A coalition of UNC-Chapel Hill student leaders released a statement Thursday condemning the university’s decision not to extend tenure to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.
In the form of a public letter to Hannah-Jones, the student leaders called the decision a failure.
“We are frustrated and disappointed that our University, the flagship institution of the UNC System, has failed not only you, an outstanding alumna, but its students, its faculty, its community as a whole—and yes, the spirit upon which Carolina was founded: Lux Libertas—light and liberty,” the student leaders wrote.
The decision is the latest to downplay antiracism efforts the school’s professed mission to reckon with the racial history of both the university and the nation, the students wrote.
“Walking into this University, unfortunately, you are walking into a place where respect is minimal, criticism is high, and quantity is all too few for academics of color—especially Black women,” the student wrote.” Knowing this and recognizing the critical importance of upholding the integrity and impact of your work, we cannot ask you to come here. We respect your work and your contribution to this country’s history too much for you or your scholarship to be the constant target of disrespect here at Carolina, be it from our leaders in South Building, the Board of Trustees, or Board of Governors.”
“At UNC, however, you will also find a community of committed student leaders—activists, advocates, and representatives who stand behind you, recognize the impact of your work, and” will support you from your first step on campus, should that be the decision you make,” the students wrote. ” You will witness a system of students, faculty, staff, and community members who will elevate your work and steadfastly defend its tenets.”
Read the entire statement here.