REPORT: UNC trustees meet today to vote on Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure
According to a report, Nikole Hannah-Jones will not teach at the University of North Carolina without tenure.
The professor had been offered a 5-year contract, which would pay $180,000 per year.
Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are meeting today to vote on tenure for Nikole Hannah-Jones.
Today’s session comes after national backlash against the university for initially denying Hannah-Jones tenure, as well as the writer’s public actions after that decision.
Earlier this spring, Hannah-Jones sated through her lawyers that she would not be joining her future colleagues at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media without tenure.
As reported by NC Policy Watch, Jone’s legal team sent a letter to the UNC Chancellor, Charles Marshall on June 21 detailing that she would not be starting her position as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism until the board votes in favor of her tenure.
Originally, Hannah Jones, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for the “1619 Project,” was set to start her position on July 1 with a 5-year contract worth $180,000 per year. However, after the board of trustees declined to vote on her tenure application, she retained counsel.
“The University has been contacted by attorneys representing Nikole Hannah-Jones. While this remains a confidential personnel matter, as Chancellor Guskiewicz has said publicly, we feel she will add great value to the Carolina campus,” UNC-Chapel Hill Vice Chancellor of Communications Joel Curran told Campus Reform.
Citizens and groups like the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal pointed out that the university’s ambiguous hiring policy could allow academics to receive tenure without trustee approval.
“This is a very political thing,” one trustee told NC Policy Watch. “The university and the board of trustees and the Board of Governors and the legislature have all been getting pressure since this thing was first announced last month. There have been people writing letters and making calls, for and against. But I will leave it to you which is carrying more weight.”
Hannah-Jones’ “1619 Project,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine, alleges that the United States was created to protect slavery. She has said that the goal of the project was to reframe the history of the United States.
“This is a high profile hiring decision and the last thing anyone should want is us going to the Board of Governors with this and they disagree,” the trustee said. “That is not going to be good for anybody. That is when negative things are going to happen.”
As Campus Reform previously reported in May, students and community members invaded a board of trustees meeting in protest of the body’s decision.
Protesters entered the room as the trustees began their meeting. As The Daily Tar Heel reports, many chanted “shame, shame on you,” while two individuals were removed after singing “we shall overcome.”
Campus Reform reached out to every member of the board for comment on how they would respond, but none of the members replied.