UNC-Chapel Hill settles with Hannah-Jones permanently

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FILE – In this Monday, April 20, 2015, photo, the Old Well is seen near the South Building on the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill, NC The flagship school of the North Carolina University System announced on Friday, July 15, 2022, that he reached an agreement with the journalist who ultimately avoided school in a protracted tenure dispute and joined a historically black university. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

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The flagship school in North Carolina’s university system announced Friday that it had reached a settlement with the reporter who ultimately avoided the school in a protracted tenure dispute and joined a historically black university.

David Boliek, chairman of the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the settlement with Nikole Hannah-Jones was under $75,000 and was approved by school chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, media reported.

Lawyers representing Hannah-Jones, including the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., last year threatened legal action, including filing a federal discrimination complaint, against UNC -Chapel Hill and its board of directors for not giving him his mandate, media reported at the time.

Boliek said the settlement reached by the university was intended to resolve this “potential lawsuit” and that a formal lawsuit was never filed by Hannah-Jones’ lawyers.

Hannah-Jones could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

The dispute over whether UNC grants Hannah-Jones a lifetime faculty appointment has sparked weeks of outcry as many faculty and alumni have expressed frustration, and black students and professors have protested. asked during the protests whether the predominantly white university valued them.

Hannah-Jones — who won the Pulitzer Prize for her work on The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project focusing on the history of slavery in the United States — has been hired as UNC’s Knight Professor of Racial Journalism and research at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

She noted that she did not seek the job and was recruited by UNC’s dean of journalism before her candidacy was blocked by objections from a powerful donor and conservative concerns about his work.

Hannah-Jones’ tenure application was submitted to UNC trustees in 2020, but it was halted after a board member who vets nominations raised questions about her non-academic background. Instead, she was initially handed a five-year contract, despite her predecessors being tenured when appointed. After weeks of mounting pressure, the administrators finally voted to offer tenure.

As trustees voted 9-4 to offer her term, Hannah-Jones said in an interview with The Associated Press that the unfairness of how she was treated as a black woman caused her to decline. the offer. She accepted a professorship at Howard University, a historically black school in Washington, D.C.

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