The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

University Receives Criticism for Teach-In

Although the University has never officially supported the views expressed during the teach-in, Chancellor James Moeser has defended the rights to free expression and assembly.

The Sept. 17 forum, titled "Understanding the Attack on America: An Alternative View," was sponsored by the Student Affairs Division, the Progressive Faculty Network, the University Center for International Studies and the Carolina Seminar on Bridging the Divide, according to the faculty network's Web site.

The teach-in featured a number of national activists and UNC professors who were critical of the government's response to to the terrorist attacks.

As of Tuesday, Moeser had received about 50 phone calls and 300 e-mails from people concerned about the teach-in's message. Moeser said he has responded to complaints by an e-mail, highlighting his support for discussion of current events, regardless of his personal beliefs.

During Thursday's Board of Trustees meeting, Moeser championed UNC as a place where diverse viewpoints can be shared freely. "I think one of the things that has always marked the campus is total freedom of assembly," he said. "While many don't agree with the issues expressed, they still defend the right to free expression. This University is a place of ideas -- this campus is a leader in the sense of intensity, focus, caring and compassion."

But others from outside the UNC community think the University was out of line to allow the teach-in.

Charles Wolfe, a 1965 UNC graduate who lives in Manhattan, heard about the teach-in on a national television broadcast. Wolfe was upset by coverage that reported a teach-in panelist had blamed the U.S. for the terrorist attacks.

"This seemed like a highly charged diatribe that sought to demonize the United States at a particularly sensitive time," he said. "I think it's inappropriate and hurtful. It's plain rubbish."

Wolfe said he was considering donating money to UNC but that the teach-in is making him rethink his decision.

Other members of the campus community have felt the effects of negative national attention in response to the teach-in.

Elin Slavick, associate professor and teach-in moderator, said she has received threats from people who are not a part of the campus community. Slavick also said she has been contacted by Time magazine to discuss comments she has made about U.S. foreign policy that have drawn criticism from conservative activist David Horowitz.

Some students also were critical of the views expressed at the teach-in. Steve Russell, editor of The Carolina Review, called some of the remarks at the forum unacceptable and irresponsible. "The University has given these people a place of intellectual authority," he said. "The professors lobbied so much criticism at the government. I don't know whether they hate America, but they obviously hate a lot about it."

But while Slavick has received some negative feedback from national audiences, she said the UNC community has been supportive. "I've gotten an overwhelming positive response," she said. "So many students have come up to me and thanked me. I think the teach-in was hugely successful in opening up discussion."

Slavick emphasized that all opinions on campus need to be voiced, regardless of whether they are unpopular. She said, "Because this is a state institution, I think everyone's voice needs to be heard."

The University Editor can be reached at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for November 20, 2023