carolina.gif (1377 bytes)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        NEWS SERVICES
210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279

August 12, 2002

Carolina in the News

Current International Coverage

Here is a sampling of links and notes about Carolina people 
and programs cited recently in the international and national media:

Students sue school over 'pro-Islamic' curriculum
National Post (Canada)

An attempt by the University of North Carolina to respond to the attacks of Sept. 11 
by asking incoming students to read a book about the Koran has so offended some 
Christian conservatives that they are suing.{B804C690-1F94-4712-85E6-20DD21448B12}

Ban Of Quran Study Funds Criticized 
The Guardian (UK)

A proposed ban on the use of public funds for a university reading assignment on the 
Quran threatens academic freedom and could jeopardize accreditation, critics say.,1282,-1937138,00.html
(Note: This Associated Press story was also featured as a short brief in a The New 
York Times's regional roundup on Saturday.

Current National Coverage

A Kinder, Gentler Koran
Time Magazine

Homework is usually controversial only for the students who have to do it. But this 
summer the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which customarily assigns a 
book to its incoming freshmen, chose Approaching the Qur'an, a set of heavily 
annotated excerpts from the Muslim Holy Writ. Chancellor James Moeser reportedly 
asked his trustees, "What could be more timely?",9171,1101020819-335965,00.html

Looking for the Link
The New York Times

Dr. Deborah Winn has had breast cancer herself, so when she speaks to women who 
have just received the dread diagnosis, she understands the nagging question: Why did 
this happen to me?... But Marilie D. Gammon, the Long Island study's lead 
investigator and an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, discounts the 
connection, saying the effect was minuscule and the risk did not go up with greater
exposure, as it should have if the chemicals were causing breast cancer... Others said 
it may be time to close the books. "I think it is important that these studies have been 
done," said Dr. Barbara Hulka, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at the 
University of North Carolina

Inquisition at Chapel Hill (Commentary)
The Washington Post

The tempest currently bubbling at the University of North Carolina is a sobering 
reminder that it is a whole lot easier to mouth pieties about the separation of church 
and state than to observe that admirable principle in practice.

Editorial Cartoon by Tony Auth
Featured in the August 8th edition of The Washington Post

Islamic Texts in the Classroom (Letters to the Editor)
The Washington Post

I was outraged by the Aug. 7 front-page article "A Timely Subject -- and a Sore 
One; UNC Draws Fire for Assigning Book on Islam." Keeping such a text from being 
assigned to college-level students is ludicrous and racist...
(Note: The Washington Post featured three letters to the editor about UNC's summer
reading program. A Washington Post news story published Aug. 7 was distributed 
via the Post wire service. Among outlets picking that up were The Houston Chronicle
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and San Jose Mercury News.)

Dummying up: For fear of reading a book about the Koran (Commentary)
Chicago Tribune

I'll say this for Bill O'Reilly. Unlike some other windbags of radio and TV, he's not afraid 
to invite guests on his Fox News Channel program who, even if he's not listening, show 
the rest of the world just how wrong he can be.

Save the Bigots

This morning in Pakistan, three women were killed as they left a Christian church, 
apparently the latest victims in a spree of anti-Christian terrorism. Meanwhile, in North 
Carolina, legislators and conservative activists are battling what they regard as another 
assault on Christianity: The University of North Carolina is requiring incoming students 
to read a book about Islam.

Good fathers? It figures
Boston Globe 

Conventional men may not be the glamorous male icons of today's society but, according 
to a recent study, they have one thing going for them: They make good fathers... ''The 
research shows that a father's role in providing economic and social status to the family 
is very important,'' said University of North Carolina sociologist Kathleen Mullan Harris.

Photographs of Lynchings (Letter to the Editor)
The Chronicle of Higher Education

As the curator of the exhibit "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America," 
I was gratified to see such a comprehensive treatment by Danny Postel ("The Awful 
Truth," July 12). Although I am generally impressed with the scope and reach of Mr. 
Postel's article, I am somewhat concerned that, in trying to weave a coherent story, he 
may have misled, in some places, those reading the article. ...
(Note: Joseph F. Jordan is director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center.
The Chronicle of Higher Education requires a subscription to access articles.)

National News Notes

Provost Robert Shelton
appeared on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," on 
WUNC-TV (PBS) Friday about the summer reading program. To listen or
view the program online, please visit

Regional Coverage

Quran should be understood, not slandered (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The State (South Carolina)

The University of North Carolina is being sued for assigning my book, Approaching 
the Qur'an: The Early Revelations, as required summer reading for first-year students. 
The plaintiffs charge that UNC indoctrinates students with deceptive claims about 
the peaceful nature of Islam, violating the separation of church and state. In fact, the 
book makes no general claims about Islam.
(Note: Michael Sells is author of "Approaching the Qu'ran." Other pick-up of this
column which originated in the August 8th edition of The Washington Post includes 
The Atlanta Journal Constitution and the News and Observer.)

State and Local Coverage

Academic Freedom (Editorial)
Winston-Salem Journal

The situation grew more serious last week when state legislators joined in that affront
to the First Amendment and to academic freedom. Then, when the University of North 
Carolina's board of governors failed to pass a resolution supporting the 16 UNC 
campuses in their "commitment to religious, academic and political freedom," what 
started as an annoying lawsuit grew into a serious threat to the integrity of the 
university system.

From the Speaker Ban to the Prophet Ban (Commentary)
Charlotte Observer

Has the legislature learned anything in the past four decades? Apparently not, if it lets 
stand a House Appropriations Committee amendment meddling with academic 
freedom again at public universities. Nearly four decades ago the General Assembly 
made itself and the University of North Carolina an international laughingstock when 
it adopted the infamous unconstitutional Speaker Ban in a well-intended but ultimately 
foolish attempt to shield students from strange ideas.

Stand up, stand up for politics (Editorial)
Wilmington Morning Star

Grandstanding for the votes of people who don’t think – and who dislike people who 
do – is a hallowed American tradition, and just in time for the September primary, 
North Carolina politicians have been given a chance to demonstrate their fidelity to 
the religious traditions most of us share.

House action embarrasses North Carolina (Editorial)
If North Carolina legislators have been concerned about the declining national standing 
of the state's flagship university, they did their best last week to further wreck its reputation.

N.C.'s thought police (Editorial)
Charlotte Observer

Our legislators are right about one thing -- some things you read, hear and see can be 
truly disturbing. Case in point: the recent error-strewn, narrow-minded and generally 
clueless discussion in the N.C. House Appropriations Committee on an amendment 
aimed at stopping the nation's oldest state university from expecting incoming freshmen 
to read about the Quran, Islam's holy book.

Talking points for Quran samplers (Commentary)
All right, to start with a confession: When the topic for UNC-Chapel Hill's new-student 
summer reading program first was announced, I was among the snorters and eye-rollers.

The fear of foreign ideas (Commentary)
One wonders what Senator Sam and other country sages would have thought about the 
legislative flap over whether incoming freshmen at UNC-Chapel Hill should be required 
to read a book about the Quran. There was little that was new about the move last week 
by a state House committee to prevent UNC-CH from requiring incoming freshmen to 
read "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations," by Michael Sells.

Editorial cartoon about UNC's summer reading program

UNC board avoids Quran stand
Worries about legislative moves that would stifle academic freedom took center stage 
again in Chapel Hill 39 years after the General Assembly passed its infamous Speaker 
Ban legislation.
(Note: Other coverage includes The News and Observer. A related Associated Press 
story was featured in the Charlotte Observer and the Wilmington Morning Star.)

For sake of unity, Quran book worth my time (Letter to the Editor)
Charlotte Observer

Regarding "Quran book is worth UNC students' time" (Ken Garfield, July 20): I will be 
an incoming student at UNC Chapel Hill.

House effort is an embarrassment (Letter to the Editor)
I find the recent House panel's decision to bar funding to UNC's assignment involving 
religious education absolutely reprehensible.

Useful knowledge (Letter to the Editor)
I, for one, would like to applaud UNC-Chapel Hill's book selection for the incoming 
freshman. My son is starting UNC shortly and we all thought how insightful it was on the 
part of the administration to propose such a book, in light of the current times.

Enrollment at colleges on the rise
Charlotte Observer

Students who live close enough to drive to UNC Charlotte and hadn't yet signed up 
for a dorm received letters last week from the school. They'll have to commute. The 
dorms are full... The story could've been the same at UNC Chapel Hill if it hadn't 
opened four new dorms this year with space for 500 more students than last. All those 
beds are already taken too.
(Note: The Observer has been contacted about the misspelling of Jerry Lucido's name.)

Issues and Trends Affecting Carolina

Planetarium will have one-stop voting

University administrators and elections officials have agreed to reopen a one-stop voting 
center in the Morehead Planetarium in time for the Sept. 10 primary. Associate Provost 
Steve Allred said Thursday that he and Orange County elections director Carolyn Thomas 
had ironed out an agreement to reopen the center.

Note: If you have any questions about Carolina in the News, 
please call Cathleen Keyser or Mike McFarland at News Services, 
(919) 962-2091 or or