The University of North Carolina’s board of trustees has offered a five-year teaching contract instead of tenure to journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead author of “The 1619 Project,” overturning a recommendation by the school’s faculty to grant her a permanent post.
The decision came after conservative pushback against the university over Ms. Hannah-Jones’ role in the controversial New York Times project that reframes U.S. history through slavery’s impact on the nation.
The university initially announced in April that Ms. Hannah-Jones would become the newest Knight Chair, a professorship endowed by the Knight Foundation that traditionally has been a tenured position at the university’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. She won the Pulitzer Prize for “The 1619 Project.”
The board’s decision to offer her a five-year contract instead has angered faculty members, who wrote a letter demanding an explanation and an offer of tenure for Ms. Hannah-Jones.
“This failure is especially disheartening because it occurred despite the support for Hannah-Jones’s appointment as a full professor with tenure by the Hussman Dean, Hussman faculty, and university,” the faculty’s letter stated. “Hannah-Jones’s 20-plus year distinguished record in the field of journalism surpasses expectations for a tenured position.”
Republicans in several states have proposed cuts in funding to schools that teach lessons based on “The 1619 Project,” citing assessments from some historians of both the left and the right who cite inaccuracies and misleading information.
Brown University historian Gordon S. Wood said “The 1619 Project” falsely characterized the American Revolution as driven by a desire to protect slavery in the Colonies.
The Biden administration plans to offer grants for U.S. history classes that teach critical race theory and “The 1619 Project.”