UNC retaliated against Cramer’s free speech
TO THE EDITOR:
I am grateful for The Daily Tar Heel’s coverage of my IT access dispute, but I am disappointed in its misleading and erroneous editorial.
The editorial claims I should “drop a case that would prove frivolous” and “take a punishment (I) deserved and avoid being a distraction.”
Animal activist Joseph Villarosa began harassing me and the University in November and University general counsel Leslie Strohm immediately obtained permission to read my emails.
I soon stopped using my UNC account to answer Villarosa, but I heard nothing from Strohm for two months when she repeated his charges.
I denied Villarosa’s claims, but I have never received a response.
Two months later, Strohm demanded that I remove a link, which led to other links, from my UNC website and I complied.
Following an email to her asking for an apology, Chancellor Holden Thorp ordered that my IT access be disabled in obvious retaliation.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, whose president was the keynote speaker at UNC’s First Amendment Day in 2009, is defending me on this matter.
Certainly, FIRE would not support frivolous actions.
FIRE wrote Holden Thorp asking that “you protect the fundamental rights of a longtime member of the UNC community” and “that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill uphold its obligations to free speech by immediately reinstating Cramer’s account access.”
Strohm’s response was truly frivolous, falsely claiming that I have “no official business to conduct.”
This is the basis for my claim against the University — retaliation for speech which violates the First Amendment.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this letter misstated the argument of the editorial in question. That editorial argued that Cramer should drop the case he is planning.
The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.