‘1619 Project’ founder Nikole Hannah-Jones loses UNC tenure offer amid criticism: report

Originally Published by:

  • Oregon Education Department sponsors teacher event with controversial 1619 Project founder

  • Betsy DeVos blasts Randi Weingarten's defense of critical race theory: '1619 Project is not history'

  • GOP Reps warn against Biden administration's 'dangerous' and 'divisive' critical race theory push

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the controversial founder of the 1619 Project, has lost her alma mater’s offer for tenure and is instead under consideration for a fixed five-year contract as a professor of practice.

NC Policy Watch reported on the change Wednesday amid a wave of criticism of her work. According to the outlet, the University of North Carolina’s board of trustees decided not to approve Hannah-Jones’ tenure – which effectively translates into a career-long appointment – despite support from faculty.

Susan King, dean of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, reportedly called the decision “disappointing” and said she was afraid it would create a “chilling effect.”

King said Hannah-Jones “represents the best of our alumni and the best of the business.”

She added: “I don’t want to get into a food fight. I want to make sure that our students have the opportunity to have someone of her caliber here and to learn from her. I think our faculty do as well. I realize this is a fraught era in the state. When I heard that the chancellor and the provost wanted to move to this, it was better than having a battle royale about the theory of academic freedom.”

One of the board members told the outlet that “politics” motivated its decision, although others have alleged that political considerations have helped elevate Hannah-Jones despite purported issues with her scholarship.

Jay Schalin of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal penned an op-ed earlier this month in which he suggested Hannah-Jones’ appointment represented a shift toward “propaganda” at Hussman.

“UNC’s hiring Hannah-Jones signals a degradation of journalistic standards, from one in which ethics and truth are prized to one in which a writer’s work is judged according to whether it serves a preferred political agenda,” he said.

He added that Hannah-Jones’ work was “less journalism than an outpouring of emotions. The crown jewel of her career – leading a rewriting of the nation’s history called ‘The 1619 Project’ – has been attacked and ridiculed by historians of all stripes and persuasions as unfactual and biased.”

He quoted historian Sean Wilentz in arguing: “To teach children that the American Revolution was fought in part to secure slavery would be giving a fundamental misunderstanding not only of what the American Revolution was all about but what America stood for and has stood for since the Founding.”

The Center’s Shannon Watkins similarly panned Hannah-Jones’ appointment as an example of failed university governance.

Yet, Hannah-Jones’ project has won a Pulitzer Prize and the author has received numerous awards.

Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center, said in 2019: “The education network we have built over the past 13 years is premised on the belief that journalism can be the engine for public education and civil discourse. It is hard to imagine a topic more resonant, or more important, than ‘The 1619 Project.’”

However, both Hannah-Jones and her project have received criticism for claims each has made. For example, Hannah-Jones previously caught attention for saying it would be an “honor” for racially charged riots to be associated with her project.

Certain historians have raised concerns with some of the claims, namely that slavery was a primary reason why colonists fought the American Revolution.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article