fbpx
Connect with us

Education

UNC Black Students Protests Amid Vote for Nikole Hannah-Jones Tenure

Published

on

Protest from Black students emerges as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill board of trustees prepares to vote on Nikole Hannah-Jones‘ tenure position.

What We Know:

  • Hannah-Jones was set to start her position as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at UNC on July 1st. This position is typically a tenured one and she received full support for the position from the Hussman School of Journalism and Media dean, Susan King, the provost, the chancellor, and many of her new colleagues. The board of trustees decided not to give Hannah-Jones the position at a tenured level after receiving criticism from conservative community members, who disliked Hannah-Jones’ portrayal of American history in her journalism project The 1619 Project.
  • The 1619 Project project historically examines how the slavery of Black people molded the American political, social, and economic institutions we see today. Published in August 2019, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved group of Black people arriving in Virginia, it emphasizes racial inequities as the foundation of American history. It gives educators a curriculum that authentically encompasses Black history into American history. Hannah-Jones was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for the project.
  • The journalist sought legal counsel after the board’s refusal of giving her tenure. Hannah-Jones stated she doesn’t want to cause turmoil but does believe she has the right to fight against the “anti-democratic suppression that seeks to prohibit the free exchange of ideas, silence Black voices, and chill free speech.” The board, for now, has Hannah-Jones set to receive a five-year contract with the possibility of tenured to be discussed towards the end of the contract.
  • Last Friday, the Black Student Movement (BSM) organized a protest for people to come and speak on their frustration with the board of trustees’ decision. Several hundred students, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered at the university’s quad by the chancellor’s office and chanted “no justice, no peace” and held up signs, with one stating “Hussman Alumni We Stand With #NikoleHannahJones.”
  • Protesters described how Black students have been treated on campus and the lack of representation amongst faculty and staff. Members of BSM issued out 13 demands for Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and three for the Board of Trustees, such as no UNC police at resident hall move-in, ‘Alert Carolina’ be used when dangerous white supremacists are on campus, make Nikole Hannah-Jones a tenured professor, and more diversity on the board of trustees.
  • Jaylen Harrell, a sophomore and member of BSM, stated, that Hannah-Jones not getting tenure was shocking. The decision made students “question where is the university at in terms of how they are viewing their minority students and what our importance level is there.” During the protest, Harrell expressed how minority students want their voices heard and represented through their faculty and staff. King showed her support of the protest via Twitter.

  • University faculty group, the Carolina Black Caucus, met last week and have said that many members are threatening to leave the university after seeing the treatment of Hannah-Jones. Guskiewicz called a meeting to order for the group’s leaders, where vice-chancellor Patricia Harris claimed morale was low and that things needed to change. The caucus was established in 1974 when Black students at the school asked for a place for an African American studies program. UNC Black students and faculty had to jump through multiple hoops for decades before they finally got their own space. In 2004, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History was created.

“This is not an isolated incident! It’s exacerbated what we’ve been seeing across campus, and even across the country when it comes to Black faculty, staff, and students. This is a systemic issue where the goalposts are constantly being moved for people of color,” said Harris.

  • In 2006, Ph.D. candidate John K. Chapman wrote in his dissertation that the university was seen as “the Southern Part of Hell” or “the plantation” to many Black campus employees and students. He stated, “this has to do with the university’s long history of white supremacy and its role as the dominant institution and main employer in Chapel Hill.” In 2019, students became fed up with the “Silent Sam” statue on campus and toppled it, forcing the statue to be given to a Confederate group and causing the chancellor and the police chief at that time, to leave their positions.

Hannah-Jones’ team has released a statement that she will not be joining the faculty if she is not given a tenured position at the university. According to The Hill, the board will meet to vote on Hannah-Jones’ position today at 3 pm.

Comments

comments

Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

Published

on

Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Education

Howard University installs Chadwick Boseman’s name on College of Fine Arts building

Published

on

The “Black Panther” star is seen as an “icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation,” the university said.

What We Know:

“Yesterday, the letters were installed over the now official Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts,” the school said in a tweet Friday. “An icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation. Thank you Mr. Boseman.”

  • Howard University first announced in May that it would rename its performing and visual arts school after the ‘Black Panther’ star who also happens to be an alumnus of the school.
  • Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in directing. During his time at the school, Boseman led a student protest against the absorption of the College of Fine Arts into the larger College of Arts & Sciences, according to the university.

In 2018, the year Boseman rocketed to international fame as King T’Challa in the Marvel cinematic universe, the university announced that its performing and visual arts school would return to its independent status.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Education

Education Department Will Erase $5.8 Billion in Loans For Borrowers With Disabilities

Published

on

The Department of Education (DOE) announced it would eliminate the outstanding loans of over 32,000 borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities. It will also remove barriers that block future students from qualifying for this relief.

What We Know:

  • The DOE’s declaration erases approximately $5.8 million in debt. In addition, NPR writes that it symbolizes a “significant step” toward improving a “troubled debt relief program meant to help borrowers with disabilities.” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed this statement when the Education Department revealed its decision, stating it would remove a major barrier for disabled students.

“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Cardona said.

  • Despite the program’s intention to wipe student loans of those who cannot work due to disabilities, those who qualified for the program needed to apply for relief. Under the new plan, students will obtain automatic relief when identified through a data match with the Social Security Administration. The next match will take place in September.
  • In addition, the Department of Education said it would propose to eliminate the three-year income monitoring period. Officials will stop sending requests to borrowers for income information during the aforementioned years. Furthermore, the DOE will consider removing it entirely during the upcoming negotiated rule-making.
  • Disabled students and advocates believe this will bring change to the program. Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the vote is “long overdue.” However, Yu hopes the Education Department will review the eligibility criteria to determine when someone holds a disability discharge.

Yu added that Social Security’s match does not identify some qualified borrowers.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Trending