The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 20th

Report Criticizes Universities' Responses to Attacks

The report, titled "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It," states that the American academic community is irresponsible to offer views that counter mainstream opinions.

"College and university faculty have been the weak link in America's response to the attack," the report states.

The ACTA was founded in 1995 by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and Lynne Chaney, wife of Vice President Dick Chaney.

The organization's stated mission is to protect academic freedoms and maintain the free exchange of ideas on college campuses, according to the group's Web site.

The report admonishes universities nationwide for allowing events such as teach-ins and protests to continue. It criticizes these events as having one recurring theme: "Blame America First."

One of the article's central criticisms is that university communites might be silencing conservative students by supporting anti-war sentiments.

The report contains 117 numbered examples of liberal activities on college campuses or quotes from faculty members. Twelve of the examples included occurred at UNC. Two UNC professors quoted in the report were mentioned because of their support of a recent series of campus teach-ins designed to explore alternatives to military action.

Catherine Lutz, a UNC anthropology professor who was quoted in the report, said she had not yet read the report and was not aware that she was quoted.

Lutz said she supported the teach-in activities. "This is an educational institution, and teach-ins are educational events."

Lutz said she has received some criticism for her views but not from within the UNC community.

Art Professor Elin O'Hara Slavick also was quoted in the ACTA report regarding the teach-in. Slavick was quoted in the organization's report as saying, "We offer this teach-in as an alternative to the cries of war and as an end to the cycle of continued global violence."

Slavick said she was not surprised by the article's publication. "They have every right to say it," she said. "The University has held (many) events ... for me and people who support the war."

Slavick also was unaware she had been quoted in the report.

The ACTA report does support professors' rights to speak but remains critical of their message and intention.

Slavick also said UNC is organizing its fifth teach-in, titled "Enduring Freedoms: Civil and Immigrant Rights After Sept. 11." Slavick said the University should continue to act as a respectful forum for open social interaction from varied perspectives. "If it can't happen at a public university, we're in trouble."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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