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Thugs Suppressing Free Speech:

From the Charlotte News & Observer:

UNC-CH police released pepper spray and threatened to use a Taser on student protesters Tuesday evening when a crowd disrupted a speech by former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo opposing in-state tuition benefits to unauthorized immigrants.

Hundreds of protesters converged on Bingham Hall, shouting profanities and accusations of racism while Tancredo and the student who introduced him tried to speak. Minutes into the speech, a protester pounded a window of the classroom until the glass shattered, prompting Tancredo to flee and campus police to shut down the event....

About 200 protesters reconvened outside the building. "We shut him down; no racists in our town," they shouted. "Yes, racists, we will fight, we know where you sleep at night!" ...

UNC graduate student Tyler Oakley, who had organized the protest, said he regretted the broken window but not silencing Tancredo. "He was not able to practice his hate speech," said Oakley. "You have to respect the right of people to assemble and collectively speak."

Appalling. But here's an enheartening item:

But campus visitors and some faculty members in the capacity crowd of 150 urged the students to let Tancredo speak.

"We are the children of immigrants, and this concerns us," said junior Lizette Lopez, 22, vice president of the Carolina Hispanic Association. "So we would at least like to hear what he has to say if you want to hear what we have to say." ...

"We were more interested in an intellectual conversation instead of a shouting match," she said. "Ironically, the people that are trying to get our voices heard silenced us."

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer. Cornell Prof. William Jacobson has more, including video.

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University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chancellor on the Thuggery at the Tancredo Speech:

Jan Rybnicek passes along this e-mail sent to students, faculty, staff, and alumni by the UNC-Chapel HillChancellor:

Message from the Chancellor: Free Speech at Carolina (April 15, 2009)

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I want to express how disappointed I am in what happened last night when former Congressman Tom Tancredo wasn't able to speak when a protest got out of hand, and our Department of Public Safety had to take action. Congressman Tancredo felt threatened and left without making his remarks.

Mr. Tancredo was scheduled to speak about immigration. We expect protests about controversial subjects at Carolina. That's part of our culture. But we also pride ourselves on being a place where all points of view can be expressed and heard. There's a way to protest that respects free speech and allows people with opposing views to be heard. Here that's often meant that groups protesting a speaker have displayed signs or banners, silently expressing their opinions while the speaker had his or her say. That didn't happen last night.

On behalf of our University community, I called Mr. Tancredo today to apologize for how he was treated. In addition, our Department of Public Safety is investigating this incident. They will pursue criminal charges if any are warranted. Our Division of Student Affairs is also investigating student involvement in the protest. If that investigation determines sufficient evidence, participating students could face Honor Court proceedings.

Carolina's tradition of free speech is a fundamental part of what has made this place special for more than 200 years. Let's recommit ourselves to that ideal.

Sincerely,

Holden Thorp

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chancellor on the Thuggery at the Tancredo Speech:
  2. Thugs Suppressing Free Speech:
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