Saturday, July 31, 2021

Nikole Hannah-Jones Refuses UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Job Without Tenure [Report]

Nikole Hannah-Jones
Twitter

*Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of “The 1619 Project,” will not join UNC-Chapel Hill without tenure. 

According to Policy Watch, Hannah-Jones, is scheduled to begin her position as the university’s Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism on July 1, but the board has not offered her tenure for the position, which previous Knight Chairs at UNC-CH have received. A letter from her legal team to the university notes that  Hannah-Jones has not withdrawn her application for tenure — and does not plan to. 

She also appears to be rescinding the five-year, fixed-term contract that was offered.

READ MORE: ‘1619 Project’ Creator Nikole Hannah-Jones Threatens UNC with Legal Action Over Tenure Denial

We previously reported, per TheWrap, the university announced Hannah-Jones would teach in the Knight Chair position, which comes with the expectation of tenure. The reversal came after racist conservatives whined about the “1619 Project,” which is an examination of slavery/racism in America and how it has shaped nearly all aspects of society. According to NC Policy Watch, the University of North Carolina’s board of trustees got on code with the white supremacists and decided not to approve Hannah-Jones’ tenure. She is instead under consideration for a fixed five-year contract as a professor of practice, according to reports. 

As reported by SandraRose.com, “Walter E. Hussman Jr., a millionaire news mogul who donated $25 million to the journalism school named after him, was among the donors who objected to Hannah-Jones’ hiring,” the outlet writes.

“Since signing the fixed-term contract, Ms. Hannah-Jones has come to learn that political interference and influence from a powerful donor contributed to the Board of Trustees’ failure to consider her tenure application,” the letter from her legal team stated. 

“In light of this information, Ms. Hannah-Jones cannot trust that the University would consider her tenure application in good faith during the period of the fixed-term contract. Such good faith consideration for tenure was understood to be an essential element of the fixed-term contract when Ms. Hannah-Jones agreed to enter into it. In light of the information which has come to her attention since that time, she cannot begin employment with the University without the protection and security of tenure.”

Hannah-Jones is considering legal action against the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill after losing her tenure offer. 

“The inferior terms of employment offered to Ms. Hannah-Jones in the fixed-term contract resulted from viewpoint discrimination in violation of the freedom of speech and expression, secured by the United States and North Carolina Constitution; race and sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of federal and North Carolina state law; unlawful political influence in violation of North Carolina state law; and other unlawful grounds,” the letter says.

TheWrap writes, “The university has reportedly lost several high-profile Black candidates, faculty and staff members amid the controversy. Professors have reported that their Black students, both graduate and undergraduate, have chosen not to come back to school because of this case.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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