Today, the UNC Board Committee on Stopping Criticism of the GOP Legislature and Governor recommended that the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity be eliminated. Not a surprise, but an outrage nonetheless. After meeting for months, “The panel’s chairman, Jim Holmes, called the review a thorough and legitimate exercise that resulted in less than 1 percent of centers being recommended for closure.”
Professor Gene Nichol, Director of the Center sees it differently and left no doubt as to the goal of the Committee when he said in response, “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.”
Last week, John Hood, president of the John W. Pope Foundation, told a Charlotte paper his thoughts on the reasons for the threat, "There's a bright line between expressing opinions of your expertise and engaging in advocacy. Nichol goes far beyond the causes and solutions of poverty to personally criticize elected officials in ways that aren't academic."
Would John Hood, a visible face and prolific mouthpiece of the massive Art Pope radical, extreme, conservative nonprofit empire for over two decades, have us believe that he does not engage in advocacy? That is certainly what I call this handy brochure that was delivered to every legislator in 2011 by the then Hood-led John Locke Foundation: THE FIRST 100 DAYS: Eleven Action Items for the 2011 Legislative Session.
Make no mistake; the GOP is dead set on tearing down the first public institution of higher education in the country, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is not just some political inside baseball that most of us can ignore. Academic freedom is being destroyed. Academic quality is being compromised. I speak especially to Tar Heel alumni when I say that Art Pope and his money aim to run our precious UNC. Unfortunately, he is well on his way to running it into the ground.