Regarding the Nov. 27 news article “Request for professor’s records stirs peers”: Civitas Institute seeks emails, phone records and calendars of Gene Nichol, professor of law and director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although the motives of Civitas are not clear, this raises concerns regarding freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry on our campuses.
Witness the recent decision, handed down in 2011 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, that UNCW criminology professor Mike Adams’ speeches and columns in townhall.com are fully protected by the First Amendment. UNC does stipulate, via its policy on Limitations on Political Activities, that “no employee subject to the State Personnel Act shall take any active part in managing a political campaign, campaigning for political office, or otherwise engaging in political activity while on work time or within any period of time during which the employee is expected to perform services for which compensation is received from the State.”
Are these the motives behind the actions of Civitas?