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University Announces New ‘Diversity’ Initiatives After Caving To 1619 Project Creator’s Lawsuit Threat

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) is settling with the founder of the 1619 Project by implementing new diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, the founders’ attorneys announced Saturday.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, filed a complaint last year against UNC after she was denied tenure at the university. UNC is settling with Hannah-Jones by implementing a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative in order to “address racial inequity at the university,” according to a statement by the Legal Defense Fund.

The settlement includes a training by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of 20 UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and staff as a part of a more “inclusive” selection process for new employees, the statement said. The Carolina Black Caucus, the school’s group that works to “empower UNC Black Faculty and Staff,” will receive $5,000 of funding for any group sponsored events and meetings.

A “trauma-informed therapist,” who focuses on “creating a safe place for healing to start,” will be added to the university’s Multicultural Health Program as a part of the settlement by the end of July, according to the statement. The school will also spend about $75,000 on the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as a part of the settlement, WRAL.com reported.

“As a part of the agreement, the University will accelerate its investment in crucial initiatives in Carolina Next, its strategic plan, to further that ongoing work,” Associate Vice Chancellor of University Communications Beth Keith said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Carolina Next is the university’s program which works to “embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion,” but Keith did not expand on which parts of the program will be accelerated as a part of the settlement.

Hannah-Jones won a Pultizer Prize for her work on the 1619 Project, which puts slavery at the center of the United States’ history and argues slavery was the main motivation behind the American Revolution. After being denied tenure, Hannah-Jones accepted a position at Howard University as the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.

“We believe this settlement is an important element of UNC’s ongoing and much-needed work to address racial inequity at the university, and that it provides Ms. Hannah-Jones with the closure necessary to put this incident behind her,” Legal Defense Fund said in its statement. “No less importantly, we believe that the settlement is a victory for the right to free expression — a cornerstone of our democracy that has too frequently been infringed or ignored when claimed by Black people and people from other marginalized groups.”

Legal Defense Fund and Hannah-Jones’ representation, the Levin Agency, did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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