TO THE EDITOR:
The outrages have been piling up rapidly at UNC-Chapel Hill this fall, but the latest affront to the values of our community is so far beyond the pale that jobs should be lost for it. Many have been stunned to learn that a UNC campus police officer went "undercover" to infiltrate a student protest group that has gathered peacefully at the Silent Sam monument in late August.
The officer's identity came to light inadvertently when he responded to last week's attack on the Davie Poplar. The officer repeatedly lied about his identity (he assumed an alias), insinuated himself into the good graces of the protesters, learned things about their private lives and shared some or all of that information with who knows whom.
As a consequence of this wholly unjustified betrayal, our students now look nervously over their shoulders, they suspect the "allies" who surround them, they wonder what else the University will do to silence or retaliate against them, and they have to think twice about the wisdom of protesting and speaking out on controversial issues. Is this Chapel Hill in 2017 or East Germany in 1980? Students' rights, and their trust in the institution they honor and to which they pay tuition dollars, have been infringed.
The broad cause of free speech on our campus has been willfully undermined. And this latest assault on the values of a free, open, and truth-seeking community was planned, or endorsed, in the Chancellor's office. In the wake of such an outrage, an honorable administration would answer for its misbehavior with resignations. In Carol Folt's South Building, the beat goes on.
Prof. Jay Smith
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