State News

UNC students, community groups to push for campus hate speech policy

Posted June 1, 2009 4:03 a.m. EDT
Updated June 1, 2009 8:12 a.m. EDT

— Students and community groups are gathering to press for a campus hate speech policy after recent protests of two speakers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNC students and various community groups will meet outside the courthouse in Chapel Hill on Monday to protest what they call the hate speech of the speakers and the student group that invited them.

Youth for Western Civilization invited  Tom Tancredo, former Colorado congressmen and Republican presidential candidate, and Virgil Goode, a former independent Virginia state representative, to speak on the campus in April.

The group opposes what it calls mass immigration and radical multiculturalism and asked the men to talk in opposition to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Protesters disrupted Tancredo's speech by shouting profanities and unfurling banners as he tried to address an audience about his opposition to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Campus police eventually halted his speech and had to use pepper spray after demonstrators broke a window.

Students for a Democratic Society, which organized the protest, issued a statement blaming police for escalating the incident. UNC System President Erskine Bowles and UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp denounced the incident and called Tancredo to apologize.

The protest was smaller a week later for Goode's speech, "Hate Speech, Free Speech and the Multiculturalism." Police arrested six people on charges of disorderly conduct and removed them and took a noise-making device from the venue.

Protesters called Goode's message hate speech that should not be tolerated.