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Nikole Hannah-Jones declines UNC’s tenure offer for position at Howard University

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has turned down a tenure offer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a faculty position at Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C.

She made the announcement during an interview Tuesday on “CBS This Morning,” telling host Gayle King that she “decided to decline the offer of tenure.”

“I will not be teaching on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — it was a difficult decision, not a decision I wanted to make,” she said of her alma mater. “Instead, I’m going to be the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University.”

Her announcement came less than a week after the UNC-Chapel Hill’s board of trustees approved tenure for Hannah-Jones, a renowned journalist and winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, known as a “Genius Grant.”

The trustees did not initially approve tenure in her appointment at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media after backlash from conservatives who condemned her hiring. Instead, the university offered her a five-year fixed term with eligibility for tenure review at the end.

Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer last year for her work on The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, which examines the consequences of slavery in the United States. That project has been assailed by some conservative critics, and she has faced staunch criticism since its release in 2019.

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