Professor Gene Nichol

Gene Nichol on poverty: "They are invisible to us."

Should be required reading for all Democratic candidates:

Nichol builds his case by weaving together the ugly data points about income, education, jobs, and health care with personal anecdotes from hundreds of interviews with the people most affected. It adds up to a damning narrative about a large and growing underclass fostered by callous policy-making in Raleigh and Washington.

“Scarcely a word about poverty is uttered in the halls of the General Assembly,” he writes. “Recent North Carolina governors have almost never mentioned it, regardless of political party.”

In defending our small town's public transportation funding, I've spoken several times about our collective responsibility to do what we can to ameliorate some of aspects of poverty. And I get a lot of nods, and polite applause. I have no doubt most of those folks are genuinely concerned, but I also have no doubt most of them don't believe anything will work. They're willing to dedicate a small amount of resources to it, but that's more about "feeling good" than it is about actually bringing about change. The book is available on Amazon and other outlets, and at UNC Press:

Must read: Gene Nichols' comprehensive indictment of GOP governing

Ten charges that encompass hundreds of bad acts:

1. Tragically refused to expand Medicaid. Merely to show disdain for President Obama, they’ve denied health care to a half million poor Tar Heels though the federal government would pay almost all the fare. Hospitals have closed, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, over $30 billion in federal funds are surrendered and a thousand or more of us die each year as a result of one of the most cruel and indefensible decisions in N.C. history.

Please read the entire article. It is extensive, but these things must not be ignored or forgotten. While #1 above is easily the biggest life-and-death failure on the GOP's part, it's just the tip of the iceberg:

Gene Nichol on the UNC athletics scandal

A public relations nightmare, or wet dream, depending on your perspective:

Over $5 million went to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. The folks at Skadden, Arps got a couple million more. We paid $1.3 million to Bond, Schoeneck & King; another million to Baker, Tilly. Almost double that amount went to Edelman, a giant PR outfit, offering expertise on “corporate reputation management.” FleishmanHillard raked in almost $400,000. You’d think the Old Well had relocated to Madison Avenue.

High-dollar outside investigators were reportedly necessary because, after years of stonewalling and false assurance, no one would believe an analysis conducted by the administration.

This article will likely not endear Professor Nichol to the wig-wearing muckety mucks (they don't wear wigs here, that was an Oxford reference) administering UNC's flagship Universiity, but they should pay attention, nevertheless. You let your house get dirty, you clean it up yourself, so you can fully understand how the mess happened. And I have a feeling this particular mess was money-related in the first place:

"Piñata Politics" is an apt description

The vendetta against Gene Nichol is childish and destructive:

A last-minute amendment by Senate leaders Wednesday docked the University of North Carolina School of Law budget by $3 million. Democrats say it's political payback for the school's employment of legislative critic Gene Nichol. Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, questioned whether the "capricious" cut would force reductions in financial aid or public service programs at the school. "This feels like the Gene Nichol transfer amendment," Woodard added.

Apodaca did not immediately respond to an inquiry from WRAL News about the timing and rationale for his amendment, but he said nothing to dispute Democrats' accusations during the floor debate.

When vicious attempts by Civitas to uncover wrongdoing on Professor Nichols' part didn't pan out, the next step was to close the Poverty Center. But that still wasn't enough, was it? Because the end goal is to get the outspoken Professor fired, or to force him to resign. Totalitarian regimes are notorious for silencing voices of opposition, and colleges are usually the first places they clamp down.

NC GOP's relentless attack on college professor

Apparently shutting down the Center is not enough punishment for speaking out:

Pretty sure this effort is mostly to distract from the embarrassing antics of the GOP Clown Car that skidded into town:

Republican efforts to suppress Gene Nichol backfired

Bouncing back stronger than before

On an otherwise dark day for the University of North Carolina, I am happy to announce that, in response to the censorship efforts of the Board of Governors, an impressive array of foundations and private donors has stepped forward to assure that the work of the center, if not the center itself, will continue and markedly expand. Generous grants and donations will allow for the creation of a North Carolina poverty research fund at the law school to support our efforts to describe, document and combat the wrenching challenges of Tar Heel poverty.

The fund will allow us to hire student, faculty and post-doctorate scholars to assist me in probing the causes of, and solutions to, economic injustice. We will carry forward the work of the center within the halls of the university, but with greater flexibility and increased resources. North Carolinians are not easily cowered. They react poorly to petty tyrants. They always have. If the Board of Governors moves to block the creation of such a research fund – a turn that is not unlikely – I will be eager to join them in federal court.

This should serve as another "learning experience" for Republicans, but I doubt they're clever enough to understand it. The capricious use of government power to stifle the voice of an individual or group will always generate a backlash. Call it the "underdog effect" if you like, or even the double underdog effect (going after Professor Nichol and those who are suffering from poverty), but we as a society abhor such behavior in our leaders. Yes, there may be some Conservative pundits and anti-intellectuals who favor this, but they are a distinct minority. What goes around comes around.

The GOP's targeting of UNC System institutes and centers

Ideology hiding under the cloak of efficiency:

Supporters of the review say the process is a responsible and long-overdue look at how universities spend state money.

Critics charge the Board of Governors, now dominated by Republican appointees, with political bias. The UNC centers on the Board of Governors’ short list include ones that advocate for civil rights, women’s issues and the Cherokee people. One center is named for former Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat. Another, a poverty center, is led by Gene Nichol, a UNC-Chapel Hill law professor whose public comments about state government have angered conservatives.

Typical behavior of a tyrannical regime cementing its rule. Get rid of college professors and the research they were working on, especially if that research could/would demonstrate the negative effects of your policy approaches. And for Art Pope and his minions, it has the added benefit of clearing the field so their propaganda will get more exposure and less criticism.

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