The American Association of University Professors is urging the University of North Carolina system’s governing board to reject a working group’s recommendation to close an independent center on poverty issues. The association on Tuesday released a statement saying it would be “greatly disappointed” if the Board of Governors approved a recommendation to close the UNC School of Law’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Community.
Advocates of the center have viewed the recommended closure as politically motivated. Gene R. Nichol, the center’s director, is a prominent critic of North Carolina’s Republican leadership. In a column responding to the working group’s report on the system’s independent centers, Mr. Nichol said the review had been conducted for the sole purpose of shutting down the poverty center. He also noted that none of the center’s funding comes from the state.
“Personally, I’m honored to be singled out for retribution by these agents of wealth, privilege, and exclusion,” wrote Mr. Nichol, a former president of the College of William and Mary. “I remain a tenured law professor. When the poverty center is abolished, I’ll have more time to write, to speak, and to protest North Carolina’s burgeoning war on poor people. I’ll use it.”
Board members who back the closure say the center functions more as an advocacy organization and shouldn’t be associated with the academic institution.
The Board of Governors meets on Friday to take action on the report.