Laura Noble Comments On Nikole Hannah-Jones’ UNC Tenure Fight


WRAL News at 11 PM Est

Lena: Thanks Mark, a possible legal battle is brewing over a UNC hiring decision. Lawyers for Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones requested lawmakers hold onto all documents related to her hiring it’s the latest development in the tenure decision debate. WRAL’s Julian Grace joins us live in Chapel Hill with reaction to today’s letter, Julian.

Julian: Lena the university was very specific, and a lot of people were constantly constantly talking about this, even a lot of the students that we ran into they had a lot to say about what’s next.

Julian: The letter could be a precursor to the looming lawsuit looks like, there might be some viable claims here for either race discrimination or violation word First Amendment speech rights. We talked the letter over with employment lawyer Laura Noble, she’s been keeping up with Hannah Jones’ his case who was hired by the university in April as a Knight Chair. The Pulitzer Prize and Peabody winner is known for her work on the 1619 Project about slavery’s impact on America, and Hannah-Jones supporters say she hasn’t been given tenure because of the controversial nature of her work.

Laura Noble: I think they should be taking this matter very seriously, and look at her potential claims and speak to her and her attorneys about what their concerns are.

Julian: Hannah Jones released this statement on the heels of the news she and her team may be considering legal action.

… quote “I had no desire to bring turmoil or a political firestorm to the university that I love but I am obligated to fight back against a wave of anti-democratic suppression that seeks to prohibit the free exchange of ideas, silence black voices, and chill free speech”

Julian: We did reach out to UNC for comment on the letter, and received this today it says in response quote “we can confirm the university has received or letter from attorneys representing Nicole Hannah-Jones, we have no additional comment at this time.”

Julian: Some students though expressed frustration with the way the university is handling the situation,

UNC Student: Students are frustrated and disappointed, especially students of color because of Hannah-Jones work with the 1619 project and exposing some of America’s true but tragic history. I think folks are disappointed to see this decision by the university and really expect more.

Julian: You heard it there, also the attorneys representing Hannah Jones said that UNC unlawfully discriminated against her based on the content of her work and her race, they vowed to fight to vindicate her rights. Lena.

Lena: Julian Grace live in Chapel Hill, thank you.

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