Home Posts Nikole Hannah-Jones's Tenure Bid For The '1619 Project' Has Been Resubmitted
Nikole Hannah-Jones's Tenure Bid For The '1619 Project' Has Been Resubmitted
University Of North Carolina

Nikole Hannah-Jones's Tenure Bid For The '1619 Project' Has Been Resubmitted

Nikole Hannah-Jones' tenure bid has been resubmitted and sent to the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, following widespread outrage that the acclaimed journalist was not offered tenure upon her appointment.

Charles Duckett, chair of the university affairs committee of the board of trustees, confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the board received the resubmitted offer from UNC's committee on appointments, promotions, and tenure on Tuesday.

Last week, it was revealed that Hannah-Jones, who won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for her commentary in her introductory essay for the ground-breaking "1619 Project," was not offered a tenure position upon her appointment.

Last month, UNC announced that Hannah-Jones would become the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism in July, a position held by someone recognized as a highly respected news leader who brings “insights about journalism and [supports] elevating it in the academy.”

People from all over the country have publicly chastised the university for failing to offer Hannah-Jones tenure this week.

Last week, forty faculty members from UNC's Hussman School of Journalism and Media issued a statement calling Hannah-Jones' non-tenured status "concerning" and "disheartening." Their statement received more than 50 additional signatures from professors and doctoral candidates at other UNC schools.

On Wednesday, 1,619 UNC alumni and students took out a two-page ad in The News & Observer to express their support for Hannah-Jones, and more than 250 advocates, including athletes, academics, writers, and other public figures, signed a letter in support of Hannah-Jones that was published in The Root on Tuesday.

During a virtual press briefing last week, UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Chair of the UNC Board of Trustees Richard Y. Stevens addressed concerns about Hannah-Jones' non-tenured status.

Stevens stated that the full board of trustees, which has the authority to approve tenured appointments, took "no action" on the tenure candidacy and appointment of The New York Times Magazine reporter.

He stated that tenure candidates are proposed by various schools at the university, and those recommendations are sent to the UNC provost, who then forwards those recommendations to the board of trustees. However, the university affairs committee of the board of trustees vets those candidates before the full board votes to approve them.

Duckett, who chairs the committee, asked UNC Provost Robert Blouin to postpone the review of Hannah-Jones' candidacy until after a full board meeting in January, Stevens said.

“In his communication to the provost, trustee Duckett asked questions about Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure candidacy and suggested more time to postpone the review to consider those questions as well as her overall application, which is not an unusual action for our committee,” Stevens said.

According to NC Policy Watch, a news outlet affiliated with the North Carolina Justice Center, the resubmission does not guarantee that the board of trustees will vote on Hannah-Jones' tenure status; however, three unnamed board members told the publication that they expect her candidacy to be put to a full board vote by the end of June.

A request for comment was not immediately returned by UNC.

Conservatives, including former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), were outraged by The New York Times Magazine's "1619 Project," which examined anti-Black racism and how the legacy of slavery plagues America today.

The UNC faculty joined a chorus of people who charged that the board's failure to offer Hannah-Jones a tenured position upon appointment was politically motivated, and they also pointed out in their statement last week that two Knight chairs who came before Hannah-Jones received tenure upon appointment.

Hannah-Jones, a 2017 MacArthur Fellow (also known as a "genius grant" recipient), was instead offered a five-year fixed-term contract.

Last week, she tweeted that she was "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of love and support.

I have been overwhelmed by all of your support, which has truly fortified my spirit and my resolve. You all know I will be fine, but this fight is bigger than me, and I will do my best not to let you down. — Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) May 20, 2021

“You all know I will be fine,” she wrote, “but this fight is bigger than me, and I will do my best not to disappoint you.”

Susan King, the dean of UNC's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, has been outspoken in her support for Hannah-Jones' tenure.

She tweeted on Monday that she hoped the trustees would vote on Hannah-Jones's tenure package.

“I believe they, like us, will be impressed,” she wrote.

On behalf of our school and students, I hope the Board of Trustees votes on @nhannahjones' tenure package; I believe they will be as impressed as we are. I will be out for two days on medical leave. — Susan King (@DeanSusanKing) May 24, 2021

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