Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” recipient who covers civil rights and racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. (304911)
Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant” recipient who covers civil rights and racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. Credit: UNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s journalism school is not offering Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, a tenured professorship after facing pressure from conservatives, reports NBC News.

UNC Policy Watch first reported that the UNC-Chapel Hill’s board of trustees had decided not to approve tenure for Hannah-Jones – a Black journalist – at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. She is the first person in this role at UNC-Chapel Hill to be denied tenure by the board.

The university announced last month that Hannah-Jones would join the school as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism in July. Conservatives quickly condemned the university’s decision to offer Hannah-Jones the tenure-track position.

“This is a very political thing,” one trustee reportedly told Policy Watch. “The university and the board of trustees and the Board of Governors and the Legislature have all been getting pressure since this thing was first announced last month. There have been people writing letters and making calls, for and against. But I will leave it to you which is carrying more weight.”

Hannah-Jones is a renowned award-winning journalist and winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, known as a “Genius Grant,” in 2017. She led the 2019 New York Times “1619 Project, ”which holds that America was truly founded in 1619 when the first enslaved people were brought to the Colonies, not in 1776.