all UNC instructors from such interference. See the entire UNC-Chapel Hill AAUP statement on academic freedom, free speech, and the course “Conflict over Israel/Palestine.”

In other news, outgoing UNC-Chapel Hill Provost Robert Blouin has announced that the funding of the UNC Library will be cut by $2 million in the current academic year and by $3 million the following year. The UNC-Chapel Hill AAUP chapter strenuously objects to such cuts at an R-1 research university of UNC-Chapel Hill’s stature, which these cuts would put at risk. We call on the UNC Board of Governors (BOG) to rescind the austerity cuts inflicted on Chapel Hill by the BOG’s own business model. We further call on our campus administration to exhaust every remedy before proceeding to cut our Library holdings, jeopardizing the achievements of UNC faculty, researchers, librarians, and students, and undermining the national reputation of UNC-Chapel Hill. See the entire UNC-Chapel Hill AAUP statement against cuts to library funding.

Finally, the national AAUP has launched a special committee to investigate a pattern of egregious violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism in the University of North Carolina System. Among several issues the report will discuss is the widely publicized mishandling of the tenure case of New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, the influence of the gerrymandered state legislature on the systemwide board of governors and campus boards of trustees, and how the use of political pressure has obstructed meaningful faculty participation in the UNC system. See the AAUP announcement of its special committee to report on structural racism and violations of shared governance at UNC.

Our next chapter meeting will be Friday, August 27, from 12:30 to 2pm Eastern.

On the agenda:

  1. Clusterf*ck redux
  2. J-School update
  3. CAS Caucus
  4. Tenure rights (and ongoing appeal case)

Zoom URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89387480339

Meeting ID: 893 8748 0339

Please invite any interested colleagues. Our meetings are open to all UNC instructors, and you need not be an AAUP member to attend chapter meetings.

For the Zoom password, please email info@unc-ch-aaup.org or DM @unc_ch_aaup, or contact one of the officers below.

Karen Booth karenmbooth@gmail.com

Michael Palm mwpalm@gmail.com

Jay Smith jaysmith711@gmail.com

On May 20, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) posted a statement condemning the UNC-CH Board of Trustees (BOT) for failing to award tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones (statement updated June 21, 2021 to clarify that the the BOT did not reject Hannah-Jones’s tenure recommendation but failed to act on it).

Now the national leadership of the AAUP has posted a statement on the UNC Board and Nikole Hannah-Jones, calling on the Board “to immediately reverse its mistaken move to withhold tenure and accept the faculty's recommendation that Nikole Hannah-Jones be appointed to the Knight chair with tenure.”

UNC-CH AAUP chapter member Hassan Melehy has written a commentary for the Academe Blog on “The Right-Wing ‘Renewal’ of Higher Education in North Carolina pointing out that the Board’s failure is just the latest example of the influence over the UNC System Board of Governors and the UNC–CH BOT exercised by conservative activist groups like the Raleigh-based James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

At Slate, UNC-CH professor Alice Marwick and UNC-CH professor and UNC-CH AAUP chapter member Daniel Kreiss have written an article on “The Conservative Disinformation Campaign Against Nikole Hannah-Jones” that puts the situation at UNC-CH in the broader context of “a long-term conservative battle against public higher education and the teaching of American racial history.”

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