Looks as if there’s something for everyone at today’s First Amendment Day event at UNC Chapel Hill. The schedule includes Chancellor Holden Thorp among those reading from banned books, a debate over the Ground Zero mosque, a Q&A with bigtime leftist Noam Chomsky, and comments about the environment at UNC from Robert Shipley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). (emphasis is mine)
This program will begin with a 25-minute documentary that explores a 1960s legal battle that pitted official zeal to contain the Communist menace against freedom of speech on the Carolina campus. This documentary was produced by UNC-TV in 1994. After the film, there will be a panel discussion. One of the panelists will be Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia group that supports free speech and religion on college campuses.
Shibley will explain exactly why FIRE rates UNC-CH as a “yellow light” institution. A “yellow light” institution, according to FIRE, is one whose policies restrict some protected expression or, by virtue of their vague wording, could too easily be used to restrict protected expression. (For more about FIRE, visit www.thefire.org.)
Also, student panelists will discuss their views of the state of student free expression at Carolina. This program is organized by journalism major Liz Pearson-McLaughlin and JOMC Professor Leroy Towns.
In this brief interview, Jenna Ashley Robinson, campus outreach coordinator for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, discusses problems associated with speech codes on North Carolina college campuses.
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