Nikole Hannah-Jones’ July 6 decision to reject the University of North Carolina’s offer of tenure prompted some journalism faculty and college students to downplay the value of “objectivity” and “impartiality” in reporting.
On July 14, journalism professors at the University of North Carolina held a meeting to discuss their discomfort with objective reporting, specifically “impartiality” in reporting and editing, as outlined in the “Statement of Core Values” displayed in the university’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
The “Statement of Core Values” plaque was contingent Walter Hussman Jr.’s naming gift to the university, as reported by The News & Observer. According to the local news outlet, the UNC faculty felt uncomfortable with donors’ involvement in university hiring, specifically the role Hussman’s name and beliefs play in the journalism school.
[RELATED: Student leaders issue ‘anti-racist’ demands to UNC in aftermath of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ rejection of tenure offer]
On July 15, Appalachian State University students Hannah Cullen and Isabella King wrote an op-ed in the university’s student newspaper, The Appalachian , arguing that anti-racism and dismantling “white supremacy” is more valuable than upholding academic standards.
Referring to the controversy, the students claim UNC trustees are representatives of systemic racism within the realm of higher education. “The move made by top university officials at UNC, including individuals on the board of trustees, is an abuse of power directly silencing Black voices and pursuits. A Black journalist should not have to choose between calling out and deconstructing white supremacy or excelling in her career,” the op-ed states.
Additionally, the students targeted the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Walter Hussman Jr due to the series of emails he sent to UNC trustees voicing his concerns over Hannah-Jones’s biased reporting and the historical inaccuracies.
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“Hussman’s valuing of ‘objectivity’ over anti-racism is rooted in white supremacy because objectivity, as Hannah-Jones argues, values a white perspective,” the students wrote.
“If your objectivity actively reduces Black voices and contributions, perhaps you don’t value perspectives that don’t look like your own. The people in power write the history books and will always view their actions through the rose-tinted glasses of self-justification.”The students also argued that […]
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