Nikole Hannah-Jones reaches settlement with UNC over tenure controversy

After a prolonged legal battle, UNC Chapel Hill has settled with acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones over a failed hiring attempt last year.

After Hannah-Jones drew criticism from faculty regarding her work on the 1619 project, UNC offered her a 5-year contract rather than the usual tenured position.

After a prolonged legal battle, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) has settled with acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones over a failed hiring attempt last year.

In 2021, the university’s journalism school courted Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of the controversial 1619 Project, for a tenured chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the university’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. 

After Hannah-Jones drew criticism from faculty regarding her work on the 1619 project, however, UNC offered her a 5-year contract rather than the usual tenured position. 

[RELATED: ANALYSIS: Critical Race Theorist Nikole Hannah-Jones should not be headlining an MLK event]

The NY Times’s 1619 Project, headed by Hannah-Jones, attempts to redefine the nation’s founding and history around the first arrival of slaves in the colonies in 1619. 

UNC’s refusal to grant the tenured position to Hannah-Jones drew intense backlash from faculty and students, as well as academics and journalists. Hannah-Jones subsequently informed the university that she was considering legal action

Because of the pressure placed on the board of trustees, and the threatened litigation, on June 30 of 2021 UNC decided to backtrack and grant Hannah-Jones tenure.

[RELATED: Nikole Hannah-Jones brags about tricking audience into thinking MLK quotes were her words]

Instead, in July of that year, Hannah-Jones accepted a similar position at Howard University in Washington D.C., where she raised more than $20 million for the Center for Journalism and Democracy at the university. 

According to the student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel, the amount of Hannah-Jones’s settlement with UNC-Chapel Hill is $74,999.99.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s media relations team provided Campus Reform with the following quote from David Boliek UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees: “The steps taken to resolve the lingering potential legal action posed by Ms. Hannah-Jones will hopefully help to close this chapter and give the University the space to focus on moving forward.”

Campus Reform reached out to current students attending UNC for Chapel Hill for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.