Statement from UNC-Chapel Hill Vice Chancellor for University Communications Joel Curran

“Most of the findings offered in the public records released today, July 30, related to Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure candidacy have been previously disclosed in news reports. The records correct the incorrect assertions suggesting the Board of Trustees chose not to take up her tenure decision in November.

“The tenure application was not presented to the Board of Trustees in November 2020 because Provost Blouin was in the process of completing his review of the application at that time. The timing of Provost Blouin’s review was conveyed to Dean King at that time. He completed his review before the end of 2020, and he submitted the application for inclusion on the agenda of the Board’s University Affairs Committee prior to its January 2021 meeting and was prepared to present it. Shortly before the meeting, the Chair of the University Affairs Committee elected not to include the application on the committee’s agenda because he wanted more time to request and consider additional information. Upon learning of the postponement, Dean King expressed concern to Provost Blouin and Chancellor Guskiewicz that the University risked losing Ms. Hannah-Jones to another university where she reportedly had other pending opportunities. To alleviate that risk, the University negotiated a variable track appointment (a new tenure-track option adopted by the faculty and approved by the BOT in fall 2020) with Ms. Hannah-Jones to assure that Ms. Hannah-Jones would join the faculty of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media in July 2021 and that the school would be able to submit her application for tenure at a later date. Ms. Hannah-Jones accepted that appointment in February 2021. Neither the Chancellor nor the Provost stated or speculated how they believed the Board may or may not have voted had the Board been presented with and considered the tenure application in November 2020 or in January 2021. The Board ultimately called a special meeting on June 30, 2021, to consider Ms. Hannah-Jones’ tenure application, and it voted to extend her an unconditional offer of tenure.” 

– Vice Chancellor of University Communications Joel Curran