Welcome to Monday, May 24. Today, one professor makes a case for abolishing campus police forces. We offer analysis and new developments in the Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure controversy. And Wingate University considers changing its name.

Today’s Briefing was written by Megan Zahneis, with contributions from Heidi Landecker and Julia Piper. Write us: megan.zahneis@chronicle.com.

An argument for the abolition of campus police forces.

Colleges have become one of the primary policing agents in big cities and small towns across the country. As of 2012, according to U.S. Justice Department figures, 92 percent of public colleges and 38 percent of private ones have police officers, mostly armed with guns. About 90 percent have jurisdiction to arrest and patrol off campus.

With such reach, influence, and largely private authority in our communities, campus police forces are powerful and invasive institutions. That’s why they should be abolished, argues Davarian L. Baldwin, a professor of American studies and founding director of the Smart Cities Lab at Trinity College, in Hartford, Conn., in a Chronicle Review essay. Read it here.

Quick hits.

  • Students and the faculty were split over whether to require Covid-19 vaccinations at Eastern Oregon University, according to a recent community survey. A majority of students said no, but most faculty members said yes. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  • The University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees has officially approved the appointment of Harris Pastides as interim president. Pastides, a former president, was named to the post this month after Robert L. Caslen Jr. stepped down amid a plagiarism scandal. (The State; The Chronicle)
  • Tens of thousands of international students are worried that they may be unable to return to their colleges in the United States this fall, thanks to visa backlogs, closed consulates, and other pandemic-related hurdles. Karin Fischer examined this problem in our Global Newsletter this month. (Los Angeles Times; The Chronicle)
Protesters Vanessa Amankwaa, a graduate student; Michelle Itano, an assistant professor; and Betty Curry hold signs outside a UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees meeting.
Protesters outside a trustees meeting at UNC at Chapel Hill last week

More on the Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure controversy.

In Friday’s Briefing, our Lindsay Ellis shared some thoughts on how the Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure case at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pointed to larger trends in the politicization of public-university boards. She’s followed that up with a new story about the partisan forces underlying the contention. Read it here.

Developments you may have missed:

  • The Chapel Hill faculty’s executive committee isscheduled to meet today to discuss the Hannah-Jones case.
  • The student-body president is calling for the Chapel Hill Board of Trustees to vote on Hannah-Jones’s tenure. (He was sworn in this week as the board’s student representative. (NC Policy Watch)
  • The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation urged the board to grant Hannah-Jones tenure. Her appointment is to the Knight chair in race and investigative reporting, and her predecessors in that chair have been tenured since the position was established in the 1980s. (NC Policy Watch)
  • Journalists who hold Knight chairs at colleges across the country castigated the board’s decision in an open letter.

Wingate University considers its name.


News outlets like The Chronicle weren’t alone in noticing this month that Wake Forest University had changed the name of Wingate Hall, which honored a former president who owned slaves, to “May 7, 1860 Hall,” for the date of a slave auction held to fund the college. The president of Wingate University, which is also in North Carolina, paid attention, too. Washington Manly Wingate, the eponym for both places, never worked at Wingate University, which now educates 3,600 students on three campuses in the state. Founded in 1896, the college was named by an original trustee’s son, who was teaching at Wake Forest at the time. (Wingate had died 17 years earlier.) “This truth hurts,” President T. Rhett Brown of Wingate said in a statement on the university’s website. Although the college had investigated whether it had ties to slavery, researchers hadn’t learned Washington Manly Wingate’s full story.

“It casts a shadow over our university, my alma mater, and is not in keeping with who we are today,” President Brown said. He committed to holding discussions about the college’s name, and the first, a virtual campuswide meeting, occurred in mid-May. “I hope this isn’t something that breaks us,” said Joseph Ellis, chair of the history department at Wingate, “but helps us become a better place for all students.” The first meeting did not reach a conclusion about the name, and whatever is decided won’t be easy: The university’s main campus is in the Charlotte suburb of Wingate, N.C.

Comings and goings.

  • Debbie Storrs, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Dakota, will become provost and executive vice chancellor and a professor in the sociology department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on June 30.
  • Angel Gonzalez, program manager for the Center for Inclusive Education at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York, will become the inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer at New Jersey City University on June 14.
  • Amale Andraos, dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, will step down and become a special adviser to the president.

Footnote.

Academics, are you ready for your — slightly silly — close-up?

Glamorous Academic, a new Twitter account @Glamacademic, showcases scholars’ website photos from around the world, with an eye for the whimsical and weird. One recent tweet called attention to Teofilo Ruiz, a professor emeritus in UCLA’s history department, whose bio features a photo of a beaming Ruiz waving from a carousel horse (“showing us all how it should be done,” @Glamacademic declared). Not to be outdone, Tim Machan, a professor of English at Notre Dame, is shown in his department bio riding an actual horse. For a face-painted Sara Cole, of the University of the Arts London, @Glamacademic notes, “arts lecturers are, quite simply, different when it comes to their choice of profile picture.” And Pascal Wallisch, a clinical associate professor of psychology at New York University, channels Neo from The Matrix in his profile, with an animated background that you’ve got to click through to fully appreciate.

Are you particularly proud of your department-website portrait (or want to embarrass colleagues by sharing theirs)? Send it to @Glamacademic, which welcomes nominations — and, hey, share it with us too.