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

Carolina in the News

August 18th-20th

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 
,” 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,” 
, 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.


National Broadcast

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 
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 
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 NewsThe 
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 
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)
Houston Chronicle

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 
Holy Koran.


North Carolina Coverage

Quran classes proceed at UNC
Charlotte Observer

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
Winston-Salem Journal

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
Durham Herald-Sun

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 
of Law

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 
International Studies

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

WNCN-TV (NBC-Raleigh)

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
Charlotte Observer

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.

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


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.

James Moeser
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.

Robert Wicker
Tallahassee, Fla.