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UNC professor slams board as journalism school accreditation downgraded after Nikole Hannah-Jones controversy

A professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is speaking out against the school’s Board of Trustees over their treatment of controversial writer Nikole Hannah-Jones 

“It wasn’t the journalism department that didn’t want to tenure Nikole Hannah-Jones,” Mimi Chapman, professor and Faculty Council Chair Mimi Chapman said this week, according to Inside Higher Ed. “That was a problem at the Board of Trustees level, which has been widely reported. The delay in the vote and the whole maneuvering behind the scenes is what produced this problem.”

UNC EMAILS SHOW LONG DEBATE OVER TENURE FOR NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, WHO TOOK JOB AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY INSTEAD

“The faculty and students bear the brunt for a situation that they didn’t create, and that’s a shame,” Chapman added.

Chapman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Chapman’s comments come days after UNC’s journalism school received a downgrade of its accreditation over concerns of lack of diversity in the department following on the controversy over hiring Hannah-Jones.

1619 PROJECT’S NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES CLAIMS AMERICANS ARE TAUGHT ‘THE HISTORY OF A COUNTRY THAT DOES NOT EXIST’

Nikole Hannah-Jones signs books for her supporters before taking the stage to discuss her book, "The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story" at a 2021  L.A. Times book club event. 

“[T]he UNC Hussman School is dealing with an existential crisis both internally and externally,” the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications determined. “The [Hannah-Jones] controversy… exposed long-standing problems. Many stem from inconsistencies in executing the goals in the 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.”

Hannah-Jones, author of the 1619 Project, was initially offered a multi-year position to become the school’s next Knight Chair in Journalism – an endowed position that has previously included tenure. Once that was revealed, public outcry and threats to walk from Hannah-Jones prompted the school’s board of trustees to vote in favor of granting her tenure. The Pulitzer-winning alumna then chose to go teach at another school.”

In an interview with CBS This Morning on July 6, Jones explained her decision and said that she did not want to accept the position at UNC after her tenure vote became a “national scandal.”

“Because look what it took to get tenure,” she said. “This was a position that since the 1980s came with tenure. The Knight chairs are designed for professional journalists when working in the field, to come into academia. Every other chair before me, who also happened to be White, received that position with tenure.”

1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones is seen as a hero to liberal media organizations and Hollywood alike despite widespread backlash to the award-winning project.

Emails obtained by Fox News last year show school officials debating whether to grant Hannah-Jones tenure while expressing concerns about her writings which claim Americans are taught ‘the history of a country that does not exist’ and have been debunked as inaccurate by critics.

Several states, including Florida and Missouri, have included prohibitions on the 1619 Project with bans they’ve implemented on promoting critical race theory in public schools.

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Adam Sabes contributed to this report

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