May 19, 2021
We, the Carolina Black Caucus, are highly disappointed in the decision of University leadership and the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media to renege an offer of tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Knight Chair of Race of Investigative Reporting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The decision to back out of offering Hannah-Jones tenure with her appointment is yet another example of UNC’s lack of commitment to ensuring that our Black student population sees themselves in their instructional faculty. This interference in the tenure process puts politics ahead of progress and sends a clear message to UNC faculty that their time and expertise are unvalued. It would seem, with the elimination of the VITAE Hiring program, UNC would take every opportunity to over-correct and diversify its faculty with esteemed professionals such as Hannah-Jones at every chance. This decision is a keen example of a lack of commitment to enriching the experience of all members of the Carolina Community through diverse perspectives. Acts like this are a prime illustration of the systemic racism we have been advocating against since the CBC’s founding in 1974. With the crucial need for anti-racist
work at the institutional level, a decision like this is purely unfathomable.
As the oldest public institution in this country, our institution’s charge is to be bold and lead change to improve society. A moment of boldness by the University is now lost as it cowers behind conservative rhetoric. Not offering tenure with this appointment to such an esteemed and revered journalist is directly out of line with our strategic plan and founding principles.
We, the Carolina Black Caucus, stand in protest of this decision and in support of honoring the University’s original commitment to the distinguished Nikole Hannah-Jones. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media in their call to “the university’s leadership to reaffirm its commitment to the university, its faculty and time-honored norms and procedures, and its endorsed values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
The Carolina Black Caucus
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