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Hundreds of faculty and staff members call on UNC-CH to dismiss charges against student protesters

Credit: iStock

by Clayton Henkel, NC Newsline
May 6, 2024

More than 750 faculty and staff members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have signed onto a letter calling on administrators to dismiss the charges against college students involved in the April 30th protest at Polk Place.

In an online letter addressed to interim Chancellor Lee Roberts and Provost Chris Clemens, the faculty said prior to the police arriving on the scene, the student encampment was an example of the kind of peaceful free expression that the university claims to uphold.

But when the administration opted to call in police to break up the encampment, it created “a militarized and unsafe climate” on the UNC campus creating trauma for some students, the faculty wrote.

In a statement to the Carolina community last Friday, three of the school’s vice chancellors said the actions taken at the pro-Palestinian encampment were necessary as some of the protesters were not UNC students and had caused significant damage to campus property.

Faculty members criticized the vice chancellors’ statement, and the interim chancellor’s claims that the arrested students had violated university policy without providing any specific details of the misconduct.

Here’s more from the faculty petition: We call for accountability for the administrators whose decisions during the protest dishonored the university’s noble traditions of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and respecting students’ rights to protest. – UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and staff

Days ahead of the Spring Commencement, faculty are calling on UNC-Chapel Hill’s top leaders to dismiss all suspensions and additional charges against students involved in the protest, to remove the fence around the university’s flagpole outside South Building, to return any student items that were confiscated during the police action, and to re-open the Campus Y.

The university reopened the Campus Y to students this week.

As of Monday evening, more than 800 people had signed onto the petition advocating for students’ right to free speech and protest. Among the many names, James Moeser, chancellor emeritus of the university.

Following the protests at UNC-CH and other college campuses, Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) co-sponsored legislation that if passed would deport foreign students who participate in criminal activity during pro-terrorism or antisemitic demonstrations.

“America must not tolerate the criminal behavior by radical protestors occupying campuses across the country, including those the United States has allowed into our country on student visas,” said Rouzer in a press release.

Read the text of H.R.8221 here.

NC Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. NC Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Rob Schofield for questions: Follow NC Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

This story is republished from NC Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.

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