The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 20th

Letter: 9/11 class is a part of UNC traditions


As a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and Chair of the Faculty, and in reference to an article in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Tar Heel, I am writing with the strongest support for Professor Neel Ahuja and his first-year seminar course, English 72: Literature of 9/11.

As the oldest and greatest public university in the nation, created by veterans of the Revolutionary War and founders of our country, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has stood for the principles of freedom in the classroom and the public square. Students at the University have long embraced the opportunity to tackle difficult and controversial subjects.

In fact, the storied colors of our University represent the oldest student organizations at Carolina, the Dialectic and Philanthropic literary and debate societies, where the most challenging issues are addressed. As we approach the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, I believe this is a time for reflection and understanding, not for making a case that we should not learn.

As someone who lost a friend in the World Trade Center attacks, I will be visiting the UNC 9/11 Memorial Garden off the brick walkway along Stadium Drive, grateful to live in a nation that secures the rights of all and to work at a University that staunchly defends academic freedom.

Bruce A. Cairns, MD

Professor of Surgery

Chair of the Faculty


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