The Faculty Executive Committee met Monday afternoon to discuss the possibility of adopting a free speech policy based on that of the University of Chicago.
Known as the “Chicago principles,” the free speech policy is a set of principles put forth by the University of Chicago. The Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago published a report in order to express the university’s commitment to freedom of speech.
Similar reports and policies have been adopted at other universities following the action taken by the University of Chicago, but it was brought to the attention of Leslie Parise, chair of the faculty, on the committee, by members of UNC's faculty and students. Monday’s meeting of the committee addressed the possibility of UNC adopting a set of similar principles.
One of the main concerns with this proposal was the issue of how it would, or could, be politicized within the North Carolina General Assembly. While members of the committee expressed concern for the feelings of both sides, the committee was simultaneously working to view the policies and principles without politicizing them. This was especially a concern for Mimi Chapman, an associate professor in UNC's School of Social Work.
“When there is worry that it has become politicized, then what do you do with it?” Chapman said. “Do you say that it is bad because it has become politicized or do you look at what it actually is? And I don’t know the answer to that. I think what we were trying to do as a group was to sort of say ‘Let’s look at this in its purest form first, understand it from its source, from Chicago.’”