Left-wing journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones officially turned down a tenure offer from the University of North Carolina on Tuesday following months of controversy and public outcry over the school's initial decision to deny her the permanent post.
Hannah-Jones, the controversial creator of "The 1619 Project" — a New York Times initiative that reframed the history of the United States by putting slavery and inherent racism at its epicenter — announced her decision during an interview on "CBS This Morning" after UNC's board of trustees voted last week to change course and offer her tenure.
The university initially declined to grant Hannah-Jones tenure last May due to backlash against the project and other radical ideas she expressed publicly. Instead, the school extended her a five-year contract offer and a promise to revisit tenure after that time — an offer which she accepted.
But news surrounding Hannah-Jones' tenure denial wouldn't go away as supporters of the journalist decried the school's decision as racist and sexist.
On Tuesday, Hannah-Jones echoed those sentiments while announcing that she would not be accepting UNC's offer but would instead serve as the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Reporting at Howard University.
Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones on turning down UNC role following tenure controversy www.youtube.com
"Look what it took to get tenure," she complained. "I went through the tenure process and I received the unanimous approval from the faculty to be granted tenure. And so to be denied it and to only have the vote occur on the last possible day at the last possible moment, after threat of legal action, after weeks of protest, after it became a national scandal, it's just not something that I want anymore."
The journalist argued that she had initially been denied tenure "because of political opposition, because of discriminatory views against my viewpoint, and I believe my race and my gender."
"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," she lamented.
In reality, the university had much to consider before offering Hannah-Jones tenure, none of which directly related to either her race or sex.
The journalist, despite being awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work on "The 1619 Project," had been broadly condemned by American historians for presenting a wholly inaccurate picture of America's founding and history.
In an open letter sent last year, the National Association of Scholars urged the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind its prize, calling Hannah-Jones' essay "profoundly flawed" and "disfigured by unfounded conjectures and patently false assertions."
The project has since undergone some significant stealth-editing.