I'm a graduate of the UNC School of Journalism, having gotten my degree in the early 80s. Back then, we were proud of our position as a national leader with a fabulous faculty and a great reputation. That was then.
Today, the J School is a shadow of its former self and a microcosm of the entire UNC system, both of which suffer from so much self-inflicted damage. Under the GOP's destructive leadership, UNC has endured a series of political and cultural disasters that have moved it from being a national treasure to an international embarrassment.
Our latest bruise came yesterday, when Nikole Hannah-Jones declined to accept UNC's belated offer of tenure. It's a shame the J School won't get to benefit from her passion and strength, but I don't blame her one bit for her choosing Howard University instead. From what I can see, her experience with UNC was an unmitigated clusterfuck, the result of crappy leadership up and down the line. From the board of governors to the board of trustees to the legislature and more, NC's GOP leaders seem hell-bent on destroying what's left of UNC's shattered reputation. Just like they're doing to our entire state. We're scraping the bottom of the barrel in every aspect of education, and now rival states like Mississippi and Alabama as profiles in ignorance.
If I were a planner at Apple these days, I'd be seriously second-guessing the decision to build a corporate center here in the Triangle. Between underfunding public schools and whitewashing national history, the state of North Carolina is showing its true colors: we're a growing haven for bigotry and racism, run by a cabal of good old boys who simply don't give a shit about anything other than petty political power.
I wish Hannah-Jones the best as a Knight Chair at Howard University. She deserves an academic home where the community appreciates her scholarship and values her leadership. UNC simply doesn't measure up.