UNC faculty condemns decision not to grant Nikole Hannah-Jones warrant
Fallout continued to grow this week following the decision of the University of North Carolina board of trustees not to grant a mandate to former student Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.
A group of 38 faculty members from the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC signed a declaration Friday, again condemning the board for its decision.
“It seems clear that the UNC board has not yet reviewed Nikole Hannah-Jones’ case for his appointment to tenured Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism, despite the claim. at all previous levels of rigorous review, “the faculty wrote, adding,” The fact that the Council’s inaction may have been the result of donor influence is particularly alarming. “
Hannah-Jones founded the Project 1619 for The New York Times Magazine, which reframed the nation’s history around slavery and drew criticism from conservatives, including former President Donald Trump. Hannah-Jones won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for commentary on the project.
Nikole Hannah Jones:University of North Carolina board must reconsider tenure decision
In April, Hannah-Jones was offered a five-year teaching contract as the Knight Chair in Racial and Investigative Journalism at UNC, sparking outrage from supporters amid speculation the council administration had been pressured by the Conservatives not to grant tenure. Knight chairs have historically been hired on a permanent basis.
The 13-member board of directors is made up of four people appointed by the state’s Republican-majority General Assembly, eight people elected by the Board of Governors – who are appointed by the General Assembly – and the chairman of the student government. Ten are white men.
Alumni, students, professors, academics, professional athletes and more than 30 groups asked the board of directors to grant tenure. Following the backlash, the faculty committee that deals with questions of tenure resubmitted its recommendation that Hannah-Jones be established at the end of last month.
Last Saturday, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. sent a letter to UNC threatening to sue the federal government if the school does not grant tenure by Friday, according to NC Policy Watch online point of sale.
A spokesperson for UNC-Chapel Hill said in a statement Friday that the university “responded to a letter from the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. regarding the employment of Nikole Hannah-Jones.”
“We look forward to continuing the dialogue with his lawyer,” spokesman Joel Curran said.
The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
Susan King, dean of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, told USA TODAY that she was concerned about the effects of the ongoing affair on the school.
“I have worked for almost a decade for this great university which is such an asset to students and the state. I am concerned about a chilling effect on our current dedicated faculty and those we will be recruiting,” he said. she declared. “I hope for the best result.”
Professors in the chemistry department at the UNC College of Arts and Science wrote to university officials this week about the “dire repercussions” of the tenure affair. The faculty said the deal “has an impact on our ability to recruit and attract a diverse and talented professor.”
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The department said it had been working for two years to recruit renowned chemist Lisa Jones, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, who withdrew her candidacy following the matter of tenure. In a letter withdrawing his candidacy, Jones said the news that Hannah-Jones had been refused the mandate was “very disheartening.”
“It doesn’t seem consistent with a school that says it’s interested in diversity,” Jones wrote. “While I know this decision may not reflect the perspective of the school’s faculty, I will say that I cannot see myself accepting a position at a university where this decision is held. I appreciate all efforts. that you deployed to try to recruit me, but for me it’s hard to ignore. “
Hannah jones mentionned on Twitter she had never met Jones, “but the solidarity shown to me by black women especially during this melting pot is something I will never forget.”
Meanwhile, Foundation director Robert Wood Johnson, one of the university’s major funders, recently wrote to the board to express “concern” over the school’s decision not to not grant tenure to Hannah-Jones, according to a letter obtained by NC Policy Watch this week and confirmed by USA TODAY.
“To honor our commitment to ethical conduct and practices, we ask the UNC Board of Directors to help us understand the steps it takes to ensure that Ms. Hannah-Jones is treated fairly and equitably in decisions regarding his appointment, ”wrote CEO Richard Besser.
It wasn’t immediately clear if or when the board would reconsider Hannah-Jones’ tenure. Hannah-Jones is expected to start teaching at UNC in July.
Friday she shared photos on Twitter of a framed statement related to his induction into the North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame.
“This happened today… and I feel so sad about it all,” she said. “Hold your head up, all of you. “