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.