The University of North Carolina’s board of trustees has voted to give tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, a decision that follows concerns that the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was being discriminated against in light of tenure being offered to other professors who had previously served in her role at the school.
The board voted 9-4 in favor of granting a tenured position to Hannah-Jones on Wednesday, reports the Huffington Post.
Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times’ acclaimed “1619 Project,” had been set to join Chapel Hill University in July as the Knight Chair in race and investigative journalism, with the school recognizing her as “one of the country’s leading voices in journalism covering housing and school segregation, civil rights and racial injustice in the U.S.”
This professorship has been a coveted tenured position, but UNC announced last month that for Hannah-Jones it would be on a contract with an option for review. Shortly after, it was reported that trustees had political objections to her work and that there had been pressure on the board to prevent her appointment.
Earlier Wednesday, student protesters demonstrating for Hannah-Jones to get tenure were aggressively removed from the session. Hannah-Jones later expressed frustration that the closed-door nature of the proceedings hadn’t been explained: “Instead Black students were shoved and punched because they were confused about the process. This is not right.”
One area of Hannah-Jones’s work that had been heavily criticized was her creation of “The 1619 Project,” which examines the ongoing legacy of slavery in the U.S. Hannah-Jones, who earned a master’s from UNC, was awarded a Pulitzer for her introductory essay.