Committee will investigate 'structural racism' at UNC after Nikole Hannah-Jones controversy

The investigation follows the purported 'mishandling' of 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure offer.

Campus Reform reported earlier this year on internal emails at UNC that show Hannah-Jones was initially pleased with her original offer.

The American Association of University Professors announced in a recent statement that they have launched a special committee to investigate “structural racism” at the University of North Carolina. 

The AAUP special committee intends to produce a report following the investigation that will discuss the “mishandling” of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure case as well as a “pattern of egregious violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism in the University of North Carolina System.” 

Earlier this year, Hannah-Jones — the New York Times journalist who gained a national platform for her “1619 Project” — was offered a position as a Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. 

[RELATED: Was Nikole Hannah-Jones ‘happy’ with non-tenured offer? Emails reveal confusion, conflicting opinions at UNC.]

The Board of Trustees initially chose not to take action on her tenure application — a move that generated significant progressive backlash. On June 30, the trustees decided to grant tenure to Hannah-Jones; however, she announced on July 6 that she had turned down the offer in favor of another position at Howard University.

Emails between administrators show that Hannah-Jones was satisfied with her five-year fixed, tenure-track contract — under which she would earn $180,000 per year — before being offered immediate tenure.

[RELATED: Nikole Hannah-Jones launches Soros-funded K-12 ‘1619 Freedom School’]

In the words of Trustee Chuck Duckett, Hannah-Jones was “incredibly talented” and a “national figure.” Because she had “not taught a class or been in academia before,” she agreed to the five-year agreement and was “happy about it.”

Campus Reform reached out to the University of North Carolina and the American Association of University Professors for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft