CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The trustees of North Carolina's flagship public university are meeting behind closed doors later this week amid intense criticism of their decision not to offer tenure to investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.
A news release from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill did not mention the subject to be discussed in Wednesday's meeting. However, NC Policy Watch, which first reported on the meeting, said trustees would vote on whether to grant tenure to Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project examining the bitter legacy of slavery. The publication cited two unidentified people who it says are directly involved in the process.
When asked by The Associated Press for comment, the school responded with a copy of the news release.
A decision by trustees earlier this year not to grant tenure to Hannah-Jones, even though it had been given to those who preceded her as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism, sparked a torrent of criticism from within the community.
The dispute also revealed frustrations over the university's failure to answer longstanding concerns over its treatment of Black students, faculty and staff. Hannah-Jones accepted a five-year contract to join the journalism school’s faculty after her tenure application stalled. But her lawyers have since informed the school that she won't join the faculty without tenure.
Hannah-Jones posted the announcement of the meeting on her Twitter page Monday, but declined a request for comment from the AP.