Carolina in the News
A Special Sampling of Summer Reading Program Coverage
Carolina remains in the national spotlight today – including on the front page
of The New York Times -- following the successful completion of the summer
reading program Monday. An estimated 75 national and state media
representatives were on the Carolina campus to either cover campus activity
or attend one of five open small group discussions led by Chancellor James
Moeser and other administrators and faculty.
Among the highlights:
Assigned Reading on Koran in Chapel Hill Raises Hackles
The New York Times
James Moeser, the chancellor of the University of North Carolina here, began
his discussion by saying he hoped there would be disagreement in the room.
(Note: The New York Times requires free registration to access articles..)
North Carolina Campus Holds Seminars on Book About the Koran Amid
Claims of Victory for Academic Freedom
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Discussions of a book about the Koran proceeded as planned at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday afternoon, hours after a federal
court denied a Christian group's request for an injunction to stop the program.
(Note: The Chronicle of Higher Education requires a subscription to access articles.)
In addition, other national media outlets represented included the National
Associated Press, CNN-TV’s “News Night With Aaron Brown,” ABC-TV’s
“Nightline,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, PBS-TV’s “Religious and
Ethics News Weekly,” MTV News and the Free Speech Radio network.
Chancellor Moeser also spoke with outlets such as National Associated Press
Radio and The Los Angeles Times. Moeser’s letter to the editor also was
published today in The Wall Street Journal responding to a recent editorial.
And the court’s decision was mentioned on “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,”
(PBS), as a follow-up to a recent story on the controversy, as well as on
National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation,” which last week featured a
call-in segment with Author Michael Sells.
North Carolina outlets on the Chapel Hill campus Monday included The
Charlotte Observer, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Greensboro News
and Record, The Fayetteville Observer-Times, The News and Observer,
The Durham Herald-Sun and The Chapel Hill News. Broadcasters included
WRAL-TV (CBS-Raleigh), WTVD-TV (ABC-Durham), WNCN-TV
(NBC-Raleigh), WLFL (Warner Brothers – Raleigh), News 14 (Time
Warner cable – Raleigh), WUNC-TV, WUNC-FM and WCHL-AM.
ABC’s “Nightline” is scheduled to air an in-depth story Wednesday at 11:30
p.m. Among those interviewed for the piece, which is being reported by
Correspondent Deborah Amos, were Chancellor Moeser. Professor Carl Ernst,
who recommended the reading program book to the campus committee, also
is tentatively scheduled to be part of the “Nightline” package as part of an
interview with host Ted Koppel. “Nightline” can be seen in the Triangle area
on WTVD, the Durham affiliate. (Note that story schedules often are subject
to change, depending on other breaking news.)
ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” is tentatively planning a story to air
Wednesday. Producers who cited the program’s positive experience on the
Carolina campus during an April visit contacted the university this morning.
CNN’s “Newsnight with Aaron Brown” originally was scheduled to air a three-
minute story Monday night on the reading program based on reporting from
Chapel Hill. CNN’s plans changed due to an exclusive story involving Osama
Bin Laden. No firm air date has been set for this story. The program airs
from 10-11 p.m. weeknights. CNN “Headline News” reported on the
story, as did the network’s “American Morning with Paula Zahn.” “CNN Late
Edition,” hosted by Wolf Blitzer,” also tackled questions about the reading
program Sunday in a “Final Round” segment.
Other broadcast coverage since Sunday has included ABC-TV “World News
Tonight” and “World News This Morning,” ABC National Radio, NBC
“Nightly News,” NBC News “Sunday Today,” CBS “Early Show” and CBS
Radio Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg News, and FOX News “The
O’Reilly Factor” and “Fox on the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
Today’s National Headlines and Coverage
Carolina has appeared in nine of the top 10 U.S. newspapers over the past two
days at least once and in many cases twice. That list is comprised of The New
York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times,
The Washington Post, The Daily News (New York), Chicago Tribune, Houston
Chronicle and Chicago Sun-Times. Newsday (Long Island), the 10th paper,
has carried AP reporting on its Web site.
Among the highlights:
Studying the Koran Spurs Healthy Debate (Letter to the Editor)
The Wall Street Journal
In regard to your Aug. 13 editorial, "Mandating the Koran": Your readers should
know that our responsibility at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is to
provide our students with an atmosphere in which they can deepen their sense of
themselves and the complex, often contradictory, world around them. That's the
intent of our summer reading program...
(Note: James Moeser is Carolina’s chancellor. The full text of the letter is not
available online. Go to the end of today’s Carolina in the News for the full text of
the letters from Moeser and another Journal reader.)
Students' Reading of Koran Text Is Upheld
The Los Angeles Times
A federal appeals court on Monday tersely turned down an attempt by a
conservative Christian group to halt the University of North Carolina from using a
text on the Islamic holy book, the Koran, to teach new students.
Education requires exposure to all manner of things (Editorial)
All in all, too much is being made of a summer reading program at the University of
North Carolina in which incoming freshmen students were assigned to read a book
on the Quran.
Picking up a National Associated Press story combining reports about court activity
in Richmond with classroom activity in Chapel Hill were outlets including The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, The Cleveland
Plain Dealer, The Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.), The Philadelphia
Inquirer, San Jose Mercury News, Salt Lake Tribune, Canadian Press, St. Paul
Pioneer Press (Minn.), Miami Herald, Lexington (Ky.) Herald Leader, Fort
Worth Star-Telegram, and The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.). Additional
coverage has appeared in the Times-Union (Albany, N.Y.) and The Pittsburgh
Monday's court decision also prompted a positive reaction from Bernama, the
Malaysian National News Agency.
US Court Allows Varsity To Teach Book On Koran
The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has welcomed a US court
decision allowing North Carolina University to teach its students a book on the
North Carolina Coverage
Quran classes proceed at UNC
If you had sat in on UNC Chapel Hill professor Carl Ernst's discussion of the Quran
Monday, you'd have wondered how the issue ever became a federal case.
A Chance to Learn
Other than the handful of reporters who looked on from the back of the room, the
events in 302 Bingham Hall yesterday could have been in any class on any day at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Quran flap is about freedom (National commentary roundup)
The Charlotte Observer
Students discuss book on Quran
Greensboro News and Record
UNC-Chapel Hill's choice for a summer reading on the Quran drew weeks of legal
wrangling, national hoopla and sometimes bitter conversations about academic
UNC groups discuss Quran assignment
The Fayetteville Observer
An attempt at the 11th hour failed to stop small-group discussions about the Quran
on Monday at the University of North Carolina. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in Richmond turned down the Family Policy Network's bid to halt the
seminars just hours before they were set to begin.
Quran discussions proceed
News and Observer
While UNC-Chapel Hill buzzed with free-speech activists, security officers and MTV
camera crews Monday, thousands of students started their college careers in intimate
conversations on a book about Islam.
UNC students discuss Quran book
UNC students discussed a book Monday. While generally not unusual on college
campuses, the discussion of this particular book became, in the last month, a
lightning rod for controversy.
Reading's remaining chapter (Opinion-Editorial Column)
News and Observer
UNC-Chapel Hill's summer reading program certainly set off a firestorm. The
assignment of "Approaching the Qur'an" triggered a federal lawsuit -- though it was
quickly and predictably dispatched.
(Note: Gene R. Nichol is dean and Burton Craige professor of law at the School
Toward understanding (Letter to the Editor)
Thanks to the UNC-Chapel Hill Executive Committee of the Faculty Council,
Faculty Chair Sue Estroff, Chancellor James Moeser, U.S. District Judge N.
Carlton Tilley and others for affirming academic freedom with regard to new
students studying the Quran...
(Note: James Peacock is director of the University Center for
ACLU doesn't oppose secular study of faith (Letter to the Editor)
News and Observer
If your readers want an accurate account of the ACLU's response to UNC-
Chapel Hill's summer reading program they certainly should not rely upon the
Wall Street Journal editorial "Mandating the Koran," which you reprinted on
Aug. 14. The Journal editorial gets the facts wrong about the ACLU and
seriously misinterprets the basic constitutional principles of religious liberty and
free speech in an academic setting.
Dwane Powell's editorial cartoon for 08/20/02
News and Observer
To view this station’s 5 p.m. story from Monday, go to the “Feed Room” link
below and on the left-hand side, click "Next" button underneath "Watch More
Stories." Click on "Quran Controversy" on the left hand side.
Crusade for Understanding (Editorial)
The Daily Tar Heel
Not many people appreciate being asked to do something against their will,
especially if it appears to conflict with their own beliefs. This gut instinct has
significantly colored the reaction surrounding the University's decision to select
"Approaching the Qur'án: The Early Revelations" as the summer reading book.
ECU faculty OKs academic freedom resolution
The Daily Reflector (Greenville, N.C.)
ECU faculty members passed a resolution in support of academic freedom
Monday, despite criticism about its scope and timing... The move came after
legal and legislative challenges to a required summer reading assignment about
Islam at UNC-Chapel Hill.
In great demand: Experts on Islam
Waist-high stacks of books and empty white Postal Service containers vie for
space in Professor Ihsan Bagby's office at Shaw University. In a few days, the soft
-spoken professor of international studies will be gone -- part of a reconfiguration
of the American academic landscape... UNC Chapel Hill just added a second
expert on Islam to its department of religious studies. Edward Curtis will teach
about Islam among African Americans. The university is also considering starting
a center for the study of the Middle East and Muslim civilizations.
Issues and Trends Affecting Carolina
State credit rating cut
News and Observer
North Carolina lost its triple-A credit rating with one agency Monday, putting an
unwelcome exclamation point on the state's continuing financial problems.
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Wall Street Journal, 8/20/02
Letters to Editor
Studying the Koran Spurs Healthy Debate
In regard to your Aug. 13 editorial, "Mandating the Koran":
Your readers should know that our responsibility at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill is to provide our students with an atmosphere in which
they can deepen their sense of themselves and the complex, often contradictory,
world around them. That's the intent of our summer reading program. We want
to create an intellectual climate in which students can come to their own
conclusions and turn information into personal insight and knowledge.
Our program aims to introduce incoming students to books that will encourage
them to think critically. We are certain that students who read this year's selected
book, "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations," will have diverging views
on what they have read and will express them. In fact, we hope for that; our summer
reading program's intent is to provide a respectful atmosphere in which students
come to their own conclusions about what they have read, express those conclusions,
and listen to others' views.
The only way we will find the answers to the critical issues facing our society and
our future is to ask tough questions. As one of the nation's leading public universities,
we have an obligation to provide a fertile environment in which our students can fully
explore such questions.
We believe in our students. They have tremendous intellectual capacity, and we put
our trust in their desire to read, to think and to learn. Suppressing that trust, in any
way, diminishes the educational experience of all students and it diminishes our nation's
ability to respond to the many challenges it will face in the future. Ensuring that trust --
and providing an environment in which difficult, relevant subjects may be discussed
freely -- is a university's very reason for existence.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Developing Students' Minds
In your editorial you describe the University of North Carolina's decision to include
portions of the Koran in its freshman summer reading program as "strange." Isn't
developing students' critical thinking by exposing them to new ideas and cultures an
important objective of a college education? The program at Chapel Hill will be an
opportunity for students to ponder, discuss and finally draw their own conclusions
about what they read over the summer.