Dear Polisci Friends and Community,
The UNC Campus has recently encountered several anti-Semitic incidents occurring on campus. This includes the distribution of anti-Semitic flyers in Davis Library and in Hamilton Hall, and a particularly troubling incident that occurred in a performance that was associated with the “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities” conference on March 22. More details about the performance, the conference, and the University’s reaction can be found at https://global.unc.edu/news/unc-global-statement-about-recent-performance/. Back in October, 2018, I agreed to a request from the conference organizers to co-sponsor the conference.
Let me reiterate here what I have said to my faculty and students in person and via email in response to these events: I oppose and condemn anti-Semitism and hate speech, and I am committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our community.
While the panels on March 23 of the conference were examples of the importance of academic freedom and difficult topics, there is no defense for the performance on March 22. Our department currently does not have a policy in place to guide our co-sponsorship decisions. I will convene a committee of faculty, students, and staff to draft a policy that conveys our requirements and expectations with respect to our commitments to non-discrimination and academic freedom, and to bring this draft to our faculty for discussion and approval in the Fall 2019 semester. In the meantime, I am actively working within the University to improve security in Hamilton Hall and to oppose hate. Our staff, our faculty, our students, and our entire community deserve better.
Mark J.C. Crescenzi
Chair, Department of Political Science