James E. Maynard Jr.: Pope’s power

April 19, 2014 

The April 13 news article “ Nichol speaks, just not for UNC” concerning UNC professor Gene Nichol reminded me of the foolish and damaging speaker ban controversy of the early 1960s, which resulted in soiling the reputation of a great university.

I found it especially interesting among those expressing displeasure with Nichol are the Civitas Institute and the Pope Center for Higher Education. These organizations were created and funded by Art Pope, the current state budget director. Pope and the various entities he controls have long attempted to influence the philosophical direction of UNC-Chapel Hill without success.

The Civitas Institute’s public records request for six weeks of Nichol’s records appears to be an intimidation technique with the purpose of quieting his opinions concerning the current administration. This entire series of events is reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz with the question being, who is the man behind the curtain? Is it Pope? We do not know the answer to that question. If, however, that is the case, it is an unconscionable abuse of power by a very highly placed, unelected state official.

Nichol has indeed embarrassed the current administration, but if the shoe fits wear it!

James E. Maynard Jr.


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