Statements

A message from University leaders on campus protests

Dear Carolina community, 

We were disappointed that we had to take action this morning regarding protesters, including many who are not members of the Carolina community, who violated state law and University policies that provide for peaceful demonstration.

Into the weekend, our University maintained a healthy and constructive dialogue with students and others who came to our campus to make their voices heard. This is our consistent tradition and practice, as the principle of free speech is enshrined in the North Carolina Constitution, which states that “freedom of speech and of the press are two of the great bulwarks of liberty and therefore shall never be restrained.”

No one has the right to disrupt campus operations materially, nor to threaten or intimidate our students, nor to damage and destroy public property. 

Previous protests this year have concluded peacefully and without arrests. Policies have been shared with the entire campus on multiple occasions and with protest organizers at events. At several points during this past weekend, we had constructive conversations with organizers that allowed for the group to continue their event and remain within our reasonable time, manner and place policies.  

That changed Sunday evening when protestors backtracked on their commitment to comply with these policies. The leaders of this group ended our attempts at constructive dialogue.  

We must consider the physical safety of all of our students, faculty and staff. In addition, we are alarmed that we’re hearing more accounts of antisemitic speech, and we categorically denounce that and any other incidents of prejudice. Community members who feel they have experienced conduct that goes beyond free speech and is discrimination or harassment based on protected status, should contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office at reportandresponse@unc.edu.  

The Class of 2024 had both their senior year of high school and their first year at Carolina severely disrupted by the pandemic. We want to reassure the Class of 2024 that Commencement will be a joyous day for them and their loved ones, and that the Carolina community near and far will celebrate their accomplishments. 

We are grateful to the vast law-abiding majority of our community as we conclude Carolina’s 229th academic year. We deeply appreciate the efforts of our facilities workers, campus police, the campus police of other UNC System universities, the State Highway Patrol, and the Orange County sheriff’s department in keeping our community safe. Below you can see the order and beautiful campus they quickly restored. 

Sincerely,

Lee H. Roberts

Interim Chancellor

J. Christopher Clemens

Provost

Aerial view of Polk Place being cleaned up

Workers cleaning up Polk Place

Aerial view of a cleaned-up Polk Place