Like any other member of the staff or faculty, Professor Gene Nichol does not speak for UNC-Chapel Hill as an institution. That should go without saying. No disclaimer is needed, and it is absurd and offensive that he has been asked to state that fact in print every time he publishes a piece in this newspaper.
But in a more profound sense, Nichol does speak for the university. He speaks for its century-long tradition of upholding the values of free inquiry and the furtherance of social justice in North Carolina and throughout the “New South.”
Those individuals who have been pressuring UNC’s leaders to silence Nichol’s eloquent voice may well be financially and politically powerful, but morally they are utterly bankrupt.
Madeline G. Levine
Kenan Professor of Slavic Literatures Emerita, UNC-Chapel Hill