Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pultizer Prize-winning journalist, has declined the University of North Carolina’s offer of tenure and has instead accepted a faculty role at Howard University — an HBCU.
The news comes less than a week after trustees for UNC-Chapel Hill voted to award tenure to Hannah-Jones.
Hannah-Jones’ alma matter, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, announced last month that she would teach in the Knight Chair position that comes with the expectation of tenure. However, critics of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” complained, she was granted a different role with the option for a tenure review in five years.
Hannah-Jones’ tenure offer was revoked. However, following a public uproar and protests from other faculty members, the UNC backtracked once again.
At Howard, Hannah-Jones will become a tenured member of Howard’s school of communications as well as becoming the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism. Hannah-Jones will found the Center for Journalism and Democracy. The center is to focus on training students in investigative journalism.
“We are at a critical juncture in our democracy, and yet our press does not reflect the nation it serves and too often struggles to grasp the danger for our country as we see growing attacks on free speech and the fundamental right to vote,” Hannah-Jones said in a statement.
“In the storied tradition of the Black press, the Center for Journalism and Democracy will help produce journalists capable of accurately and urgently covering the challenges of our democracy with a clarity, skepticism, rigor and historical dexterity that is too often missing from today’s journalism.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates will also be joining the HBCU.
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick says, “At such a critical time for race relations in our country, it is vital that we understand the role of journalism in steering our national conversation and social progress.”
His statement continues, “Not only must our newsrooms reflect the communities where they are reporting, but we need to infuse the profession with diverse talent. We are thrilled that they will bring their insights and research to what is already a world-class, highly accomplished team of professors.”