The American Association of University Professors has released a report of the Special Committee on Governance, Academic Freedom, and Institutional Racism in the University of North Carolina system. The report considers the influence of the North Carolina state legislature on the systemwide board of governors and campus boards of trustees. It discusses how political pressure and top-down leadership have obstructed meaningful faculty participation in the UNC system, jeopardized academic freedom, and reinforced institutional racism.
The special committee focused in-depth on UNC‒Chapel Hill as the flagship campus, but also examined events across the entire system. Through interviews with more than fifty individuals across the UNC system, the report details the pattern of political interference from the legislature and unilateral decision-making from university leadership that has increasingly come to affect the entire UNC system, with clear violations of AAUP-supported principles of academic governance set forth in the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities.
See the recording of the press conference at UNC Chapel Hill announcing the release of the report.
The report has received local and national press coverage:
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.