In April 2021, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The New York Times’s 1619 Project, would join Hussman faculty as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. The faculty and administration recommended to the Board of Trustees that, in keeping with the past Knight chairs, Hannah-Jones be appointed with tenure. However, the Board refused to take action on this tenure recommendation, which some trustees and other sources attributed to disagreement with Hannah-Jones’s political views. On June 10, FIRE wrote to UNC asking that it reassess whether there were irregularities in the Board’s consideration of Hannah-Jones’s tenure application, and that it act with transparency in this assessment.
FIRE Case Files