Mike Adams

The issue really could not have been simpler. A bunch of protestors at UNC-Chapel Hill decided to interrupt a speech by Tom Tancredo. They disrupted the speech by shouting over him, standing in front of him while he was trying to speak and, finally, by breaking windows in the room where he was speaking.

It worked. Tancredo, feeling threatened, left before giving (all but two minutes of) his speech.

The protestors believed they had a right to disrupt the speech because Tancredo’s argument – that we should enforce immigration laws – was merely “hate speech.” I should not use the term “believed.” These kids don’t have beliefs. They have feelings. They simply felt offended and felt that their feelings trump free speech. And they felt like breaking stuff to show their feelings.

A student named Anthony Dent (along with others) decided to introduce a resolution to condemn the protestor’s actions. He presented it to the UNC Student Congress. Anthony was motivated to do so by an email sent to the UNC student body by Chancellor Holden Thorp.

The chancellor had done the right thing by condemning the protestor’s illegal actions. Mr. Dent’s simple “Resolution to Sustain the Right to Free Speech on Campus” follows in its entirety:

WHEREAS, The April 14, 2009 protests that disrupted and prevented dialogue on a controversial issue amounted to self-censorship;

WHEREAS, One ideal of our University is free academic inquiry;

WHEREAS, Open dialogue and respectful discourse move us towards that ideal.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE STUDENT CONGRESS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL THAT:

We affirm Chancellor Thorp’s appropriate and immediate response, and we call upon Chancellor Holden Thorp to follow through on his commitment to discover the identities of the offending students and press criminal charges, if warranted, for the damages wrought upon university property.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT:

We encourage students to engage on an intellectual level even with those with whom they disagree.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT:

A copy of this concurrent resolution will be delivered to the office of the Chancellor by the Speaker of Congress.


Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.