When UNC-Chapel Hill announced the hiring of Nikole Hannah-Jones last month, it was cause for celebration among students, faculty and administration at the school....
According to UNC-Chapel Hill, Hannah-Jones is, in many ways, a perfect fit for the school’s Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.
She is herself a Tar Heel, having obtained her master’s degree at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media in 2003. In a distinguished career as an investigative reporter she’s worked for Raleigh’s News & Observer, The Oregonian in Portland and Pro Publica in New York before winning acclaim for her coverage of civil rights and racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine. She has won both the Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant.”
But Hannah-Jones is being attacked by conservative groups, two of which have connections to members of the UNC Board of Governors (including Art Pope, ahem):
Pulitzer Prize? MacArthur Fellowship? “Questionable credentials,” said the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal (formerly known as the Pope Center for Higher Education).
One of America’s most respected investigative journalists? The same group termed that a “charade” concocted by “a powerful coalition with Democratic socialists, the media, and ‘woke’ crony capitalists.”
“This lady is an activist reporter — not a teacher,” said an unsigned editorial from the Carolina Partnership for Reform.
The Carolina Partnership for Reform is "a group that’s long been linked to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger" and it "published an unsigned broadside in which it said Hannah-Jones would force students to conform to her political ideology if they expect to pass her classes" -- an allegation that comes directly out of right-wing victimization fantasies, not out of any actual classroom evidence.
The Carolina Partnership for Reform makes little to no information about itself, its composition, leaders or funders available on its website. But 2018 IRS documents listed then-UNC Board of Governors chairman Harry Smith and current board chair Randy Ramsey as directors of the organization. Asked about the connection this week, the UNC System said Ramsey, who helped found the organization in 2013, resigned from his position there last year. Ramsey’s official 2021 Statement of Economic Interest, however, lists him as the group’s treasurer.
There's much more in Killian's report. Bottomline on what's going down in Chapel Hill: This is all bullying Trumpism let loose on the UNC's flagship institution.