1619 Project writer Hannah-Jones gets University of North Carolina professorship but without tenure

The author of the 1619 Project will still be hired and has a chance at tenure after five years.

Updated: May 20, 2021 - 8:12am

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The University of North Carolina has rescinded its offer of a tenured journalism professor position to New York Times writer and founder of the 1619 project Nikole Hannah-Jones.

The university will still employ Hannah-Jones as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at its Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

UNC rescinded its offer of tenure Wednesday, instead offering Hannah-Jones a five-year contract, after which she can apply for tenure, according to The New York Times.

The university in April announced the hiring, which quickly became a controversy as many conservatives, North Carolina politicians, historians and even former President Trump had disputed the premise and veracity of the 1619 Project.

The project is a series of pieces reframing the founding of America to 1619, when the first slaves were brought to the colonies rather than in 1776 and argues the American Revolution was primarily fought to protect slavery.

"This is a very political thing," said a university Board of Trustees member, according to NC Policy Watch. "The university and the board of trustees and the Board of Governors and the legislature have all been getting pressure since this thing was first announced last month. There have been people writing letters and making calls, for and against. But I will leave it to you which is carrying more weight."

A university spokesperson told Policy Watch that details of individual faculty hiring processes are "personnel protected information."

Alberto Ibargüen, the president of Knight Foundation, said the agreement with the university for the post calls for a five-year appointment, with tenure review within that period, The New York Times also reports.