NCCU Chancellor: Op-Ed Piece Not University's View
Posted April 24, 2007
Durham, N.C. — Views in an inflammatory column in North Carolina Central University’s campus newspaper are not those of the university, Chancellor James Ammons said in a statement released Tuesday.
The column, “Death to all Rapists,” was published in the April 18 edition of “The Campus Echo” and refers to the dismissal of sexual assault and kidnapping charges against three white Duke University lacrosse players who were indicted and arrested after a black N.C. Central student told police she was raped at a party last March.
“We black people (while we may be able to bribe judges like white people) cannot expect justice from the American legal system, period,” writes Solomon Burnette, a senior at the university.
Burnette calls for “retributive correction” and says it is time to fight “whether intellectually, artistically or physically.”
“In no way does the university advocate violence as a means to seek justice,” Ammons said, noting that the views expressed were those of one student, Solomon Burnette, and neither those necessarily of the newspaper or the school.
The Campus Echo has a policy of accepting opinions submissions from students, faculty, staff and community members, a disclaimer before the column reads, “and respects their freedom of expression according to the First Amendment.”
The newspaper’s editor, Rony Camille, told WRAL Tuesday that the decision to publish the column came after a debate among staff members and that freedom of speech ultimately won out.
Ammons went on to say in his statement to say that although Burnette has a right to express his opinion, “we also know that the freedom of speech comes with the responsibility to be fair and accountable. We also believe that the facts do matter in this case and every legal case and violence is not the answer.”
Camille said the paper has gotten about a dozen e-mails from people outside the university community critical of the column and the paper.