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Letter to UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees

29 June 2021
To: UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees
From: Undersigned Members of the Executive Committee, Environment, Ecology and Energy Program at UNC-Chapel Hill

We, the below listed members of the Executive Committee of the Environment, Energy and Ecology Program (E3P) at UNC Chapel Hill urge the UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees to vote immediately on Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure case.

As has been clearly documented by the Hussman School of Journalism and Media and the Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee among others, the tenure review process is highly rigorous. We join and amplify the urgent calls from across campus and around the world that you immediately take action, act in good faith on principles of shared governance and vote on Hannah-Jones’ tenure case. To date, your lack of action has caused significant damage: it has denied an acclaimed journalist completion of the review process, it has caused what will be lasting damage to the reputation and functioning of our university, and it is presenting stark challenges to efforts to recruit, retain and advance the careers of innovative faculty, student and staff – particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color members of our community. Your inaction is having dire consequences for excellence at this university.

We urge you to take action and vote on tenure for Hannah-Jones and to recommit the Board of Trustees to the diversity, equity and inclusion vision and goals that you endorsed as part of the Carolina Next strategic plan.

Yours Sincerely,

Drew Coleman, Professor and Department Chair, Geological Sciences
Elizabeth Havice, Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Paul Leslie, Pardue Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Chair of E3P
Chris Martens, William B. Aycock Distinguished Professor of Marine Sciences
Noreen McDonald, Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chari in Public Policy and Chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning
Michael Piehler, Professor, Institute of Marine Science and Director, Institute of Marine Sciences
Jill Stewart, Philip C. Singer Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and Deputy Director, UNC Galapagos Initiative