An illustration of a photo of books being torn.
Credit: Sam Bermas-Dawes, GPB News

Thursday on Political Rewind: As the Peach State seeks a new permanent chancellor for its public universities and colleges, leaders of North Carolina's public university system found themselves embroiled in a national debate over race, journalism and academic freedom.

The attention came after trustees of the University of North Carolina system initially denied tenure to journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter known for her work on the New York Times' 1619 Project. The initiative sought to study the lasting legacy of slavery in U.S. society, but conservatives criticized the projects for its focus on structural racism. On June 30, the university's trustees voted to give tenure to the reporter after mounting pressure to reconsider their decision.

In Georgia, Sonny Perdue is seeking the top position over the state's system of public universities and colleges. The former Georgia governor and Agricultural Secretary under President Donald Trump told reporters he would bring "stability" during a period of "cultural revolution" in Georgia's public institutions of higher education. 

Perdue also said he would like to promote conservative values if chosen to be chancellor. Perdue's comments, and the debate over tenure for Hannah-Jones, is spurring debate about academic freedom over education curriculum.

In related news, Perdue finds himself under scrutiny for potential ethics violations. Calls for an ethics investigation from leading Democratic U.S. senators come following an investigation into Perdue's financial dealings by the Washington Post

Also, reporting from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows Gov. Brian Kemp received an immense fundraising haul as he gears up for his reelection campaign. Is it enough to keep out a credible Republican primary challenge? 


Dr. Audrey Haynes — Professor of Political Science, University of Georgia

Dr. Adrienne Jones — Professor of Political Science, Morehouse University

Kevin Riley — Editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Donna Lowry — Host, GPB's Lawmakers