In your Aug. 21 news article “Coupling of science and politics raises questions about ethics,” UNC law professor Gene Nichol said, “We have already seen what can happen to professors whose publications the legislators detest.” Nichol portrayed himself as some kind of martyr on the altar of academic integrity, although nothing could be further from the truth.
Nichol has the right to state his opinion freely. All that “happened” to him was that the Board of Governors thwarted his ability to use university resources to publish his political screeds.
The board asserted that no state or university resources should be expended for partisan political activity, and Nichol seemed to have a problem with that.
I find it unusual that Nichol wrote in the Point of View “A battle against our national birthright” the same day about “the principle of liberty to all” that undergirds our Constitution. He has exhibited no desire to protect “liberty for all” – only for those who agree with his politics.
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I understand Nichol is a gifted professor. I hope he uses his state-paid time to impart his wisdom on students, refraining from partisan political activity until he is on his own time. If only he were as eloquent in defending true academic diversity, including those views with which he disagrees.
David M. Powers
Member, UNC Board of Governors, Chapel Hill