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Jun 10, 2024

UNC Was Right to Call the Cops
A wise society enforces neutral laws before violence occurs.

The recent protests at UNC are only one example of the unrest at several campuses across the U.S. (albeit mostly “elite” ones) in response to events in the Middle East. By April 2024, protests had been going on for months at UNC.

Jun 7, 2024

‘You Lead With The Mission’: Jed Atkins, Dean of UNC School of Civic Life and Leadership

The academic year is over, and UNC is quiet again heading into the summer. But even now, there’s a lot of activity on campus as folks gear up for the fall.

One recent notable development has been the creation of UNC’s new School of Civic Life and Leadership.

Jun 5, 2024

UNC System’s Controlled DEI Demolition

The University of North Carolina system last month became the latest public university system to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) offices and spending. It’s another victory for the national anti-DEI crusade that has become a defining higher ed issue in state politics.

Apr 13, 2024

Carolina Housing, RHA Allegedly Violate First Amendment

The Carolina Review has uncovered a series of policies and guidelines by UNC’s Residence Hall Association, the body tasked with organizing social and educational events in dormitories across campus. This is allegedly a direct violation of student’s First Amendment rights. The RHA, unlike other student organizations, receives direct funding from the university through mandatory student housing fees and other funds derived from contracts between Carolina Housing and private vendors. Additionally, Carolina Housing employees work directly with the organization.

Apr 11, 2024

UNC-Chapel Hill Trustees could begin to defund DEI efforts

The dismantling of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts at UNC-Chapel Hill could begin in earnest as soon as this month, say two members of the university’s board of trustees. Trustees will likely meet this month in a yet-to-be-scheduled special meeting, finalizing the campus budget before forwarding it to the UNC System Board of Governors for final approval.

Mar 5, 2024

UNC treats Candace Owens event equally following pushback from free speech group

Staff ignored emails, gave no clear answers

Two groups won equal treatment for an event tomorrow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill featuring Daily Wire commentator Candace Owens.

UNC originally denied the event “Campus Life Experience” credit and would not list it on Heel Life, a university calendar. Most full-time students must attend at least two CLE events per semester.

Jan 23, 2024

Protestors Tried to Shut Down a Speaker at UNC. The Administration Handled it Perfectly.

Yesterday evening, UNC's Program for Public Discourse hosted The Free Press founder Bari Weiss and New York Times opinion writer Frank Bruni for a discussion about objectivity in journalism.

Partway through, masked protestors attempted to censor the event by yelling and waving signs.

Nov 3, 2023

UNC-Chapel Hill recognized for ‘challenging the groupthink and status quo’

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees was honored by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni last week at a ceremony in Washington D.C. The board was presented the Jerry L. Martin Prize for Excellence in College Trusteeship for its “unwavering commitment to academic excellence, academic integrity, and freedom of thought and inquiry.”

Oct 13, 2023

Sides clash as UNC-Chapel Hill protest between pro-Palestine, pro-Israel groups turns heated

Tensions were high over the war between Israel and Hamas as dueling demonstrations led to shouting and in some cases, police having to intervene in an emotionally-charged scene.

Sep 22, 2023

2024 College Free Speech Rankings


77% of students say shouting down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus is at least rarely acceptable.
51% of students say they have self-censored on campus at least once or twice a month.
65% of students say they are worried about damaging their reputation because someone misunderstands something they have said or done.
For every one conservative student, there are roughly 4.1 liberal students.

Aug 21, 2023

Faculty Free Speech Loses in the Fourth Circuit

Zealous university faculty and administrators have become increasingly intolerant of anyone who disagrees with their “progressive” beliefs. Sometimes, they’re unguarded enough to admit that they want to “cull the herd” to eliminate dissidents, as in this case.

Aug 7, 2023

Chapel Hill’s DEI Obsession Was Mandated at the Top (Part II)

In July of 2020, UNC-Chapel Hill’s chancellor sent an email to the university’s leadership cabinets requesting responses to three questions regarding “structural racism.” Through public records requests, the Martin Center obtained a copy of the many responses submitted over the following days by Chapel Hill’s academic and administrative units. Our previous article on this subject introduced the chancellor’s DEI questionnaire and examined some of the more extreme proposals supplied by respondents. Below, we look in greater detail at the “solutions” proposed by Chapel Hill’s various divisions and schools.

Jul 17, 2023

How Extensive Is DEI “Training” in the UNC System?

This session, the North Carolina legislature has taken aim at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) trainings on UNC-System campuses. On March 14th, Senate Majority Staff Director Derrick Welch sent a letter to the UNC System requesting a list of all employee trainings on that topic from 2023 and the previous three years.

Since DEI in higher ed is a matter of continuing interest for the Martin Center, we promptly sent public-records requests to the UNC System and its 16 constituent institutions, requesting all responses sent to Welch and the legislature.

Jul 14, 2023

Gov. Roy Cooper lets UNC omnibus bill become law without his signature

Gov. Roy Cooper let an omnibus bill dealing with University of North Carolina System campuses become law without his signature Thursday.

N.C. Senate Bill 195 made a series of changes to policies governing the state’s universities — none exceptionally controversial. The bill, originally filed in March by N.C. Sen. Amy Galey (R-Alamance) had several prominent Democratic sponsors, including Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) and Sen. Jay Chaudhuri (D-Wake). It passed 110-3 in the Senate and 39-0 in the House.

Jul 10, 2023

Chapel Hill’s DEI Obsession Was Mandated at the Top

The Martin Center has uncovered a startling email from the chancellor’s office.

In the past several years, the Martin Center has exposed and reported on numerous diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since late 2021, we have uncovered DEI plans that pose significant threats to academic freedom and free speech in at least three schools.

Jun 21, 2023

HILL: Duke University, free speech and cancel culture

How many hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of American citizens have been “canceled,” fired or not re-hired in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and far-left attacks on free speech?

If it is only one, it is one too many. Compelled speech as well as censored speech defeats the whole purpose of free and open inquiry on college campuses.

Jun 19, 2023

Chapel Hill’s Latest DEI Push

In January 2023, UNC-Chapel Hill launched its “DEI Strategic Plan” for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). The DEI Strategic Plan is an offshoot of Chief Diversity Officer Leah Cox’s “Build Our Community Together” initiative, itself part of a 2020 program entitled “Carolina Next.”

That initiative outlines plans to align admissions, hiring, and retention policies with administrators’ diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Objectives include “​​prioritiz[ing] diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching, research and service, and in hiring, evaluation, retention and promotion of under-represented faculty and staff.” This is in addition to “explor[ing] innovative approaches to admissions” focused on DEI.

Jun 8, 2023

Cancel Culture is destroying free speech: UNC is fighting back

The roots of cancel culture first took hold on college campuses, where outspoken pockets of angry students began shouting down teachers and classmates who dared to voice opposing viewpoints. Hundreds of cases of retaliation have since been reported.

But today, the news isn’t all bad. Change is taking place on the very college and university campuses where cancel culture first bloomed. North Carolina’s very own UNC Chapel Hill should be lauded for stepping into the fray in support of free speech.

Jun 1, 2023

University of North Carolina med school renounces its own DEI framework

The University of North Carolina (UNC) medical school is disbanding its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) task force without implementing its recommendations, just months after banning DEI statements from admission, hiring, promotion and tenure.

May 29, 2023

Undoing “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” Requires Alumni Effort

An historic battle is waging over the future of higher education in the U.S. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. The presenting issues are critical social justice theory and freedom of speech. Back in the early 1980s, Jesse Jackson and Stanford University student protestors raised a few eyebrows when they chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go,” though many folks just shrugged it off as juvenile exuberance. Well, 40 years later, no one’s shrugging it off. Jackson’s catchy little chant is now the relentless drumbeat of mainstream academia.

May 29, 2023

Compelled speech would be banned on NC college campuses in House bill

The Prohibit Compelled Speech/Higher Ed Act, House Bill 607, sits in the Senate Rules Committee this week, after passing the House earlier this month. It seeks to extend and codify protections from compelled speech for students and college applicants in North Carolina.

May 18, 2023

VICTORY: UNC Chapel Hill rejects task force recommendation, shows why it’s a ‘green light’ school

In a victory for academic freedom, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced its decision to not implement recommendations made by the School of Medicine’s Task Force to Integrate Social Justice into the Curriculum that would condition tenure and promotion on faculty commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

May 4, 2023

Speech Protections Are Spreading Across the UNC System

Free-speech protections are on the rise in the UNC System. Late last year, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees and Faculty Council adopted free-speech resolutions, with the latter signing on to the speech-friendly Chicago Principles, as well. More recently, two UNC-System institutions have joined the flagship in publicly committing to protecting First Amendment rights on campus.

Apr 23, 2023

A New Anti-DEI Petition for UNC Medical School

The Martin Center has often reported on the damage being done in colleges and universities under the guise of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Now, another organization, Color Us United (CUU), is doing the same for the UNC School of Medicine (UNCSM).

Apr 20, 2023

KOTIS: The hypocrisy of the Coalition for Carolina

For much of the last century, Democrats controlled North Carolina.

Since 2010, however, voters bestowed that power on Republicans, who have appointed conservatives like me to govern the UNC system.

Apr 10, 2023

Meeting Overview
January 2023
Trustees back administration plan for new faculty-approved curriculum

Click Below to Read the Meeting Notes:

Apr 10, 2023

HILL: College students are crippled by faculty patronizing them

The scariest professor I had in college at UNC was Dr. Daniels.

He taught French 40 ― existential literature. I hated it.

Everyone else loved him. He had a reputation for being lenient in grading ― if a student went to his office to chat with him 3-4 times during the semester, they were pretty much guaranteed to get an A.

Mar 29, 2023

UNC Board of Trustees approves resolution in support of policy curbing ‘compelled speech’

CHAPEL HILL — At a March 22 meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees (UNC BOT), a resolution was approved that supports a recent policy change to curb “compelled speech.”

UNC BOT member and Strategic Initiatives Committee Chair Perrin Jones introduced and read the resolution supporting the amendment of UNC Policy Section 300.5.1. The approved policy revision in that section restricts “vague or ideologically motivated statement policies of any kind across UNC campuses” in admissions, employment and professional advancement.

Mar 17, 2023

SMITH: UNC Chapel Hill is emerging as a national free speech leader

Three cheers for UNC Chapel Hill.

The public institution — paid for in large part by taxpayer dollars — has become a national leader of the anti-woke backlash in higher education. This development is as surprising as it is welcome, since many public colleges and universities are doubling down on political indoctrination and ideological discrimination.

Mar 3, 2023

University of North Carolina moves to ban ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ statements in anti-woke backlash

The University of North Carolina (UNC) moved against encroaching woke culture and voted to ban diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statements and politically preferential hiring.

UNC voted to ban DEI statements and compelled speech from admission, hiring, promotion and tenure at its Board of Governors meeting Thursday.

Mar 3, 2023

A university finally stands up to woke virtue signaling

Where have all the adults gone?

That is one of the questions I keep wondering about wherever I look in America or the wider West these days.

We have politicians who behave like schoolchildren, teachers who live in fear of their students, and bosses and CEOs who are terrorized by their most junior employees.

When did all the adults leave the room?

Feb 24, 2023

University of North Carolina moves to ban ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ statements in anti-woke backlash

The University of North Carolina (UNC) moved against encroaching woke culture and voted to ban diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) statements and politically preferential hiring.

UNC voted to ban DEI statements and compelled speech from admission, hiring, promotion and tenure at its Board of Governors meeting Thursday.

Jan 31, 2023

The UNC Echo Chamber Fights Back

Our editorial on Friday about the University of North Carolina’s effort to create a new school dedicated to free inquiry and open academic discourse has caused a fuss on campus that illustrates why the new school is needed. It seems that faculty grandees are outraged that the UNC board of trustees thought such a school is necessary and didn’t even seek the faculty’s permission.

Jan 26, 2023

UNC Takes on the University Echo Chamber

Progressive politics has dominated elite universities since before the term woke was coined. But one university is trying to revive the academic ideal of a campus as a haven for free inquiry and debate. On Thursday the University of North Carolina board of trustees voted 12-0 to create a new school committed to free expression in higher education.

Dec 19, 2022

UNC-System Employees Really Love Democrats

While North Carolina is often considered a “purple state,” the composition of UNC-System campaign contributions is anything but bipartisan. OpenSecrets data indicate that campaign contributions to Democrats among UNC-System employees outweighed those to Republicans by more than 20 to 1 in the 2020 and 2022 election cycles.

Dec 12, 2022

Ideological Compulsion at the UNC School of Journalism

There are times when “I told you so” is unpleasant to say. This is one of those occasions.

In May, the Martin Center reported on the appointment of a new dean, Raul Reis, at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism. Based on Reis’s previous work and his professed dedication to “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI), the Martin Center warned that this new hire might seek to remake the school in the image of DEI. That prediction, unfortunately, appears to have come true.

Dec 12, 2022

Has Your University Signed "The Chicago Statement?"

Vietnam War-inspired protests were all but gone on campuses when I started college in 1974, but the “free speech” movement they spawned was just getting started.

It’s no secret that this college-anchored free speech movement has evolved since the early 1980s, when “free speech zones” were established on campus grounds. But free speech advocates soon began to challenge them as too restrictive.

Dec 5, 2022

Murphy Champions First Amendment Rights at Annual Campus Free Speech Roundtable

Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Greg Murphy, M.D., Virginia Foxx, Kat Cammack, Burgess Owens, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks held the second annual Congressional Campus Free Speech Roundtable in the U.S. Capitol. The event brought together leaders from the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), current college students, and members of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance (AFSA) to discuss First Amendment concerns in post-secondary education.

Oct 19, 2022

HILL: Holden Thorp and the charade of political neutrality

Former UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp published “The Charade of Political Neutrality” in the Sept. 16 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

He tried to make the case that conservative politicians want to dictate what colleges teach and who teaches what subjects. What he and virtually all administrators and faculty fail to understand about conservatives is they couldn’t care less what any administrator or faculty says at Carolina or any other college ― as long as other faculty and students have the guaranteed freedom to say whatever they want in response without fear of reprisal, ostracism, suppression or ridicule supported by the administration. Or worse, be declined tenure as a young professor or get a failing grade as a student for not adhering to the liberal ideology imposed by their superiors.

Oct 18, 2022

Universities Should Adopt Institutional Neutrality

Mark McNeilly

On July 27, 2022, the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees passed a resolution adopting both the University of Chicago’s Free Speech Statement and its Kalven Report. Chicago’s Free Speech Statement, which guarantees free expression at the university, is well known in academia. According to the campus free speech organization FIRE, 87 universities have adopted the Statement as of July 2022. Much less well known is the Kalven Report, which focuses on institutional neutrality.

Sep 29, 2022

UNC Holds First Amendment "Celebration" With One-Sided Condemnations of Free Speech Values

A professor at the University of North Carolina recently sent me an article on a “free speech event” held at the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy as part of the University’s 13th First Amendment Day celebration. What was striking about the free speech panel was not just that it was decidedly opposed to core free speech principles but it lacked a single panelist who spoke primarily in favor of free speech and against censorship.

Sep 22, 2022

Bias Response Teams Have No Place on N.C. Campuses

It’s no secret that university students, once know for their brash defense of unfettered free speech, have gone rather quiet on the issue.

Sep 21, 2022

2022-2023 College Free Speech ankings

28% of students say shouting down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus is never acceptable.

44% of students say they have rarely or never self-censored on campus.

37% of students say they are not worried about damaging their reputation because someone misunderstands something they have said or done.

For every one conservative student, there are roughly 3.4 liberal students.

Sep 20, 2022

And Yet It Moves

Jukka Savolainen

Nature Human Behavior, one of the most prestigious journals for social science research, recently published an editorial titled “Science must respect the dignity and rights of all humans.” Though short, the article generated tremendous pushback among academics and intellectuals concerned about the spread of social-justice ideology into science.

Aug 26, 2022

Which Way for Chapel Hill?

UNC’s Board of Trustees adopts a resolution on free expression and institutional neutrality—but the school’s academic departments remain committed to ideological coercion.

Aug 15, 2022

UNC trustee on campus speech: 'We cannot let fear fester where learning should flower.'

The purpose of higher education in a democracy is to promote the discovery, refinement and sharing of knowledge and wisdom through free and open inquiry and debate. Censorship, dogma and intolerance have no place in our universities.

Aug 15, 2022

'Students who identify as conservative face distinctive challenges': report

On May 17, the University of North Carolina (UNC) System released a report on the status of “Free Expression and Constructive Dialogue” at member schools.

Key findings of the report included that “[c]ampuses do not consistently achieve an atmosphere that promotes free expression,” “[s]tudents who identify as conservative face distinctive challenges,” and “[s]tudents across the political spectrum want more opportunities to engage with those who think differently.”

Aug 4, 2022

Did You Know? UNC-Chapel Hill Now Has Some of the Best Free-Speech Policies in the Nation

Last week, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees passed two important resolutions on campus viewpoint neutrality. With the addition of these protections, UNC’s free-speech policies are among the best in the nation.

Jul 28, 2022

Chapel Hill's Trustees Pass Two Strong Resolutions

University trustees seldom do much good, but the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Board of Trustees has just passed two strong resolutions, available here.

One states that funds collected from mandatory student fees are to be distributed in a viewpoint-neutral fashion. That is to say, without favoritism for “progressive” organizations or hostility toward conservative and libertarian ones. University administrators have often played favorites and it’s a good thing that school policy now forbids it.

Jul 14, 2022

Did You Know? Post-Re, UNC-Chapel Hill Has Struggled to Stay Neutral

One of the most important principles for preserving a spirit of inquiry, discovery, and discussion on university campuses is institutional neutrality. This means that, while individual faculty are free to say what they like, universities should not take positions as institutions (or as units within the institution) on divisive political matters.

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