Further reading on Wyatt Outlaw, NC history and the cost of white supremacy

If you’ve already read today’s Policy Watch special report on the 1870 lynching of Wyatt Outlaw and its connection to the modern problems in Alamance County, you may want to read more.

Today’s piece is the first in a Policy Watch series on Alamance County that will include pieces on local government, the sheriff’s department, public schools and environmental justice.

But our initial story on Wyatt Outlaw and  the history and continuation of white supremacy in the state would not have been possible without the scholars and activists who spoke to us for the piece and the work they’ve already done. All of it is worth your time.

If you were intrigued by what  Duke University’s Dr. William Darity had to say about systemic inequality and the racial terror campaigns designed to preserve it, you should read  From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, Darity’s recent book with co-author A. Kirsten Mullen.

Dr. William Darity.

The Rev. Ervin Milton  talked with us about modern Alamance County and the connections to story of Wyatt Outlaw. He is a regular contributor at the Burlington Times-News. His columns, including this week’s on the meaning of Lent,  can be found here.

The Rev. Ervin Milton.

 

Dr. Keisha Bentley-Edwards, a developmental psychologist and assistant professor of Medicine at Duke, helped us with a closer look at the psychological aspect of white supremacist thinking and the cycle of violence it has perpetuated throughout our history. Her paper, How Does it Feel to be a Problem? The Missing Kerner Commission Report, is essential reading.

Dr. Keisha Bentley-Edwards.

For a deep dive into the life, death and legacy of Wyatt Outlaw, you need to read Dr. Carole Troxler’s “To look more closely at the man”: Wyatt Outlaw, a Nexus of National, Local, and Personal History She is a historian and professor emerita at Elon University whose work on the Outlaw story is widely considered definitive.

Dr. Carole Troxler.

Allison takes the helm at Fayetteville State University despite recent controversy

Fayetteville State University Chancellor Darrell Allison.

Today is the first day on the job for Fayetteville State University Chancellor Darrell Allison. The former UNC Board of Governors member and school choice lobbyist has been under criticism by alumni, students and some faculty for the highly unusual selection process that vaulted him ahead of other candidates for the $285,000 a year leadership position.

Investigative reporter Joe Killian discussed the compromised process this weekend on Policy Watch’s News & Views.

Click below to hear Killian’s interview with Rob Schofield and learn what this might mean for future university appointments.

Reporter Joe Killian

On Tuesday, the legislature’s Senate Select Committee on Nominations will consider a resolution electing former state senator Joel D. Ford to the UNC Board of Governors to replace Allison.

If approved, Ford would earn a four year term on the board.

FSU trustees approve $12,400 to lease home for chancellor-elect

The Fayetteville State University Board of Trustees executive committee met Tuesday as controversy mounts over the appointment of Darrell Allison as the school’s next chancellor.

The board members did not discuss the growing opposition to the former board of governors member by students, faculty, alumni and even trustees themselves. Instead, they agreed to lease Allison and his family a house in Fayetteville for the next four months. The price tag: $3,100 per month.

As with all UNC System chancellors, Allison’s contract provides him the use of a car and residence in addition to his $285,000 per year salary. Allison will officially take the school’s top leadership post on March 15, but Interim Chancellor Dr. Peggy Valentine will need to move out of the house the school keeps for the school’s chancellor before Allison and his family can take residence. Time is also needed  to make any repairs or renovations, Vice Chancellor for for Business and Finance Carlton Spellman told board members Tuesday.

Fayetteville State University Chancellor-elect Darrell Allison.

“We anticipate that will be somewhere between 90 days and we just want to give ourselves a bit of a buffer and we’re doing everything we can to facilitate a smooth transition between Interim Chancellor Valentine and Chancellor-elect Allison,” Spellman said in the remote meeting.

Four months was the shortest lease the school found available in the area, Spellman said, and would assure enough time for a proper transition.

When Spellman revealed the $3,100 per month figure, an unidentified voice on the video call was heard to say “Hell no!,” leading to laughter.

After a short discussion, the board members approved the expenditure.

It was widely expected there would be some discussion of the ongoing opposition to Allison as the school’s new chancellor. But this week, sources on the board told Policy Watch that attorneys for the UNC System have again warned them against public discussion of the confidential search process.

On Tuesday, the American Association of University Professors voiced its opposition to the search process that ended with Allison’s appointment, adding to a chorus that already included the school’s Faculty Senate, student government leaders and national alumni association.

“We understand that, consistent with AAUP-supported standards, faculty representatives served on Fayetteville State University’s chancellor’s search committee and the evaluation of five finalists, which did not include Mr. Allison [the former Board of Governors member who was chosen], by the board of trustees took into account comments received from the faculty at-large following virtual forums,” the group wrote in a letter to Stuart Augustine, chairman of the school’s board of trustees.

With the choice of Allison, the letter said, it is obvious that the inclusion of faculty in the process was disingenuous.

“For the board to change course and appoint Mr. Allison suggests that the faculty’s participation in the search process was merely for appearance’s sake and calls into question whether the search itself was conducted in good faith,” the group wrote. “That the board instead appointed as chancellor a candidate who was not among the five finalists raises the more serious concern that the board subordinated principles of shared governance entirely in its disregard of the faculty’s appropriate role in the process.”

FSU trustees committee meets this week as protests over chancellor choice continue

Students, alumni and community members are rallying Monday against the selection of Darrell Allison as chancellor of Fayetteville State University.

The protest, in the parking lot of the NAACP office in Fayetteville,  is billed as an event in opposition to “the UNC Board of Governors’ heavy-handed treatment of this HBCU chancellor search.”

On Tuesday the Fayetteville State University Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee will meet at 4:30 p.m. The meeting, announced late Friday, comes on the heels of contentious meetings with faculty over Allison’s appointment.

Allison, a former member of the UNC Board of Governors, was chosen by the board despite not initially being a finalist in the search for the school’s next leader. Students, faculty, alumni and even members of the school’s board of trustees have questioned the process and the refusal of those involved to answer questions about how Allison was chosen. After the Fayetteville Observer confirmed that Allison’s mother-in-law was a member of the school’s board of trustees, Allison broke his silence in a series of interviews with local media in the Fayetteville area. But Allison did not address specific questions about the process by which he was chosen over more than 60 applicants, many of whom had education and experience he lacks.

 

Last week the Raleigh-Apex NAACP joined the FSU faculty and the school’s national alumni association in opposing Allison’s appointment.

“Even though I didn’t attend Fayetteville State, I did attend Lincoln University in Jefferson City and I’m a member of the Lincoln alumni association and I sympathize with the Fayetteville alumni association.” said Gerald D. Givens Jr., president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP.  “Most HBCU executives bring years of experience in higher education. They will have demonstrated their capacity to leverage relationships with previous HBCU presidents, governments, industries and leaders to address some of the challenges facing many HBCUs collectively, such as growth in enrollment, student achievement, fundraising, affordability and financial stability.”

Givens questioned whether the controversy over Allison’s appointment could even endanger the school’s accreditation, noting that in 2019, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), sent a letter to the University of South Carolina requesting more information about its search for a new president because of allegations that Governor Henry McMaster was pressuring board members to vote for General Robert Caslen. The same association is responsible for FSU’s reaccreditation.

Allison breaks silence as opposition grows to FSU chancellor appointment

FSU Chancellor-elect Darrell Allison

In his first interview interview since being appointed Chancellor of Fayetteville State University, Darrell Allison said criticism has been “hurtful” but did not directly answer questions about the controversial process by which he was appointed.

In an interview with ABC-11 Allison, a former member of the UNC Board of Governors whose appointment has been opposed by students, faculty and alumni, said he has heard from “so many more that’s not so loud” supporting him. That includes faculty, students and staff, Allison said.

As Policy Watch reported last week, members of FSU’s board of trustees and UNC System sources close to the process said Allison did not make the initial cut for candidates to be submitted to the UNC System President. He was added last-minute in a move he and the trustees have not been willing to discuss publicly and ultimately chosen for the position over candidates with more education and experience.

“The initials Ph.D are important,” Allison told ABC-11. “But for what Fayetteville State University needs right now, the letters are l-e-a-d-e-r. I’m a leader and I bring good, strong leadership.”

Allison is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and UNC-Chapel Hill’s law school. He has no previous experience teaching or in administration at the university level. He has worked as a lobbyist for K-12 charter schools and as served as a political appointee on the board of trustees of NCCU and on the board of governors.

On Wednesday the Raleigh-Apex NAACP joined the FSU faculty and the school’s national alumni association in opposing Allison’s appointment.

“Even though I didn’t attend Fayetteville State, I did attend Lincoln University in Jefferson City and I’m a member of the Lincoln alumni association and I sympathize with the Fayetteville alumni association.” said Gerald D. Givens Jr., president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP.  “Most HBCU executives bring years of experience in higher education. They will have demonstrated their capacity to leverage relationships with previous HBCU presidents, governments, industries and leaders to address some of the challenges facing many HBCUs collectively, such as growth in enrollment, student achievement, fundraising, affordability and financial stability.”

Givens questioned whether the controversy over Allison’s appointment could even endanger the school’s accreditation, noting that in 2019, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), sent a letter to the University of South Carolina requesting more information about its search for a new president because of allegations that Governor Henry McMaster was pressuring board members to vote for General Robert Caslen. The same association is responsible for FSU’s reaccreditation.

Allison’s first day as FSU chancellor is March 15.