Nikole Hannah-Jones Tells UNC-Chapel Hill She Won’t Join Faculty Unless She Has Tenure

Illustration for article titled Nikole Hannah-Jones Tells UNC-Chapel Hill She Won't Join Faculty Unless She Has Tenure

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Nikole Hannah-Jones is letting it be known that she has had it with board members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill dragging their feet in making the right decision in granting her tenure along with the five-year contract with the school that she accepted.


As you know, the university previously denied Hannah-Jones tenure after being pressured by a bunch of righty-tighty-whities—including a rich donor who was apparently upset that more white history wasn’t being taught in one of the most white history teaching-est countries in the world—who condemned her and her Pulitzer Prize-winning work The 1619 Project.

Now, Hannah-Jones and her legal team are reportedly giving UNC-Chapel Hill officials an ultimatum: Either their bowing-to-the-conservative-Illuminati asses can give her tenure or she won’t be starting her job there.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that a letter sent to the university by Hannah-Jones’ attorneys made it clear that the famed journalist and educator will not start her job as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, which she was set to begin on July 1, unless the school’s board of trustees stop playing around with her and offer her tenure already.

From the News & Observer:

UNC-CH Vice Chancellor of Communications Joel Curran confirmed that the university has been contacted by attorneys representing Hannah-Jones.

“While this remains a confidential, personnel-protected matter, as Chancellor Guskiewicz has said publicly we feel she will add great value to the Carolina campus,” he said.

Dean Susan King of the journalism school told The News & Observer on Tuesday evening that she has not heard from the administration about this development but, if true, UNC needs the board’s leadership now more than ever.

“They have the reputation of UNC in their hands, and I do believe they are honorable people,” King said. “I look forward to their vote.”

Earlier this month, The Root reported that the UNC-Chapel Hill’s chemistry department sent a letter to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz warning him and the board members that their continued refusal to choose Hannah-Jones over white tears will cost the school valuable educators. The department sent the letter after Hannah-Jones’ treatment by the university cost it a top candidate, renowned chemist Lisa Jones, who the department had been working more than two years to recruit.

Jones isn’t the only person to stand in solidarity with Hannah-Jones and against the power of white people’s fragile-ass feelings. Last month, The Root published a letter issued in support of Hannah-Jones written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore and Martha S. Jones, titled, “We Stand in Solidarity With Nikole Hannah-Jones.”


Hell, even UNC-Chapel Hill’s own faculty leaders are urging the trustees to stop bullshittin’ and do the right thing.

More from the News & Observer:

“[Hannah-Jones] is saying she needs an answer,” said Mimi Chapman, chair of the UNC-CH faculty. “We all want an answer, and I think we’re right there with her.”

Chapman published an open letter over the weekend asking university employees, students and supporters to press trustees to approve tenure for Hannah-Jones. She said it’s clear the campus is behind Hannah-Jones and there has been an outpouring of people from different departments willing to step up and make public statements.

“All of these statements are being sent to the board of trustees so they have to see the breadth of this commitment,” Chapman said.


Multiple Black faculty and staff members have reportedly considered leaving the university behind the drama, and student body president Lamar Richards is actually discouraging potential students and professors of color from coming to the school. The Black Student Movement has also reportedly organized a “solidarity demonstration” for Friday afternoon in protest on behalf of Hannah-Jones.

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