Thursday, February 19, 2015

Getting Rid of People Who Displease the NC GOP, One At a Time

Art Pope
The expensive charade of pretending to "evaluate" over 200 centers of special study at North Carolina's colleges and universities -- in a transparent scheme to get rid of a major critic of Republican policies in the state -- finally ground to a halt yesterday with a recommendation from the Republicans on the "evaluation committee" that the UNC Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity be eliminated.

The director of that center, Gene Nichol, has been an outspoken critic of the governor and of the NC General Assembly. He has published op-eds in the Raleigh News & Observer which pointed out that laws passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. McCrory are hurting the citizens of this state.

In response to the news, Nichol has a statement that was posted on the News&Observer site late yesterday. In it, he says,
I have been repeatedly informed, even officially, that my opinion pieces have “caused great ire and dismay” among state officials and that, unless I stopped publishing in The News & Observer, “external forces might combine in the months ahead” to force my dismissal. Today those threats are brought to fruition. The Board of Governors’ tedious, expensive and supremely dishonest review process yields the result it sought all along – closing the Poverty Center. This charade, and the censorship it triggers, demeans the board, the university, academic freedom and the Constitution.

Read more here:
"External forces," the higher-ups warned, "might combine in the months ahead." Yep. The most potent of those "external forces" was and is Art Pope, who's had a hard-on for molding the university in his own image. He's also built his empire on exploiting poor people with his junk merchandise at his dollar stores. Art Pope wasn't on the "evaluation committee," but his ideology most definitely was. Art Pope-ism has infiltrated everything in this state, like radioactive dust swirled up by the denotation of a thermonuclear device.

Gene Nichol
Gene Nichols' Poverty Center runs on an annual budget of about $120,000, none of which comes from the state but rather from private grant funding. That money will have to be returned to the donors. However, Gene Nichols himself is also a tenured member of the School of Law at UNC and will continue in that role. "When the Poverty Center is abolished, I’ll have more time to write, to speak, and to protest North Carolina’s burgeoning war on poor people," Nichols said in his statement. "I’ll use it."

Two other centers were also fingered for elimination, and from their names/locations, perhaps you can guess why: East Carolina's Center for Biodiversity and N.C. Central University's Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change. Nothing gets the Right Wing's back up like any hint of "social change," and the Pope Empire has long carried a grudge against "diversity" of all kinds, especially the "bio" sort.


Henery said...

Hell yeah, it's Art Pope and his minions: "I don’t think they went far enough,” said Francis X. De Luca, president of the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank based in Raleigh. “A lot of these centers were started up with a specific advocacy role in mind, as opposed to an educational role.” New York Times this morning

Oh Suzannah said...

Pope's fingerprints is all over this oppression. John Hood (Pope's # 1 Boy!) is quoted in the News & Observer coverage this morning saying "no way no how" was Gene Nichol being targeted. Riiight!

brotherdoc said...

I got a solicitation in the mail from the Civitas Institute. I was disappointed that former Gov. Jim Martin lent his name to the pitch, back in the day one thought of him as a decent, moderate type Republican, not like the Pope fanatics of today. Just goes to show, when you are in cahoots with Money it will buy anything. BTW I sent the mailer reply back (on their stamp) and told them they might as well take my name off their list, I was a progressive Democrat who loved Rev. Barber's Moral Mondays, Obama, and yes, Nancy Pelosi.