In 9-4 vote, UNC Board of Trustees approves tenure for Nikole Hannah-Jones

Education

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted Wednesday to offer a tenured position to award-winning and controversial investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.

The UNC Board of Trustees voted 9-4 to approve the move. It brings an end to weeks of tension on campus.

Hannah-Jones was a key architect of The 1619 Project for The New York Times Magazine that explored the bitter legacy of racism. UNC announced in April that the Pulitzer Price winner would be joining the faculty in July. She had accepted a five-year contract to join the journalism school’s faculty as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.

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Earlier in the year, Hannah-Jones’ tenure application was halted because she didn’t come from a “traditional academic-type background,” and a trustee who vets the lifetime appointments wanted more time to consider her qualifications, university leaders had said.

The school has said little about why tenure wasn’t offered, but a prominent donor revealed that he had emailed university leaders challenging her work as “highly contentious and highly controversial” before the process was halted.

Some conservatives have complained about The 1619 Project, which focused on the country’s history of slavery.

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