The Corner


The AAUP Comes after the University of North Carolina

Nikole Hannah-Jones on CBS This Morning in 2019. (Screengrab via YouTube)

The American Association of University Professors purports to represent the interests of the faculty, but, like almost everything related to higher education, it has been taken over completely by the far Left.  The AAUP now represents the faculty the way the ACLU upholds civil rights — very selectively.

Recently, the AAUP announced that it is going to investigate the University of North Carolina. The pretext for this investigation is the Nikole Hannah-Jones affair, where the university didn’t immediately give the so-called scholar tenure. That became a rallying point for leftists eager to demonize “racism” anywhere and everywhere.

But as the Martin Center’s Jenna Robinson observes in today’s article about this, there has already been widespread investigation into this matter. The AAUP has a much wider agenda here.

She writes, “Thus, the investigation will go far beyond the Hannah-Jones incident. According to AAUP’s press release, the report will also cover ‘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.’ In short, the AAUP will be looking into all the things it doesn’t like about the UNC System: namely, its conservative Board of Governors and Board of Trustees, their statutory authority to oversee faculty appointments, and the Republican-controlled legislature that appointed them.”

The composition of the committee charged with this investigation is revealing.  It consists entirely of left-wing zealots. Not a single person who might take a relaxed view of the way UNC is run.

Take the issue of faculty hiring. The AAUP professes concern over “litmus tests” that might exclude radicals like Hannah-Jones. Robinson responds, “But to anyone paying attention, it’s clear that the AAUP has it backward. It is faculty hiring committees (not the Board of Governors) who are now instituting political litmus tests reminiscent of Joseph McCarthy—in the form of required ‘diversity statements’ from job and tenure candidates. And the new segregationists can be found amongst faculty and administrators who promote separate resources and activities for different ‘affinity groups.’ One recent instance made headlines at Appalachian State University, where a ‘black male’ housing initiative was paired with a Black Panther course.”

This is nothing more than an effort at pushing UNC further into complete politicization.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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