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NAACP, UNC system hate-crimes panel to meet

Posted January 15, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— The panel looking into whether the 16-campus University of North Carolina system should adopt a policy to handle possible hate crimes plans to meet with the NAACP later this month.

UNC President Erskine Bowles appointed the UNC Study Commission to Review Student Codes of Conduct as They Relate to Hate Crimes in November after four North Carolina State University students spray-painted racist graffiti on campus the night Barack Obama won the presidential election.

UNC hate-crimes panel Backers, opponents sound off on hate-crimes policy

Officials with the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for the students to be expelled, but Bowles and other university officials said they had no grounds to do that.

The commission, which includes students, staff and faculty from 10 UNC campuses, got public input Thursday on the idea of a hate-crimes policy. Most spoke in favor of one, but the majority of the dozens of e-mails sent to the commission in recent weeks opposed it.

"The university does a disservice to its students if it permits them to believe that such actions (like the racist graffiti) are OK and will be tolerated in the real world," said Hunter Corn, chairman of Equality North Carolina, an advocacy group for gay rights.

"This is a tough one, it really is," said Katy Parker, legal director for the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It's been tough for the ACLU. However, the First Amendment protects speech no matter how offensive it is."

Parker said a policy would let the government determine what constitutes an offensive action.

Matt Woodward, who serves on an N.C. State task force studying the same issues, said the discussion is healthy for the UNC system.

"I think it is going to be hard for (the commission) to do because there is a lot of legality involved," Woodward said. "I think dialogs like this shouldn't end."

The commission, which is also examining whether to require all new students in the UNC system to attend a diversity orientation, is expected to give Bowles its recommendations by the end of March.

Any policy change would need to be approved by the UNC Board of Governors.


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  • LizardLick Jan 16, 2009

    If the NAACP is able to fight for the rights of black americans, then why cant we have the same rights to form a Group for the betterment of the Whites. As it stands, there are groups for every race and creed but white. Why is that.??? I would like to know. As I know my rights have been walked on by other races. Not that I am racist but it would seem only fair to have equal rights for all. Not just the non-whites.

  • really02 Jan 16, 2009

    You can only make racisits comments againsts white people. Nobody else.

  • darkhorse94 Jan 16, 2009

    I was amazed and astounded that the infamous ACLU stood up to defend "free speech" when they routinely fight to keep people from praying, saying God, and much less Jesus in public. This dreadful organization has made a living by attacking small school systems and towns who have prayer before meetings and school kids who display any notion of religious identity. Their legal practices strategically attempt to bankrupt towns in legal fees and force them to change historic procedures for sake of winning these cases. They offend find 1 person out of 50 to say they are "offended" by the prayers or displays to start there offensive. The ACLU is fund by billionaires bent on radically changing American laws through the judicial systems with activist judges, thereby forgoing the votes of the people. The ACLU has skewed the intended meaning of Separation of Church and State and the country is suffered from its agenda greatly. Buyer beware! The ACLU is no champion of freedom.

  • sweetsea Jan 16, 2009

    This is an exercise in political correctness. Nothing more.

  • dougalu Jan 15, 2009

    Meanwhile there have been dozens of drive-bye shootings in Black neighborhoods and the NAACP says not a word...

  • familyfour Jan 15, 2009


    move on from this...there will be another one soon enough....it doesn't take long to offend anyone on this planet these days.....how bout let's be offended, but can we do it and make this country safe, or are we just gonna bicker about graffitti for the next ten years....

  • Chatham Adam Jan 15, 2009

    It is a sad day when one of the country's great university systems launches an initiative that makes the right wing internet whiners seem reasonable. When you officially link "speech" with "crime," you join Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin and Khomeini. The antidote to hateful, racist or otherwise objectionable speech, especially in a univerrsity setting, is free speech.

  • lorivalentine1 Jan 15, 2009

    Blah Blah Blah.. Thre is no such thing as free speech any more.. Anything you might have an opinion on is certain to offend one of the many people that have come here to be free..
    eventually our gov't will be telling us what we can watch o tv what we can read and how many kids we can have..

  • FromClayton Jan 15, 2009

    i agree with mark. when you say something is only open to (insert color here) that is raceism. it does not matter what color it is, if that is a deciding factor then that is raceism! When will people figure that out!

  • Mark - feel free to debate me Jan 15, 2009

    This study is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. What the students painted on the walls was stupid and in bad judgment. But, it isn't as racist as say an organization, by name, that only wants to advance certain races. Or, a scholarship program that is only available to students of a certain race. What if there were beauty pagents that were open to only white contestants? Those would be examples of racisim..... Think about it.