nicole hannah jones says thanks, but no thanks for showing off the last minute period of UNC


After Hannah Jones was offered the position of Knight Chair in Ethnic and Investigative Journalism at the United Nations University, the school’s journalism faculty and university-wide promotions committee voted to grant her the position. Despite this, the Board of Trustees did not even vote on the matter, and Hannah Jones was not given an explanation, perhaps because the explanation was so shocking: the conservatives, including Walter Haussmann, the benefactor after whom the UNU School of Journalism is named. , lobbied the administration and the board of trustees to reject it. Hannah Jones has been a right-wing target since launching her award-winning project in 1619. Instead, no vote was taken on her term and she was persuaded to accept a five-year contract. Hannah Jones was the first UNC Knight Chief without a position, and the first UNC Knight Chief was not white. Once the story spread, UNC offered Hannah Jones a tenure, but the damage was done.

I can’t imagine working at a school named after a man who marched against me, who used his fortune to influence the staff and doctrine of the school of journalism, and who disregarded my 20 years of journalism, all my qualifications, and all my work, because he thought the project focused on Americans Black equals demonizing white Americans,” Hannah Jones He said in a statement about her decision. I cannot work for an organization whose leadership has allowed this behavior and has done nothing to disavow it. How can I believe that I will be able to exercise academic freedom with the school’s largest benefactor willing to publicly humiliate me and try to pull the strings behind the scenes? Why would I want to teach at a university whose senior leadership has chosen to remain silent, reject transparency, and not publicly defend that I am treated like any Knight chair before me? Or for a university overseen by a council that would set policy ruthlessly on what is best for the university we all love? These times require courage, and those who have the most strength in this situation have shown the least.”

Instead, though proud of winning this battle, Hannah Jones said, “I can also mark the battles I still fight. And I have decided that rather than fight to prove my affiliation with an institution that until 1955 barred black Americans from enrolment, I will work instead of That’s the legacy of a university that wasn’t built by enslaved but to Those who once were. For a long time, black Americans have been taught that success is defined by entering and succeeding in historically white institutions. I did, and now I am honored to be grateful to join the long legacy of black Americans who have defined success by working to build their own legacy.”

One of Howard’s Hannah Jones titles will be familiar: Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. The Knight Foundation is providing $5 million to award this chair. Hannah Jones will also chair the new Center for Press and Democracy. Ford Foundation and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will contribute $5 million to this center, while an anonymous donor has provided $5 million for another talented chair — the Sterling Brown Chair in English and Humanities, which will be occupied by Ta-Nehisi Coates — and to create the Ida B Fund Wells Endowed To support the jockey chair.

This is a loss for the UNU journalism faculty, who supported and continues to support Hannah Jones’ candidacy. “While we are disappointed, we are not surprised. We support the choice of Mrs. Hannah Jones,” the faculty told the press. in the current situation. “The appalling treatment of one of our country’s most honored journalists by her alma mater was insulting, inappropriate and unfair. We’ll be frank: He was racist.”

It’s also a loss for the students who were there Among the heroes of the story, with Lamar Richards, president of the student body, who also serves on the board of trustees, petitioning the emergency trustees meeting and enforcing the vote. But this is the decision taken by the leadership of the United Nations Command. The university would not advocate for someone fully worthy of the position when faced with political pressures. and lost.

As a result, Howard’s students will benefit from the University of North Carolina’s shortsighted decision to bow to pressure from the right, a win for HBCUs, which are often overlooked by major funders.

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