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UNC faculty, students, alumni support school’s crackdown on anti-Israel activists

‘Conduct that violates the law is not protected’

Numerous University of North Carolina faculty, students, alumni, and others have signed on to a letter supporting the school administration’s response to anti-Israel protesters.

Signatories note they’re supporters of the First Amendment and “value and support the rights of peaceful protesters,” but add “free speech has limits, including reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.”

[C]onduct that violates the law is not protected. These rules must be followed so that the University can be a place where everyone can go about teaching, learning, and exercising their own free speech rights, without interruption, interference, or intimidation. Importantly, all policies and laws must be applied uniformly to all actors, without prejudice and without regard to the strength of convictions.

The letter highlights activists’ myriad violations of the law and UNC policy including attempts to enter buildings by pushing police officers (and otherwise “engaging in physical altercations” with law enforcement), “removing the American flag from the Polk Place flagpole,” disrupting final exams, and intimidating students not involved in protests.

It also points out several antisemitic incidents that occurred on campus such as the scrawling of “kike” and a swastika on students’ dorm doors, and a post on social media about burning down a Jewish fraternity.

MORE: UNC’s pro-Palestinian group, which disrupted numerous campus events, files civil rights complaint

As noted by Steve McGuire on X, the letter of support is a retort to a UNC faculty letter which had blasted the administration’s crackdown of pro-Hamas activists.

This letter claims the activist encampment was “an example of the kind of peaceful free expression that our university claims to uphold.”

The administration’s decision to call in police from across the state to storm our students’ encampment at 5:30 in the morning on Tuesday, April 30, created a militarized and unsafe climate on the UNC campus. It subjected the very students it is charged with protecting to violence and trauma. …

[V]ice chancellors’ communications misrepresented facts, unjustly blaming students for disruptions and violence that they themselves had caused. We reject their duplicitous communication to the campus community. We denounce the unjust treatment of our students and the administration’s abdication of its responsibility to foster and protect freedom of speech on campus.

It goes on to demand all suspensions and “other charges” against student protesters be dropped, and “reminds” UNC administrators that law enforcement should never be called in “to suppress student speech.”

MORE: Police: No evidence Israel supporter attacked UNC Muslim student with knife

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