PW Exclusive: UNC student body president calls for special meeting of BOT on Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure

Lamar Richards, student body president at UNC-Chapel Hill and member of the school’s board of trustees, has called for a special meeting of the board to discuss the tenure status of Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Lamar Richards

Under the board’s bylaws a special meeting must be called within ten days if six members of the board make a request through a formal petition. It is not yet clear how many members of the board will join Richards in his request. But on Wednesday a board member told Policy Watch that a special meeting is “very likely.”

In his letter to board Secretary Artis Neal and Assistant Secretary Clayton Somers, Richard asks for the meeting on or before June 30. Hannah-Jones was originally scheduled as the school’s Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism July 1.

As Policy Watch reported this week, Hannah-Jones’s legal team told the school this week that she will not begin teaching at the school without a tenure vote. Their letter to the school says she has been denied a board vote as a result of discrimination and political interference.

“I am the first trustee to my knowledge to petition for a special-called meeting,” Richards said in a statement Wednesday. “This, however, is not the only way for a special-called or emergency meeting to be called. The chair of the board can do that at any time. I am hopeful, based on some of my conversations with colleagues on the board, that five individuals will join me in petitioning to the board to support the need for a special-called meeting.”

In his letter, Richards said he is making his formal petition for a special meeting “for the sake of our university’s future, not as the sole corrective measure for inclusion efforts on campus but as the first step to ignite this critical phase of bolstering inclusion for Carolina.”

Read Richards’ full letter requesting a special meeting of the board of trustees here.

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