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Star journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has decided not to accept a chair in the Hussman School of Journalism after the Board of UNC first denied her tenure, then reversed their decision after widespread protests. Hannah-Jones has accepted a journalism chair at historically black Howard University instead, along with author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Journalists Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates are joining Howard University’s faculty, school officials announced Tuesday in a major recruiting victory for the private institution in the nation’s capital. It was a simultaneous setback for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to lose Hannah-Jones after a long and remarkably contentious effort to recruit her.
The surprising development came less than a week after trustees for UNC-Chapel Hill voted to award tenure to Hannah-Jones. Initially, the public university hired her as a professor without the job-protection status. But its board of trustees approved tenure for her on Wednesday, after faculty members and students at Chapel Hill protested that she had been mistreated.
In an interview Tuesday on “CBS This Morning,” Hannah-Jones said she would not join the UNC faculty. “Very difficult decision,” she told Gayle King. “Not a decision I wanted to make.” The Pulitzer Prize winner said she believed a decision about tenure for her at UNC was delayed because of political opposition to her work and discrimination against her as a Black woman.