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The New Order

It was a long time coming; 140 years, in fact.

When Republicans seized control of both chambers of North Carolina’s General Assembly, in 2010, for the first time in more than a century, they quickly set about remaking a politically moderate state that Barack Obama had carried in the presidential election just two years earlier.

Buoyed by a Tea Party backlash against the nation’s leftward drift, Republicans redrew voting districts and pushed socially conservative proposals that hardened political battle lines. A ban on same-sex marriages passed in 2012. Several years later came a “bathroom bill,” restricting transgender people’s access to restrooms. (Both measures would later be undone in courts).

Less noticed in those early days of Republican rule was a methodical effort that reshaped the culture and policies of what is arguably the state’s most beloved and influential institution: the University of North Carolina system.

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