UNC To Reconsider Nikole Hannah-Jones' Bid For Tenure

Amid backlash, the University of North Carolina Committee On Appointments, Promotions and Tenure has resubmitted a bid to give Nikole Hannah-Jones a tenured role at the school. University of North Carolina Trustee Charles Duckett confirmed the news to the HuffPost on Thursday.

Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning graduate of the university, was offered a prestigious position at the school known as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism in July. Typically, the educator working in this role is offered a tenured position with the university. Instead, Hannah-Jones was reportedly offered a fixed, five-year contract. News of this offer sparked outrage among scholars, educators, students, fellow journalists and friends of the university. In recent weeks, University of North Carolina Student Body President Lamar Richards and University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism Dean Susan King have called out the university for its "disappointing" decisions. Just a few days ago, more than 200 public figures came together to issue a letter in support of Hannah-Jones and her fight to obtain tenure.

"We will cheer Nikole Hannah-Jones on when she steps into her classroom at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill this fall. But we will not turn away from the regrettable circumstances under which she will do so," a letter signed by Dwyane Wade, Ava DuVernay and Ta-Nehisi Coates reads.

"The University’s Board of Trustees has failed to uphold the first-order values of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. And too many lawmakers have wrongly deemed it their role to reach into classrooms and tell educators what to teach and how to teach it."

As the university reconsiders Hannah-Jones' bid for tenure a second time, she will weigh her legal options. In a letter sent to the university, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Levy Ratner PC and Furgeson and Chambers & Sumter P.A. threaten to initiate federal action if this situation isn't remedied.

“(We) represent Nikole Hannah-Jones in connection with the failure of the Board of Trustees to consider and approve her application for tenure as part of her appointment as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” Hannah-Jones and her legal representation states.

“We are evaluating all available legal recourse to fully vindicate Ms. Hannah-Jones’ rights, including possibly initiating a federal action against UNC, the Board and/or affiliated entities and individuals."

At this time, the university has not indicated when it will finish reviewing Nikole Hannah-Jones' bid for tenure.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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