On Tuesday, Just the News posted an article about Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of The New York Times’ 1619 Project.
The article reports:
The creator of The New York Times’ 1619 Project is joining the University of North Carolina journalism faculty in July, funded by a Knight Foundation grant.
The academic world has not greeted the news with jubilation, but rather outrage — because Nikole Hannah-Jones was not given tenure to start.
“Political pressure from conservatives,” particularly a North Carolina-focused education think tank, led the university to offer Hannah-Jones a fixed five-year term, according to NC Policy Watch, a project of the progressive North Carolina Justice Center.
Evidently that is not the reason Ms. Hannah-Jones was denied tenure.
The article continues:
The UNC trustee who oversees lifetime appointments, Charles Duckett, postponed the tenure review for Hannah-Jones in January, three months before UNC announced the hire, board chair Richard Stevens told reporters last week.
Duckett “asked for a little bit of time” to ask Hannah-Jones to clarify her background, since she does not have “a traditional academic-type background,” according to Stevens. She accepted the five-year term, which lets her continue as a New York Times journalist, before the full Board of Trustees voted.
Asked what he specifically wanted to know from Hannah-Jones, Duckett told Just the News no one had asked for his side until now. “I cannot comment today due to issues outside my control,” he said. “I normally do not respond at all but appreciate the question.”
The article notes a possible explanation:
A spokesperson for the journalism school told Just the News last week it wasn’t sure why the board “did not act on her tenure package” but was told “there was reluctance to grant tenure” to a non-academic.
“The University and the journalism school very much wanted Nikole to join us, and she was offered a Professor of the Practice 5-year fixed term contract,” Susan King, dean of the journalism school, said in a statement.
The 1619 Project has been denounced as an opinion piece rather than an accurate reporting of history. To grant tenure to someone who has no academic background and has published opinions as fact would not be a good move for a university.