Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted 9-4 to grant award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure in connection with her appointment as the Knight Foundation Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the Hussman School of Journalism. The vote comes after unprecedented action by the Board to initially deny tenure upon her appointment as a Knight Foundation-endowed chair. In response, Ms. Hannah-Jones issued the following statement:

“I want to acknowledge the tremendous outpouring of support I have received from students, faculty, colleagues, and the general public over the last month – including the young people who showed up today at the Board of Trustees meeting, putting themselves at physical risk. I am honored and grateful for and inspired by you all. I know that this vote would not have occurred without you.

“Today’s outcome and the actions of the past month are about more than just me. This fight is about ensuring the journalistic and academic freedom of Black writers, researchers, teachers, and students. We must ensure that our work is protected and able to proceed free from the risk of repercussions, and we are not there yet. These last weeks have been very challenging and difficult and I need to take some time to process all that has occurred and determine what is the best way forward.”

Ms. Hannah-Jones is represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), along with co-counsel Levy Ratner, P.C. and Ferguson, Chambers & Sumter, P.A.


About LDF
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multidisciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About Levy Ratner P.C.
Levy Ratner P.C. is a New York City based law firm representing individuals in employment-related matters, unions in the private and public sectors, and employee benefit funds. From providing full service representation to unions, to pursuing claims on behalf of individual employees, to litigating class action discrimination and civil rights cases, Levy Ratner, P.C. provides strategic guidance to clients as they negotiate over terms and conditions of employment, and navigate claims of discrimination and harassment, whether in traditional industries like academia, healthcare, financial services, or emerging ones, such as technology and robotics.

About Ferguson, Chambers & Sumter, P.A.
Ferguson, Chambers & Sumter, P.A. is one of the premier trial firms in the State of North Carolina. The firm has a national reputation as a provider of service for civil rights, medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, personal injury, wrongful death, employment, criminal defense, workers’ compensation, teachers’ rights, business, and wills and estates.