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Unacceptable: UNC Hussman Alumni denounce UNC’s failure to grant Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure by June 4

Nikole Hannah-Jones has been treated unfairly. UNC Hussman alumni are emphatically in support of her taking action to seek a fair resolution.

As alumni of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, we are disappointed at the multiple attempts by Walter Hussman to influence the recruitment, hiring and tenure process for Nikole Hannah-Jones. When we look back at history and wonder how one group of people could oppress, discount, and control another, we imagine that it could look like this. Possibly starting with someone who “has concerns” and that person talking to more and more people until it escalates into that person and the group of people who agree with him ultimately feeling that their agreement is determinative. They now know best–they have money and power, and through the loudness of their own voices, they now have “authority” to act in ways that determine how other people should think, speak and act. They believe they are right, but this is wrong. Regardless of whether Hussman’s repeated efforts to sway opinions was well-meaning or not, the result was a blatant act of discrimination against a woman of color and distinguished scholar who has different experiences, understandings and beliefs.

We understand the need for donors like Hussman and appreciate the impact that his gift will have to the school and future scholars. But, if there is a conflict between ANY donor and the integrity of our beloved Carolina, its pursuit of diverse voices, or its fair and equitable application of processes for faculty recruitment and retention; the University MUST act to safeguard equal opportunity and civil rights or divest itself of the funds and donors who seek to limit or control the academic freedom of diverse people by weaponizing their stewardship.

We are disappointed that our university’s administration faltered under this pressure and acted in a discriminatory and harmful way to a supremely qualified candidate for a Knight Chair with tenure.

We are disappointed that our Board of Trustees has not provided swift resolution by calling a vote on Hannah-Jones’ tenure packet and making a merit-based decision, which we believe would result in granting tenure.

We applaud Dean King for the honesty and transparency she has provided. We applaud our university administration for correcting their error and submitting Hannah-Jones’ tenure packet. We applaud Walter Hussman for allowing the school to make its own decision while still honoring his commitment to support the work of the remarkable faculty at UNC Hussman.

The damage is already deeply felt and far-reaching. Our Chemistry department has lost a prominent recruit, students of color have shared how angry, deflated and defeated they feel about the message this sends about their value, faculty feel their voices and wishes are devalued and even disrespected, alumni are speaking out against these actions and are concerned that our degrees will lose value because of the controversy and harm our university continues to inflict on people of color, some alumni feel less pride in graduating from our university or school, at least one adjunct has found their continued association with UNC Hussman untenable and has decided not to return this fall, and a remarkable number of people across the nation, including prominent UNC alumni have spoken out against this as unjust–we all see this as a negative mark against a University we used to know and love. Fix what’s broken. Show us all that Carolina is better than this.

We call on the UNC Board of Trustees to act quickly and do the right thing. Let your actions prove that diversity, equity and inclusion are more than PR talking points. The University MUST grant Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure!

  1. Carol Shirley, M.A. 2013
  2. Stephanie Lamm, B.A. 2017
  3. Kendall Cox, B.A. 2019
  4. Justin Anderson-Weber, M.A. 2011
  5. Dana M. Anthony, M.A. 2020
  6. Elizabeth Breyer Bowman, B.A. 2003
  7. Courtni Kopietz, M.A. 2014
  8. Laura Chase de Formigny, B.A. 2009
  9. Caroline Jackson Bass, B.A. 2019
  10. Tricia Cleppe, B.A. 2014
  11. Nacho Corbella, M.A. 2009
  12. Courtney Staton, B.A. 2020
  13. Stephanie Lane, M.A. 2015
  14. Elizabeth Breyer Bowman, B.A. 2003
  15. Andrea Patiño Contreras, M.A. 2016
  16. Jonathan Jones, B.A. 2001, M.A. & J.D. 2011
  17. Adam Lau, M.A. 2018
  18. Jessica Gall Myrick, Ph.D. 2013
  19. Ryan Cocca, B.A. 2013
  20. Jacqueline Charles, B.A. 1994
  21. Kelly Creedon, M.A. 2015
  22. Robert McKeever, Ph.D. 2012
  23. Caroline Metzler, B.A. 2019
  24. Isabella Bartolucci, B.A. 2015
  25. Robert Berges, B.A. 2015
  26. Rachel McMahan, B.A. 2016, M.A. 2017
  27. Dale Van Ollefen, B.A. 2015
  28. Kiara Palmer, B.A. 2013
  29. Rebekah C. Radisch, B.A. 1984, M.A. 2014
  30. Kate Lord, B.A. 2007
  31. Leah Konen, B.A. 2007
  32. Caroline Metzler, B.A. 2019
  33. Elena Rue, M.A. 2011
  34. Holly Roberts, M.A. 2018
  35. Emily Yue, B.A. 2018
  36. Molly Horak, B.A. 2020
  37. Joshua Davis, M.A. 2012
  38. Amanda Rodriguez Smith, B.A. 2008
  39. Christopher Sims, M.A. 2003
  40. Sara Edwards, M.A. 2019
  41. Douglas G. Clark, B.A. 1977
  42. Janelle Royal Harris, B.A. 2002
  43. Talia Wlcek, B.A. 2020
  44. Danielle Gillyard, B.A. 2013
  45. Jay Heinz, M.A. 2007
  46. Ashley Anderson, B.A. 2015
  47. Aisha Johnson, B.A. 2009
  48. Paris Alston, B.A. 2016
  49. Madison Morgan, B.A. 2015
  50. Chris Helton, B.A. 2015
  51. Tegan R Bratcher, Ph.D. 2021
  52. Trevor Bell, Ph.D. 2019
  53. Natalia Brache, B.A. 2020
  54. Jonathan Michels, B.A. 2011
  55. Trey Mangum, B.A. 2015
  56. Melita Marie Garza, Ph.D. 2012
  57. Jacob Rohde, Ph.D. 2021
  58. Justin Lyons, B.A. 2006
  59. Carole V. Bell, Ph.D. 2010
  60. Andrea Martin, B.A. 2002, M.A. 2019
  61. Mike Ferrell, B.A. 2019
  62. Cheyenne Desrosiers, B.A. 2020
  63. Annabelle Holman, B.A. 2020
  64. Ariana van den Akker, B.A. 2012
  65. Ally Henry, B.A. 2020
  66. Emily Stine, B.A. 2020
  67. Meah Barrington, B.A. 2012
  68. Allison Goldblatt, B.A. 2021
  69. Andrea Goetschius, M.A. 2011
  70. Gwendolyn Smith Elliott, B.A. 2018
  71. Lindsay Carbonell, B.A. 2017
  72. Valerie Choe, B.A. 2019
  73. Jeremy Borden, B.A. 2006
  74. Deseré Cross Ward, B.A. 2014
  75. Brittany Peterson, B.A. 2011
  76. Anna Clare Spelman, M.A. 2017
  77. Jeremiah Murphy, M.A. 2019
  78. Chandler Carter, M.A. 2020
  79. Virginia Melton, B.A. 2017
  80. Jackie Shor, B.A. 2019
  81. Curry Kirkpatrick, B.A. 1965
  82. Taylor Doggett, B.A. 2020
  83. Jeffrey Mittelstadt, M.A. 2012, M.B.A. 2007
  84. Samantha Creech, B.A. 2020
  85. Enelda Butler, M.A. 2012
  86. Kasha Ely, B.A. 2014, M.A. 2019
  87. Virginia Horne, M.A. 2021
  88. Sam Killenberg, B.A. 2019

Alumni who wish to join this alumni network, please fill out this form: