And the letters about the UNC-CH incident keep coming. Here are eight more online-only. Check out tomorrow's editorial page for more.
Sadly, amid sensationalist coverage, the gracious and commendable action taken by the Carolina Hispanic Association has been lost. Dressed in black and adorned with white ribbons, the CHispA contingent remained respectful throughout the proceedings, breaking silence only to plead with others to allow Tom Tancredo to speak so that their dissent could be voiced thereafter. While most in the room were swayed by their impassioned call for civility, the silence was short-lived.
We are disappointed that the activists who relished in preventing Tancredo's speech failed to see the difference between protest and intimidation. By mobilizing a mob to intimidate and threaten a political adversary, the protesters assumed the hateful, dangerous posture of those they condemned. It pains us to say that Tancredo emerged from this event as one of the most sympathetic figures.
In their blind pursuit of disruption, the protesters squandered a rare opportunity to confront Tancredo's ignorant views with reasoned argument. Lizette Lopez, vice president of CHispA, put it best: “Ironically, the people that are trying to get our voices heard silenced us.”
It is our hope that the student community learns from this shameful display and treats future guests, no matter how controversial, with civility.
Ian Conlon and Toby Nathan
Although not a UNC alum, I was very disappointed in UNC and its students. I always considered it a superb educational institution and actually was accepted to UNC when I was a young man, although in the end, I did not accept the invitation to attend. I always considered UNC to be on a par with UVa and Vanderbilt, my wife’s alma mater.
What happened at UNC-CH changed my opinion. Congressman Tancredo was correct in his using the word fascist to describe what happened, and unfortunately he is correct in saying that many universities have become well out of step with American values and are essentially inhabited by academics whose leftist leanings are not offset by more moderate views and therefore create an overall environment of hate and fundamentalism of the sort that people like me see personally every day in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just because it is leftist/liberal hate, doesn’t make it any less hateful. I am sure UNC professors are proud of their students and, frankly, that is a major part of the problem. I wonder why faculty and university presidents find it so unusual that taxpayers find less and less value in supporting schools that do not reflect the values and mores of society at large.
John J. Jordan
Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)
I believe that the furor over the latest instance of free speech suppression on the UNC-CH campus failed to identify the real enemy of our body politic: the subversive professors who engender this kind of anti-American sentiment within the impressionable minds of the students under their charge.
I’m sure these kids don’t spontaneously decide to undermine their own rights without sufficient prodding. Efforts must be made to identify and sanction those within the incestuous, ivory tower of Marxist academia who have created this situation, rather than to demonize the “useful idiots” they employ to carry out their political agenda. Until then, these professors will continue to brainwash their legions of Che Guevara T-Shirt wearing students, thinking all the while “Viva La Ignorant Rich White Kids.”
I was appalled when I read about the rowdy students that caused cancelation of an invited guest’s speech at UNC. I would hope that the university would find the people responsible and show them the door. As a taxpayer-funded higher learning institution, there is no place on campus for those who want to suppress free speech, even if you do not agree with the speaker’s views. Those students should be banished from the campus for their actions.
As an alumnus of UNC-Chapel Hill, I am deeply ashamed that the university permitted a wild gang of student and faculty rioters to prevent former congressman Tom Tancredo from speaking against allowing illegal immigrants to have in-state tuition benefits. Pictures I have seen show some of the protesters carrying signs with “Western Civilization” between swastikas and others comparing the UNC host organization, Youth for Western Civilization, to the Hitler Youth. This gang committed acts that should never be permitted on a university campus — suppressing free speech with threats of violence and the criminal act of vandalizing a university building.
Chancellor Thorp’s reaction was that of a spineless wimp. He said, “We’re very sorry ...Tancredo wasn’t able to speak.” Not a word about the despicable, even criminal, behavior of some UNC students and faculty. The only faculty member publicly identified is Prof. Altha Cravey, who has been associated with other far-left causes. Apparently, there will be an investigation of criminal activity by the protesters and of “use of force” by campus police. “Use of force” consisted of spraying pepper spray into the air to try to disperse the rioters. Of course, my calling them “rioters” is “hate speech” in the far-left vocabulary.
As advocates of both free speech and immigrants' rights, we were dismayed to see that a student demonstration against former congressman Tom Tancredo, who was invited to speak at UNC-CH, got so out of hand that Tancredo's speech was ended just minutes after it began.
We applaud the majority of students who turned out to engage in peaceful protest in support of basic fairness for undocumented students who are working to become citizens and productive members of our community. However, the efforts by some to prevent Tancredo from even being heard are incredibly disturbing and are indicative of a lack of civility that has become all too pervasive not only on college campuses but also on talk radio, on cable news programs and across society as a whole.
Our democracy was founded on the ability of individuals to engage in civil discourse with one another. The First Amendment stands for the proposition that everyone is entitled to voice their opinions. Rather than attempting to stifle an opponent's viewpoint, we urge all Americans to remember the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas.
Legal director, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina
In the nation that leads the world in the right to free speech; in the town that relishes diversity; on the campus that prepares future leaders of the greatest nation in the world; there is an ugliness, hate, hypocrisy and hubris.
College campuses used to be a place for sharing in the freedom of ideas, but it seems no more. Free speech is reserved for those who toe the party line in this very liberal town/campus. No free speech for those who differ. When you abridge the free speech of those with whom you disagree, you make a mockery of yourself and the rights you count on. You could be next. You should be next.
When you violate the rights of others, you put in peril your own.
As a graduate of UNC-CH, I was appalled to learn of the outrageous behavior of hundreds of UNC students and faculty in preventing former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo from presenting an invited talk at the university dealing with illegal integration.
Peaceful protest is fine, but screaming obscenities, disruptive behavior, destruction of university property and threats of physical violence against the speaker (“We know where you sleep at night”) are unacceptable. Regardless of the merits of the speaker’s position, such intimidation, threats and violence reflect the close-minded actions of a mob that is intellectually incapable of discussing and debating the issue at hand.
The reported reaction of the police was to investigate the actions of the security force. If this is to be the focus of the investigation, and UNC takes no actions against the students and faculty responsible for this disaster, then I no longer will be donating to the university, and I encourage other alumni to do the same.
Dr. Joseph Haseman