Congressional Democrats seek support services for survivors of Native American boarding schools

UNC-Chapel Hill Journalism dean stepping down

Susan King, dean of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill, will step down at the end of this year.

In a message to faculty Tuesday, King said she never intended to stay in the position for more than a decade. A search for her successor will be launched this week, King said.

Dean Susan King

King was at the center of the controversy over the hiring of acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who ultimately chose to go to Howard University after interference from the school’s namesake donor in her hiring process and a politically and racially fraught tenure fight that made national headlines.

Faculty have for months speculated about whether King would step down at the end of her current contract, which runs through the end of this year. Many have also expressed concern about who may replace King and whether the search may see the sort of political pressure and input from wealthy and influential alumni that characterized the Hannah-Jones controversy.

Read the portion of King’s update to faculty dealing with her plans to step down below.

Now that details have been finalized, I want to share with you my plans for the next year.

Since I first arrived at UNC I have maintained that I did not plan on staying as dean longer than a decade. The deans with whom I worked and admired during my time establishing the Carnegie-Knight Initiative led their schools for 10 years. Media – journalism, public relations and advertising – are in a state of great change. It is not the same world or business even as it was in 2012 when I arrived. I believe after 10 years a new dean will bring fresh eyes, additional perspective and new energy to our school.

So, this will be my last year as dean. I want the transition to be as smooth as possible, although I realize the pandemic and accreditation may challenge the idea of “smooth.” A search will be launched this week and I will remain in place until a successor is named.

I’ll take a leave – as is customary when a new dean steps in – so that he or she has the ability to shape the office unhindered. I plan to return as a tenured faculty member after a leave and to work with our spectacular students to “prepare them to ignite the public conversation.”

There are a number of important searches underway at the University, and I hope we will be able to bring new faculty colleagues into our school this year as well. Our student enrollment continues to grow, and we will need the faculty colleagues we have budgeted for to keep our curriculum full and our workload not overwhelming. In a word, it will be a year of change.

For me it has been a deep honor to work with faculty and staff who are so committed to students and to the high calling of our profession. This last year has been difficult on so many levels, and I find I admire you even more – individually and as a group. Our school culture kept us focused on engaging our students in the big and important issues of the day, our commitment to diversity in terms of thought, race, gender, identity, philosophy and other differences was deepened, and our belief that communication and free expression are at the heart of a multi-cultural democracy has been tested and is stronger. I am proud to say I am dean at this moment. We stand for important ideas, values and commitments, and I constantly hear from students that they know there is a difference in what they learn and experience in our school.

I hope everyone has a good first week of classes and that our super-warm August temperatures lower as does the threat of the variant.

Susan

Susan King
Dean, UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media

Author Theodore Johnson offers a hopeful and patriotic take on combating American racism (video)

In his profound and exhilarating new book, “When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America,” author, scholar, and former U.S. Navy Commander Theodore Johnson persuasively argues that racism is both alive and healthy in our country and a profound – even existential – threat to its democracy.

Happily, however, Johnson doesn’t leave it there.  Weaving memories of his and his family’s multi-generational experiences with racism alongside strands of U.S. history, Johnson makes a persuasive, optimistic and patriotic case that we can still find a blueprint for national solidarity in the exceptional citizenship long practiced in Black America.

Johnson, who grew up in Raleigh, is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, where he undertakes research on race, politics, and American identity. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, he was a National Fellow at New America and a Commander in the United States Navy, serving for twenty years in a variety of positions, including as a White House Fellow in the first Obama administration and as speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Last week, NC Policy Watch was fortunate enough to host Johnson for an online Crucial Conversation in which he outlined his book and responded to questions from the audience — a recording of which which can be viewed and shared via the link below. For the sake of brevity, we’ve edited out the introductions and opening niceties from the recording.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/g9ROL_FTeoTd0wemSkX76VJk5h1n1crEOPFfoT9aWtci6q6sg-ny2OmZR_t8-Kp_.8IfAGjw38NZJcqNr?startTime=1628185557000

August 5 Crucial Conversation: Theodore Johnson on his new book, “When the Stars Begin to Fall”

Join us Thursday, August 5 at 2:00 p.m. for a very special (and virtual) Crucial Conversation:

Author, scholar, and former U.S. Navy Commander Theodore Johnson, discusses his new book, When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America

Click here to register.

“Racism is an existential threat to America,” Theodore Johnson declares at the start of his profound and exhilarating book, When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America. It is a refutation of the American Promise enshrined in our Constitution that all men and women are inherently equal. And yet racism continues to corrode our society. If we cannot overcome it, Johnson argues, while the United States will remain as a geopolitical entity, the promise that made America unique on Earth will have died.

When the Stars Begin to Fall makes a compelling, ambitious case for a pathway to the national solidarity necessary to mitigate racism. Weaving memories of his own and his family’s multi-generational experiences with racism, alongside strands of history, into his elegant narrative, Johnson posits that a blueprint for national solidarity can be found in the exceptional citizenship long practiced in Black America.

Join us for a special Q&A with the author.

Theodore Johnson is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, where he undertakes research on race, politics, and American identity. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, he was a National Fellow at New America and a Commander in the United States Navy, serving for twenty years in a variety of positions, including as a White House Fellow in the first Obama administration and as speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Click here to register.

Don’t miss this very special event.

When: Thursday August 5 at 2:00 p.m.

Where: Online; pre-register from the comfort of your home or office.

Suggested contribution: $10 (click here to support NC Policy Watch)

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or [email protected]

Report: Black patients get more bed sores and infections than white patients at the same hospital

Image: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Black patients are more likely to suffer hospital injuries such as bed sores and post-surgery health problems than are white patients treated at the same hospital.

An Urban Institute report released Tuesday on disproportionate rates of injury among Black patients is based on discharge records from hospitals in 26 states including North Carolina. The Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC.

The study looked at differences in seven surgery-related complications and four general safety measures. Black patients fared worse for four of the seven surgery-related complications and two of the four general indicators.

“Even when admitted to the same hospital, Black patients experience higher rates of hospital acquired injuries or illnesses occurring during or shortly after surgical procedures relative to white patients,” the report says.

Compared to white patients, Black patients had statistically significant higher rates of respiratory failure after surgery, sepsis, dangerous blood clots in leg veins or lung arteries, and bleeding. Black patients were 18% more likely to go into respiratory failure after surgery and 27% more likely to develop sepsis than white patients treated at the same hospitals.

Black patients were more likely to get bed sores and blood-stream infections related to catheters that reach close to or go inside the heart.

The analysis is based on 2017 data and does not include information from some big states, including Texas, New York, or California.

Racism is at the root of these disparities, said Anuj Gangopadhyaya, the report’s author.

“There’s no way that it’s not,” he said. “The question is, who is the actor? This is a symptom not of one or a handful of actors. It’s a system of racism executed across institutions, across providers, and across payers.”

Other researchers have found that Black children are more likely than white children to die after major surgery. Black patients are more likely to have surgery at hospitals that have higher mortality rates and are located in segregated areas.

The latest Urban Institute report found disparities in how Black and white patients fared when they used the same type of insurance. And hospitals’ overall patient demographics didn’t matter. Black patients had higher rates of surgery-related health problems in hospitals that treated larger shares of Black patients, hospitals that treated smaller shares of Black patients, and in hospitals that had higher proportions of patients with private insurance.

Insurers could play a part in reducing racial disparities, Gangopadhyaya said in an interview.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has a pay-for-performance program that links Medicare payments to hospital quality. It reduces payments to hospitals with low performance based in part on how often their patients get infections.

Gangopadhyaya said insurers could develop policies that more directly address racial inequities.

Some data on patient outcomes at specific hospitals is publicly available, but information comparing outcomes for patients of different races isn’t easy to find, Gangopadhyaya said.

“If I’m a Black patient, what are the measures for Black patients?” he said. “It’s hard to determine where quality of care is good for patients that look like you or are insured like you.”