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Under fire, UNCA pro-Palestine event postponed, as ‘personal issue’ is cited
Wednesday, 08 November 2023 21:47

University touts ‘free expression’ in its response to congressman

From Staff Reports

Less than 24 hours after U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards, R-Flat Rock, called on UNC Asheville to cancel what he claimed was an anti-Semitic event, the university released the following statement on the morning of Nov. 3:

“An event titled ‘Until We’re All Free: State Violence from Cop City to Palestine’ was scheduled to occur in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Student Union on Friday, November 3. While the event has since been postponed by one of the organizers due to a personal issue, it is sponsored by five UNC Asheville academic departments and will feature multiple speakers when it is rescheduled.

“Undoubtedly, this event may touch on pressing matters of public debate and disagreement. UNC Asheville’s role as a forum for public discussion does not constitute University endorsement of any viewpoints expressed, and no institutional funds have been expended to hold this event. UNC Asheville deeply values and upholds its role as a neutral forum for robust free expression.

“To fulfill its mission, UNC Asheville strives to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression. It is not the proper role of UNC Asheville to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment, including, without limitation, ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Additionally, UNC Asheville protects members of its academic community from unlawful harassment or threats of violence, which are not protected free expression.
“Access to UNC Asheville’s campus for the purposes of free expression is consistent with the UNC System policy, North Carolina law, and the First Amendment.

“The University’s policies and practices are steadfastly aligned with respected advocates of free expression, including the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which recognizes UNC Asheville with a ‘green light’ rating — its highest rating for speech-protecting university campuses.

“Scheduled in compliance with University policy — including restrictions on when, where, and how the event can occur — the organizers communicated with University administrators to understand the expectations and obligations for holding an event on campus.

“The University expects all participants and attendees to abide by University policy and state law, and welcomes the cooperation of everyone involved in meeting this important, shared goal.”



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