BLACK PROFESSORS AT UNC CONTEMPLATE LEAVING OVER TENURE ISSUES: Members of the Carolina Black Caucus took a poll at their regularly scheduled Zoom meeting this week and found that 70% of the about 30 attendees are considering leaving UNC-CH and more than 60% of them are actively looking for other jobs. “It’s been a conversation that we’ve been having for a couple of years,” Field said. “The Nikole Hannah-Jones situation really just brings the issue to the forefront.” UNC-CH has 226 Black or African American full-time faculty members as of Fall 2020, according to a university report. And 69 of them have tenure, which is about 30%. Black and African American faculty members also make up less than 5% of the total tenured faculty. There are more than 4,000 total full-time faculty members at UNC-CH.
UNC STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT ABOUT SYSTEMIC RACISM ON CAMPUS: Richards explained that he doesn't believe UNC is doing what is truly necessary to enact change. "You cannot reform a system rooted in oppression, racism, and hatred," he said. "Tragically, the term 'reform' at this university continues to be used as a subtle tactic to oppress students, faculty, and staff -- past, present, and future alike." He went on to write that people of color are still facing challenges at the university that should have been left in the past, long ago. "UNC has continually fallen short of meeting the challenge of serving each and every one of its students," he explained. "Students of color must speak twice as loud just to be heard at the same volume; graduate students, especially those of color, are treated as modern-day servants, barely paid minimum wage; our staff and faculty of color are overworked and underpaid, treated like property." And then Richards encouraged Black people considering attending UNC in any capacity to "look elsewhere." "Until this rebirth occurs, Carolina is not deserving of your talents, aspirations, or successes," he said.
HARNETT COUNTY TO PAY $6 MILLION FOR "KKK" DEPUTIES' EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE: A North Carolina sheriff’s office has agreed to a $6 million settlement in a lawsuit in which six families accused the department of a pattern of using excessive force doled out by deputies who had allegedly referred to themselves as the “KKK,” an attorney said Thursday. Raleigh-based attorney Robert Zaytoun announced the settlement with the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of the plaintiffs, WRAL reported. Zaytoun, who said the department's insurer will pay the settlement, didn’t respond to a phone call seeking additional comment on Thursday. The lawsuit also had accused Kehagias and two other deputies whose surnames begin with the letter K of calling themselves the “KKK” and training together in a type of “fight club.” The suit outlined 43 causes of action against the defendants, who denied a pattern of excessive force and argued that other plaintiffs similarly provoked deputies on separate occasions.
BIDEN SIGNS LAW DECLARING JUNETEENTH A FEDERAL HOLIDAY: President Biden on Thursday signed into law a measure that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, taking advantage of sudden and broad bipartisan agreement to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States after years of debate and inaction. In signing the measure — which resulted in an unexpected day off Friday for federal workers — Biden also used the occasion to advocate for more aggressive action on voting access and other racial equity measures that have been at the heart of his administration’s agenda. “Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They embrace them,” Biden said in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. “Great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with mistakes we made. And remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.” Biden and Vice President Harris, the first woman of color to serve in that position, stressed during the ceremony that a national commemoration of Juneteenth — a day marking the emancipation of enslaved people after the Civil War — should also compel the nation to work to achieve equality in education, in economics and in other areas. “Folks, the promise of equality is not going to be fulfilled until we become real, it becomes real in our schools and in our main streets and in our neighborhoods,” Biden said. “It’s not going to be fulfilled as long as our sacred right to vote remains under attack . . . we can’t rest until the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us.” Harris noted that it took more than two years after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which declared an end to slavery in the United States, for enslaved Black people to actually become free. She, too, used the historic moment to implore for action. “We have come far, and we have far to go. But today is a day of celebration,” Harris said. “It is not only a day of pride, it is also a day for us to reaffirm and rededicate ourselves to action.”
RED STATES DEFY FEDERAL GUN LAWS, THREATEN TO PUNISH LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR COMPLYING: Missouri has become the latest state to throw down a broad challenge to the enforcement of federal firearms laws, as Republican-controlled state legislatures intensify their fierce political counterattack against President Biden’s gun control proposals. A bill signed by Gov. Mike Parson over the weekend — at a gun store called Frontier Justice — threatens a penalty of $50,000 against any local police agency that enforces certain federal gun laws and regulations that constitute “infringements” of Second Amendment gun rights. At least eight other states — Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia — have taken similar action this year, passing laws of varying strength that discourage or prohibit the enforcement of federal gun statutes by state and local agents and officers. With Congress in the hands of Democrats, pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association are turning to the states. A growing number of Republican-sponsored gun bills are making their way through state legislatures, all with the purpose of easing restrictions and oversight in anticipation of Mr. Biden’s next moves. Among the most significant are new laws in Tennessee, Iowa and Texas that now allow most adults to carry firearms without a permit. Some states are pushing through all-in-one packages. Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana, a Republican, signed an extensive relaxation of the state’s gun laws, including a provision that allows guns to be carried onto university campuses and into the State Capitol. Governor Parson and the attorney general said they were not trying to nullify federal laws but were instead keeping local police officers from being used to enforce those laws. They said they would not allow the federal government to “tell Missourians how to live our lives.”