A national group of university professionals is investigating what it's calling “structural racism” in the University of North Carolina system, particularly at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The American Association of University Professors is looking into what it says is “a pattern of egregious violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism” within UNC.

A recently formed committee is investigating the system in the wake of a tenure controversy involving journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, accusing the school of “mishandling” the procedure. 

Hannah-Jones turned down a tenured position at UNC-Chapel Hill after questions were raised about her work on The 1619 Project, which reexamined U.S. history through the lens of race and slavery.

The News and Observer reports the committee will also examine what impact the Republican-led state legislature has had on the UNC System Board of Governors and its trustees. Those individuals are largely appointed by lawmakers.

A group spokesman says the investigation was prompted by complaints from UNC faculty at campuses across the state.

The report is expected to be released in early 2022 and could result in censure of the university system. That in turn could influence prospective academic job-seekers to look elsewhere. 

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