UNC Denies Founder Of ‘1619 Project’ Nikole Hannah-Jones Tenure

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill denied award-winning journalist and founder of The 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure after conservative groups complained. 

Hannah-Jones, who is an alumna of UNC, was recently appointed the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism, which is usually a tenured role, according to a Wednesday (May 19) report by NC Policy Watch

“It’s disappointing, it’s not what we wanted, and I am afraid it will have a chilling effect,” Susan King, dean of the University’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media told the outlet. 

Republicans have continuously spoke out against Hannah-Jones work, specifically The 1619 Project which chronicles America’s history of slavery and its lasting impact on the nation's founding. Some lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have gone so far as to call for a ban on the project in schools across the country. 

Hannah-Jones went through an extensive process including putting together and submitting an application to be approved for tenured to the Board of Trustees. That group ruled not to take action on her application, ultimately leading to a non-tenured professor position offered by Chapel Hill’s Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. The offer, to ensure Hannah-Jones was hired, is a fixed-term position that comes with a chance to go up for tenure in five years without the requirement of Board approval. 

Colleagues, alumni, and others expressed their opposition to the offer presented to Hannah-Jones.

After the University’s decision was announced, two dozen faculty members of the Hussman School signed a publicly released statement demanding the Board reverse its decision. 

A group of students, faculty, and members of the community protested on Thursday (May 20) outside of a Board of Trustees meeting, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Photo: Getty Images

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