, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
, has announced that she will not join the University of North Carolina
faculty next month unless she is granted tenure
, according to her attorneys.
Hannah-Jones, the acclaimed “1619 Project
” creator, was set to begin a five-year contract teaching at the university as a Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism
on July 1, but her lawyers said in a letter first published by NC Policy Watch
that they believed “political interference and influence” had resulted in the school’s refusal to grant her tenure.
“Ms. Hannah-Jones cannot rely on the University to consider her tenure application in good faith during the term of the fixed-term contract,” her lawyers wrote, adding that “she cannot begin employment with the University without the protection and security
The announcement is likely to rekindle the controversy surrounding her position, which was first announced in April
. The position is traditionally a coveted tenured position, but UNC announced last month that it would be on contract with an option for review, going against the recommendation of the school's journalism faculty and tenure committee.
Hannah-Jones, who received a Master's degree from UNC and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work
on the "1619 Project," stated last month that she was considering filing a federal discrimination lawsuit
; however, UNC's board has yet to act on her tenure application.
She stated last month that she did not want to drag the university into a political controversy, but that she felt “obligated” to challenge the tenure decision.
“I had no intention of causing turmoil or a political firestorm at the university that I love, but I am obligated to fight back against a wave of anti-democratic suppression that seeks to prohibit the free exchange of ideas, silence Black voices
, and chill free speech
,” she said at the time.
The controversy has already had a long-term impact at UNC, as renowned chemist Lisa Jones withdrew her candidacy for a position at the university earlier this month due to the school's treatment of Hannah-Jones.