Wednesday, April 15, 2009

UNC’s Thorp Issues Second Inadequate Statement

Yesterday a mob-like crowd of leftist students and others at UNC-Chapel Hill used verbal and physical assaults to prevent Congressman Tom Tancredo from delivering a talk. The leftists also threatened students sponsoring his talk.

The situation grew so dangerous UNC authorities were forced to declare the event over and public safety officers escorted Tancredo from campus.

In response, Chancellor Holden Thorp issued the following statement:

“We’re very sorry that former Congressman Tancredo wasn’t able to speak. We pride ourselves on being a place where all points of view can be expressed and heard, so I’m disappointed that didn’t happen tonight. I think our Public Safety officers appropriately handled a difficult situation.”
Why did Thorp fail to condemn the leftists' behavior?

Why was there no strong statement that there would be punishment for those who endangered others?

Why didn’t Thorp apologize to Tancredo, the students who sponsored his talk and the many people who came to hear Tancredo?

And why, given the violence we see so often from the Left, did Thorpe neglect to tell the threatened students and their parents he would do all in his power to assure their safety?

Traveling through eastern and central North Carolina today, I must have listened or in other ways heard from close to a hundred people.

Last night’s outrages at UNC-CH were on their minds; most everyone brought them up on their own.

To a one, the people I heard from today are upset with what took place last night.

And they're disgruntled, disgusted and/or angry at how leftist UNC-CH has become, and with how complicit in that process UNC administrators and faculty have been.

Chancellor Thorp also heard from a lot of people today and that no doubt explains why he issued a second statement. It’s better than his first, but still very inadequate. It follows in full.

Campus e-mail sent to all students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, by Chancellor Thorp

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.


Holden Thorp


Anonymous said...


"I called Mr. Tancredo today to apologize for how he was treated."

There is something that was missing in Chancellor Thorp's statement: an invitation for Mr. Tancredo to return to the campus and make his speech.

Without that invitation, Thorp's statement is meaningless.


Anonymous said...

Imagine this Chancellor Thorpe. You allowed free speech to inhibit and threaten others free speech. How nice of you.

Anonymous said...

The treatment of Tancredo is just the flip side of the outcry that has ensued to those demanding that Notre Dame rescind its offer to President Obamato be its commencement speaker. While one can argue that asking Obama to speak was unwise (given the Church's stance on abortion and Obama's stance)the outcry that has occurred from those who feel that freedom of speech is being thwarted by those who have called for the invitation to be rescinded is indeed rich. It is these selfsame people who refuse to allow conservative speakers (like Tancredo) to be heard.
I would hope that the group which sponsored Tancredo demands that the UNC-CH chancellor insure that Tancredo can appear at the university and that he can speak uninterrupted. It is only through the exchange of ideas that one can form opinions of any merit. As things stand now at UNC-CH, it is obvious that a number of its most "liberal" denizens feel that their way of thinking is the only way - a situation that is reminiscent of the thirties in Germany.

Anonymous said...

Wow, strong words indeed... An Honour court, the students involved will be shaking in fright. They know nothing will happen to them, just as we know it.

Bloody hell, way to pander and try to act strong in the one statement. You will have to learn you cannot do both at once.

Ken is correct, he should have said that he has invited Mr Tancredo back and that any student or staff member who interferes will be kicked out of the school.

Scott S.

Anonymous said...

To cks @ 10.24:
"...thirties in Germany...." and the teens through the nineties in Russia and her captive nations.
I don't know why it is that Hitler is usually considered the most heinous of the modern dictators and Naziism the worst system. The Soviets murdered a far greater number of innocents, and enslaved their people for far longer than Hitler did the Germans. I think the most conservative estimates of Stalin's toll is in excess of 25 millions of Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, Russian dissidents, and miscellaneous enemies of the state.
By comparison, Hitler was a piker.
And today, we have a government office responsible for tracking down fugitive Nazis, but no equivalent office to inquire into the Soviet mass murders. Putin himself is a former KGB operative and may well have blood on his own hands.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Tarheel Hawkeye:

No slight meant toward the heinous activities of the various Soviet/Russian regimes - however, for acomparison of activities, the bootjacks of the SA seemed, in this case a more historically correct comparison. They frequented the public spaces of not only Germany but also Austria and the Sudetenland with the goal of shouting down anyone who professed a veiw point with which they had no truck. Their violent ways were not state sponsored (although once the Naziis gained power in each of the respective areas it would indeed be state sponsored) and in fact Hitler himself grew to fear the power of the SA - hence the action that occurred the Night of the Long Knives.

Anonymous said...

cks makes several very good points, but let us not forget the OGPU, Feliks Dzerzhinsky, and the various groups of Leninist thugs who killed or beat anyone daring the oppose the revolution. Perhaps the reason many of us focus on Ernst Roehm's feared SA is because, unlike the Soviet goons, the SA was organized and uniformed, thus more easily recognized. But the modus operandi of both groups were identical. And during the brief Weimar Republic gangs of communist thugs battled with gangs of fascist thugs. In my opinion, today's university leftists and the street thugs of the SDS in the 60s and 70s act more like the communists than the fascists.
In either case we agree that the Tancredo incident showed the campus leftists to be not much more than quasi-educated goons.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Tarheel Hawkeye - Your point is well taken. As my German history professor used to say, the ends of the political spectrum can often be seen playing footsie with each other under the table because both have (had in the case of Germany) the same goal in mind - the downfall of the current government - where they parted company was in the question of whose belief system would be put in place.