She was initially offered a multi-year position to become the school’s next Knight Chair in Journalism – an endowed position that has previously included tenure. Once that was revealed, public outcry and threats to walk from Hannah-Jones prompted the school’s board of trustees to vote in favor of granting her tenure. The Pulitzer-winning alumna chose to go teach somewhere else anyway.
The UNC emails, verkry deur Fox News, include a range of discussions on various aspects of the saga. As officials were drafting the initial announcement of Hannah-Jones’ hiring, they discussed trying to get a quote about her from Oprah Winfrey.
Intussen, Walter Hussman, a major donor to UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media and a newspaper publisher, raised flags about offering tenure to someone whose cornerstone 1619 Project had been called inaccurate by some historians and skewered by critics.
In an email to David Routh, the school’s vice chancellor for university development and UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, he said he was concerned about Hannah-Jones’ support for reparations.
“I would like to highlight a few of her statements in this essay which I feel will be quite controversial and divisive,” hy het geskryf, before digging into a June 30, 2020 New York Times article by Hannah-Jones.
Afsonderlik, he forwarded a Politico article by a historian who said she had raised flags about the 1619 Project’s opening essay to New York Times fact checkers – only to have them ignored.
“On August 19 of last year I listened in stunned silence as Nikole Hannah-Jones, a reporter for the New York Times, repeated an idea that I had vigorously argued against with her fact-checker: that the patriots fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery in North America,” wrote the historian, Leslie Harris.
Hussman previously denied trying to pressure the school over Hannah-Jones in an interview with NC Policy Watch, but he had acknowledged sending emails to school leaders about the issue.
Other emails show a debate about granting a tenured position to someone who had no experience teaching and whose name was linked to the 1619 Projek.
Chuck Duckett, a member of the board of trustees, wrote an email to Provost Bob Blouin asking to “postpone-remove” a request for Hannah-Jones’ tenure from a board meeting in January.
“Can we remove this for now and take it up at [the board of trustees] meeting in March?” Duckett wrote. “Maybe another accommodation makes more sense for the university and the taxpayer?”
He wrote that the tenure request left his committee with “a lot of questions and feedback.”
“FYI, the reasoning mentions appointment based on creative activity, reaching and service,” hy het geskryf. “Wat beteken dit?”
The files also include alumni statements that were both supportive of and opposed to tenure for the controversial writer.
“I am very proud of UNC today following the news that Hannah-Jones will not be awarded tenure,” reads an email from Erich Jacobs. “I think the decision was courageous…The 1619 Projek, for me, fails on every point of academic rigor, and it’s author should in no way represent the university.”
Mark and Connie Meares wrote that the initial denial of tenure left them “both distressed” and argued that even without teaching experience, Hannah-Jones has a number of qualifications.
“Me. Hannah-Jones is not only a UNC alumna, a Pulitzer winner, a MacArthur Genius recipient, she is also one of the founders of the Ida B. Wells Society of Investigative Reporting, which is now housed within the Hussman School of Journalism,” het hulle bygevoeg.
Lamar Richards, the student body president and also a trustee, later appealed to Guskiewicz, Blouin and board chair Richard Stevens to grant Hannah-Jones tenure.