“The board voted 9-4 to accept the tenure application at a special meeting that included a closed-door session that had sparked a protest by supporters of Hannah-Jones.”
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has relented after an intense pressure campaign and will grant tenure to 1619 Project author Nikole Hannah-Jones.
This drama has been going on for weeks.
When the school first hired Hannah-Jones to join the faculty, she and her supporters were angry that it did not offer her tenure. Some faculty members threatened to leave the school. Last week, Hannah-Jones even refused to start her job if she did not get it.
Now she has gotten what she wanted. Tom Foreman Jr. writes for the Associated Press:
UNC trustees OK tenure for journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones
Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill approved tenure Wednesday for Pulitizer Prize-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, capping weeks of tension that began when a board member halted the process over questions about her teaching credentials.
The board voted 9-4 to accept the tenure application at a special meeting that included a closed-door session that had sparked a protest by supporters of Hannah-Jones. At one point, a student said, she was manhandled by a campus police officer trying to get her out of the ballroom where the meeting was held.
“Today we took another important step in creating an even better university,” trustee Gene Davis said after the vote was announced. “We welcome Nikole Hannah-Jones back to Chapel Hill.”
Davis said that in granting tenure to Hannah-Jones the board was reaffirming its commitment to the university’s highest values of “academic freedom, open scholarly inquiry, commitment to diversity of all types, including viewpoint diversity, and promotion of constructive disagreement and civil public discourse.”
This was a story that seemed ready-made for student activists:
Several demonstrators are forcibly removed by police from a closed session meeting of the UNC-Chapel Hill trustees Wednesdayas the board prepared to discuss and vote on tenure for distinguished journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. #UNC pic.twitter.com/en4gU2Rtru
— Travis Long (@vizjourno) June 30, 2021
The school paper, The Daily Tar Heel, offers some background on the process:
On June 23, Student Body President Lamar Richards submitted a formal meeting request to the Board petitioning for a special called meeting by or on Wednesday to discuss and take formal action on Hannah-Jones’s case. This came after Hannah-Jones’ legal team announced she would not join UNC faculty without tenure.
Hannah-Jones was set to join the UNC faculty Thursday as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. The previous two Knight Chairs at UNC received tenure upon hiring, but Hannah-Jones was initially offered a fixed, five-year contract, with the option to be reviewed for tenure at the end.
The Board’s decision comes after many University affiliates released statements and held protests in support of Hannah-Jones.
Many of these statements came after Chairperson of the Faculty Mimi Chapman wrote a letter urging UNC community members to speak out on the situation.
“You do not have to agree with Ms. Hannah-Jones’ conclusions in The 1619 Project to do this,” she wrote. “You only have to agree that faculty voices must govern the tenure process for academic integrity to have meaning.”
I’ve been following this story from the beginning, and I can’t recall when the campus left seemed angrier about a faculty-related decision.
The left views Hannah-Jones as a hero. They would never allow anyone to treat her as anything but a star.DONATE
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