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Appointments, Promotion and Tenure committee's open letter in support of Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones is an investigative reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and the creator of "The 1619 Project," which marked the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship carrying enslaved Africans to America. Photo courtesy of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure released an open letter Wednesday calling on the Board of Trustees to offer Nikole Hannah-Jones a tenured position at UNC. 

The APT Committee believes decisions concerning appointment with tenure are a critical element of the University, according to the statement. 

Tenure appointment is a lengthy process that is “never taken lightly”, the statement read. Decisions at each step of the process should be based on the candidate’s merits and the stated expectations of their UNC departments.  

“To do otherwise compromises both the tenure process and the values that the University seeks to uphold,” the letter read. 

The statement comes after Chair of the Faculty, Mimi Chapman, released a letter highlighting the broader issues in Hannah-Jones' case. 

According to the letter, the decision has done significant damage to the University, especially when it comes to recruiting and retaining world-class faculty.  

"We cannot recruit — or retain — the world’s leading scholars when they fear that their work will be judged through any lens other than merit," the letter said. "And in the absence of world-class faculty, Carolina will cease to be a world-class institution and a jewel for the state of North Carolina."

The APT Committee wrote that it is “deeply concerned” about these implications for the UNC community, both because of the potential to set a "dangerous precedent" and because of the significant immediate and long-term harm it's doing to UNC.

“Every day that this case hangs in limbo is another day that damage is being done to this University that we all cherish,” the statement read.