The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday September 28th

Op-ed: Calling on Chancellor Guskiewicz & Provost Clemens to support free speech

The UNC-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Association of University Professors calls upon Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Chris Clemens to publicly support and defend UNC students, faculty and staff who are supportive of Palestinian rights or critical of Israeli policies and practices. In this particular case, in this political climate, blanket statements about the first amendment, such as the one circulated at the beginning of the semester, are not enough. 

The Daily Tar Heel unpublished a recent editorial about students studying abroad in Israel at the request of the author due to threats directed at him and his family. An op-ed in response by UNC Students for Justice in Palestine noted that UNC ranks among the ten worst campuses for free speech and that "harassment campaigns perpetuated by Israel supporters centered on UNC’s campus contribute to this widespread atmosphere of censorship." These campaigns are creating a climate of intimidation and fear for a particularly vulnerable section of our campus population including not only Arab and Muslim students, but also progressive Jewish students and others who are critical of Israel.

Recent history at Carolina, in conjunction with a national climate of fear created by websites like Canary Mission, means that our campus and community need a public statement from senior leadership. We urge you to publicly decry all efforts of intimidation and harassment designed to limit free speech on Israel/Palestine specifically. Let all UNC students know that you are committed to supporting them in the face of pressure and harassment from groups on and off campus.

–American Association of University Professors, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapter


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