Everybody sees politics through their own eyes. And it can lead to odd things.
Back when Gene Nichol served as Dean of the UNC Law School, he founded the UNC Center for Civil Rights – so naturally when he wrote an op-ed for the News and Observer he praised the Center for championing noble causes.
But if you step back and look closer at the Center’s work over the past decade a different picture emerges – of a group with a partisan political agenda (for instance, opposing charter schools) working hand-in-glove with liberal groups, like the ACLU, filing lawsuits.
Of course, everyone has a right to speak out for their political beliefs. The problem here is, because of the way Dean Nichol set up the Center, its political work is paid for with state money. In addition, every lawsuit it files has the university’s blessing. When the Center goes to court it’s the University of North Carolina going to court.
Former Dean Nichols could have founded his own political group to criticize people (who don’t share his beliefs) for school resegregation and environmental racism and to support Moral Monday protestors. But he didn’t. Instead, he turned part of the UNC Law School into a political group which did all those things – and funded it with state money.
But paying for political advocacy – whether it’s liberal or conservative – with state money is wrong. So now, it’s time to say to the UNC-Center, Enough.