‘Racism is institutionalized’ after GOP interference at the University of North Carolina: professors
Silent Sam UNC-Chapel Hill (Screen Capture)

Republicans in North Carolina are receiving harsh criticism after a devastating 38-page report was released on their attempts to meddle with the University of North Carolina.

"A prestigious national academic group charged on Thursday that North Carolina’s legislature had politically interfered with the operations of the University of North Carolina for more than a decade, creating a hostile academic and racial climate at its campuses, including the flagship in Chapel Hill," The New York Times reported Thursday. "A report by the American Association of University Professors details how Republican lawmakers, after taking over the General Assembly in 2010, wrested control of the university system’s Board of Governors as well as the trustees of its 17 individual campuses, influencing chancellor appointments and closing academic centers dedicated to fighting poverty, pollution and social injustice."

The report describes a "new era" after Republicans gained control of the legislature in 2010. The Times says "the report concludes that racism is institutionalized in the system."

WRAL says the report, which was "based on interviews with more than 50 people across the UNC system, decried a lack of faculty input on key decisions and said system leaders are reinforcing structural racism and classism in North Carolina."

"Because of the report’s findings, the AAUP is considering a rare sanction for the state’s university system, and its Committee on College and University Governance will decide the issue at an early summer meeting, AAUP spokesperson Kelly Benjamin said via email," WRAL reported. "Michael Behrent, an Appalachian State University history professor and North Carolina’s AAUP president, said there’s still “a window” for system and political leaders to respond. He also called for professors to organize and said that, if sanctions are levied, it could make it more difficult for the UNC system to recruit top professors."