Dear Campus Community,
It has been just over a week since the presidential election, and events that have unfolded on campus since then have demonstrated that emotions are still running high.
We want to assure everyone that the values that this great university upholds have not changed since Nov. 8. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a place that promotes and protects intellectual freedom and values and respects civility in discourse.
In the past week, we have heard inspiring examples of faculty using the opportunity to have students of differing political beliefs share their views and engage in respectful dialogue on what it means to be a democracy. We also have heard a few troubling examples in which students felt uncomfortable expressing beliefs that differed from the instructor’s or fellow classmates. We take all these matters very seriously.
We aspire to be a campus of inclusive excellence—a place for our faculty, our staff and our students to succeed regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation. Academic inquiry means freedom of thought and expression, and providing an atmosphere in which uncomfortable and complex topics can be explored with mutual respect.
People who visit Carolina often remark on what a close-knit community we have and how special that is. Let us take pride in the vibrancy that comes from being a home for people with a wide range of ideas, beliefs and backgrounds and commit to continue to make it better.
This will not be the last contentious event that we experience in our lifetimes. Let us make Carolina the place that prepares our community for civil debate, to respect differing beliefs, to advocate effectively and to work toward the change each of us seeks in the world.
Carol L. Folt