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Panel: UNC system needs hate-crimes policy

Posted March 10, 2009

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— The University of North Carolina system should adopt a policy for handling hate crimes on the system's 16 campuses, a UNC panel said Tuesday.

The UNC Study Commission to Review Student Codes of Conduct as They Relate to Hate Crimes said the uniform code of conduct should prohibit actions defined by federal and state laws as hate crimes.

UNC hate crimes policy UNC panel recommends hate-crimes policy

"At this moment, (there) is not consistent language in all of the campuses' codes of conduct," Commission Chairman Harold Martin said.

Still, commission members said they prefer the policy doesn't include the term "hate crime." They also adopted a recommendation supporting free speech on campus.

"This has not been a discussion about trying to legislate freedom of speech," Martin said.

The commission will turn over its final recommendations to UNC President Erskine Bowles by the end of the month. UNC administrators will then craft a policy to present to the system's Board of Governors for approval.

Some UNC-Chapel Hill students said they agreed with the panel's conclusions.

"Where to draw the line is kind of hard, but I think we should go off the state and local laws, whichever ones would apply," junior Taylor Deton said.

"If it's already on the books for federal and state laws, it just makes sense to have it on the local level or university level," said M.P. Davis, a prospective student at the UNC School of Law.

Bowles created the commission after four North Carolina State University students spray-painted racist graffiti in the campus' Free Expression Tunnel on the night President Barack Obama was elected.

The state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for the students to be expelled, but N.C. State officials said they had no grounds to do that.

Martin said the proposed policy wouldn't have affected how N.C. State handled the racist graffiti, adding that he thought the university handled it appropriately.

NAACP officials said it was too early to comment on a possible policy. The American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed a hate crimes policy on free-speech grounds, also declined to comment.

The commission will ask Bowles to appoint a separate task force to study whether all new students in the UNC system should be required to undergo diversity training.

18 Comments

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  • ohmygosh Mar 12, 2009

    Is this the same University that wants the drinking age lowered?

    Heck binge drinking is a lot more harmful.

    If they are going to ammend the rules of conduct to make violations of Fed and State hate crimes, why not include any crime? A broad statement like violation of any state or local law is enough for probation.

  • hjeck32544 Mar 11, 2009

    How about a No NAACP policy?

  • Yellow Rider Mar 11, 2009

    As opposed to love crimes, I suppose. Just remember, if you beat someone up because you don't like them, be sure to steal their wallet too.

  • scorekeep Mar 11, 2009

    The panel needs to put in writing the real meaning of this new policy. That "only crimes/actions against African-Americans will be considered a hate crime".

  • doubletap357 Mar 11, 2009

    Yada yada yada, do they actually think anybody pays any attention to them? This whole thing is a waste of time and resources.

  • ImaBee Mar 11, 2009

    I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it if they considered a crime committed against a white person by someone of another ethnicity as a hate crime. But this is not usually the case. If it were, then the girl who accused the Duke Lacrosse players of rape would have had some criminal charges against her once they found out she had lied about the entire thing. As for the free expression tunnel, it wouldn't have been a big deal if someone had wrote something offensive about President Bush because lets be honest a lot of offensive things have been said about him and no one really cared.

  • SaveEnergyMan Mar 11, 2009

    I agree with the others that hate crime legislation is wrong. After all, do you commit crimes against people you like? This is just feel-good politics at its worst.

  • ccs1920 Mar 10, 2009

    A true hate crime is a violation of the law and is handled by law enforcement and the court system. The UNC system can only make rules that pertain to employees and students. If they go too far I think this whole thing will end up in court.

  • aintbackingdwn Mar 10, 2009

    This is so stupid. All crime is hate crime. So I suppose a murder on the grounds of race or sexual preference is more deadly than one based on greed or passion? I suppose grafity slandering ones size or looks v/s ethnicity hurts any less? Either have free speach and a freedom of expression tunnel or don't have one. This is so petty - like little kindergardners fighting over name calling.

  • aintbackingdwn Mar 10, 2009

    Free speach isn't a hate crime. There's been name calling and insults since the turn of humanity - get over it.

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