UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC BOG pushes Folt out several months early

Calling the move childish would be an insult to children:

The Board of Governors accepted Folt’s resignation during a closed emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon, specifying a date months earlier than the chancellor had intended to leave. The board accepted the resignation effective Jan. 31, whereas Folt had said she planned to step down after commencement, scheduled for May.

“She resigned, we accepted it,” said Harry Smith, Board of Governors chair, during a question-and-answer session with reporters, the audio of which was provided to Inside Higher Ed. “We just felt it was better to compress the timeline and then work more toward a healing process.”

Compress the timeline? Reducing 4 1/2 months to a couple weeks is a hell of a lot more than "compressing the timeline." And as far as I'm concerned, the only "healing process" that will actually work is to purge the UNC Board of Governors of any and all political appointees, and a good place to start is with the Chairman himself, whose ethics are more than a little strained:

UNC students harassed online by associate of Pittsburgh mass-murderer

And apparently he lives in the area, too:

Another one of the website’s more prolific users, known as Jack Corbin, is ideologically allied with the suspected killer, Robert Bowers, 46, who would often repost Corbin. And Corbin -- whose real name is unknown, but has generated a following of more than 2,000 people on Gab -- has been harassing college students online, notably activists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, near where Corbin says he lives.

On Gab, Corbin took delight in coming up with a nickname for a graduate student who has protested Silent Sam -- calling her “lampshade.” One of Corbin’s followers had taunted the student, saying he would take her to the lampshade factory, apparently a reference to stories of Nazis who made lampshades from human skin. The student declined to be interviewed but told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Corbin has posted comments about her “looks, ethnicity and background” since August and she had started learning cardio kickboxing because she feared potential violence.

I have nothing but contempt for punks like this who hide behind an alias so they can threaten women with impunity. It's bad enough they have to deal with casual sexism and misogyny on a daily basis from males they do know, but some faceless stranger "joking" about brutal violence is beyond the pale. The 1st Amendment was not written to support predators and bullies, it was written to protect the voices of the oppressed; to keep the government from stifling legitimate complaints. The only thing "legitimate" about this stuff is that it's legitimately disgusting:

Maya Little walks out of Honor Court over biased student-judge

Recusing himself would have been the honorable thing to do:

Maya Little and her supporters walked out of the second half of her Honor Court hearing Friday afternoon after Little expressed concern over the fairness of the trial.

The Graduate and Professional Honor Court gathered at 3 p.m. Friday for the second half of the hearing that will decide Little’s fate for painting Silent Sam with red paint and her own blood in April after Thursday's hearing ended with tension. Audience members found pro-Silent Sam material on adjudicator Frank Pray’s social media, and deliberations ensued concerning his ability to be impartial.

Okay, aside from the fact that Pray is an outspoken Silent Sam supporter, he's also the Chairman of UNC's College Republicans. He shouldn't even be on the honor court, and the same goes for political leaders from the left. It may seem like a trivial exercise when compared to the real criminal justice system, but it's far from trivial. Decisions made there will follow students for the rest of their lives, and those adjudicators need to be as objective as is humanly possible. And after Pray brought anti-Muslim extremist David Horowitz to campus a few years ago, his objectivity is literally non-existent:

News deserts are expanding while democracy hangs in the balance

Making informed decisions begins with accurate information:

More than one in five papers has closed over the past decade and a half, leaving thousands of our communities at risk of becoming news deserts. Half of the 3,143 counties in the country now have only one newspaper, usually a small weekly, attempting to cover its various communities. Almost 200 counties in the country have no newspaper at all. The people with the least access to local news are often the most vulnerable – the poorest, least educated and most isolated.

Before we talk about Corporate media issues, we need to look at the term "incorporated." When communities grow to the point they decide to be self-regulated, to provide services not readily available from county governments, they incorporate into a distinct municipal entity. That requires they begin exercising authority over citizens within those boundaries, and now we come to the part where democracy is in jeopardy. Because authority without responsibility and accountability is tyranny, by any other name. The Fourth Estate is a critical element in a democracy, because it provides a neutral assessment (it's supposed to, anyway) of the performance of elected representatives. And like many issues that plague our society, the poor and under-educated are the most at-risk of losing that critical information:

Hate mail sent to UNC Muslim Students Association

Not all cartoons are harmless or funny:

The comics included angry imagery of camels and Muslims, as well as warnings about Islam's invasion into Western countries. One cartoon read, "If you say anything bad about 'Allah' or his prophet, Muhammad...some of them will try to hurt you." Another cartoon strip read, "Here's how they invade today. First, they're peaceful, until they gain power — then look out! England is losing control and is closer to accepting Sharia* (sic) law."

“It's definitely an eye-opener because we go about our lives as any other student on this campus," MSA publicity chairperson Malak Harb said. "For us to receive things like that, it kind of makes us stop for a second and realize, you know what, there are people who see us as less than. They try to make it very clear to us that we are not like everyone else.”

Using cartoon imagery to promote hatred is definitely not new; it was standard fare for anti-Semitic movements dating back to a century ago. And one of the main reasons bigots use this is because they are free to craft the angriest and ugliest facial features they want, in order to frighten gullible white people. Jews and recently freed slaves were depicted in this fashion even by mainstream newspapers, and average white Southerners didn't even bat an eye. And that's why it's more important then ever for us to avoid falling into the same old prejudicial trap:

Bravery in the face of male sexual privilege

Hat-tip to Annie Kiyonaga at the Daily Tarheel:

"I remember an eighth grade boy from Mater Dei, an all-boys Catholic middle school in our area, walking up to me and asking me to give him a blowjob. And I distinctly remember telling him to go fuck himself. I remember the adrenaline rush of standing up for myself, and the concurrent swell of queasiness I felt when I thought about this random boy, with his adolescent swagger, feeling entitled enough to ask me for something that I didn’t even fully understand yet. I remember feeling small and ridiculed, despite my big, confident refusal. I was 12."

Follow the link and read the whole thing, including the parade of sexist idiots trying their best to shut her up in the comments. This has been going on seemingly forever, but brave young women like Annie may hold the only key to stopping it, through exposing the disgusting underbelly of our society's biggest blind-spot.

CoA rules UNC must release details of administrative sexual assault cases

Sweeping it under the rug is no longer an option:

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals said UNC must release the names of people found responsible for rape, sexual assault or any related acts of sexual misconduct through the University's Honor Court, Committee on Student Conduct or Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

Erica Perel, the general manager of the Daily Tar Heel, said she's glad the case is coming to a resolution. "This information is something that Daily Tar Heel reporters have been seeking for quite a few years, as DTH reporters have reported on sexual assault on UNC’s campus and UNC’s response to those assaults," Perel said. "This will kind of help complete the picture of the true nature of assault on campus."

Overall, this is a good thing. Some victims and their advocates have made legitimate arguments that having their identity revealed can make their lives harder, and could discourage others from coming forward in the future. But sexual predators are almost always repeat offenders, and keeping their behavior confidential merely puts other females at risk, even if it's a delayed risk:

Anonymous UNC faculty group G17 forces Folt to call for removal of Silent Sam

One way or another, that dude is history:

Updated at 10: 37 p.m: An anonymous group of 17 UNC faculty members announced on their Twitter account it received notice from the chancellor's office that Chancellor Carol Folt will ask Gov. Roy Cooper to petition the N.C. Historical Commission to relocate Silent Sam.

The tweet said the governor will be asked to immediately petition on the groups that recent events suggest the monument must be moved to be preserved. The group said it will stand down but will "re-engage if the chancellor fails to follow through on her promise."

Of course the right-wing nutters are howling at the moon, calling for an investigation to determine who these professors are and get them fired and/or arrested. But the truth is, the UNC administration has brought this on themselves by farting around and hoping the problem would magically solve itself. As far as hurting the reputation of the school, it's the statue and not the controversy that has done that. Silent Sam should have been removed a long time ago, but after Julian Carr's speech was widely published, in which he bragged about whipping a female slave until her dress was in bloody tatters, it should have been a no-brainer. G17 isn't a "splinter" movement emanating from just one school, it has members from across the campus:

UNC to white supremacist Richard Spencer: Nope

Kudos to Chancellor Folt for making the right decision:

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt has declined a request from the National Policy Institute to rent a space for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus, citing safety concerns. “Our basis for this decision is the safety and security of the campus community—we are not willing to risk anyone’s safety in light of these known risks,” Folt said in a statement.

“I am deeply saddened and disturbed that the violent and virulent rhetoric being espoused by extremist groups has jeopardized the ability of campuses to promote robust dialogue and debate about important issues while ensuring public safety.”

What she said. It's long past time we stop allowing these racists to spew their hatred under the guise of pseudo-intellectual debate. Keep in mind, under the new GOP "Campus Free Speech" law just enacted, students who would have protested this bigoted nut-job would have faced punishment for that. Which is probably *exactly* why the National Policy Institute wanted to have him speak now, so they could force the UNC administration to carry out said punishments. This ain't over yet, folks. They'll pick another school in the UNC System before you can light that tiki torch, so keep your peepers open

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