August 28, 2002
Carolina in the News
Special Summer Reading Program Coverage Summary
As part of the National Press Club’s “Afternoon Newsmaker” series, Chancellor James
Moeser discussed “A Tempest in a Textbook: Academic Freedom and the Qur’an Controversy”
on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Among the highlights:
CSPAN and CSPAN 2 aired the chancellor’s session live nationwide Tuesday
afternoon and in repeat broadcasts overnight. The program included his remarks
and a question-answer session with more than 40 Washington-based journalists.
To see the text of Moeser’s remarks, go to:
Resulting coverage included a National Associated Press story focusing on the
chancellor’s comments. That story was distributed to print and broadcast outlets
across the country. Among major newspapers publishing it today included The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Boston Globe. Other broadcast coverage
to date from the session includes Dow Jones International News, MSNBC, FOX
News and promotional spots on CNBC-TV for its weeknight public affairs
program, “Capital Report.”
Alan Murray, co-anchor of CNBC-TV’s “Capital
Report” and a UNC alumnus,
interviewed Chancellor Moeser about the reading program for Tuesday night’s
program. The lengthy segment also featured interviews from Raleigh with two
UNC students: Matthew Carter, a senior business major, and Rebecca Chasnovitz,
a freshman pre-med major. Carter, a member of the Student congress, was against
the selection. Chasnovitz spoke in favor of the selection and program.
Others attending the press club session represented
ABC-TV, CNN, Associated
Press TV, Dubai TV (affiliated with the BBC, originating in the United Arab Emirates),
PBS-TV, Worldnet TV, Voice of America, BBC, Congressional Quarterly, Black
Issues in Higher Education, Religion News Service, Cox Newspapers, the American
School Board Journal, as well as D.C.-based reporters for The News and Observer,
The Durham Herald-Sun and The Fayetteville Observer-Times.
Additional coverage today focusing on the program includes opinion-editorial columns
in The New York Times and Newsday.
University says students surprised by backlash over Koran
The Boston Globe
University of North Carolina freshmen, assigned to read a book on the Koran, were more
puzzled by a challenge from a religious group, Chancellor James Moeser said yesterday.
(Note: This national Associated Press story was also featured in today's edition of The
Cuckoo in Carolina (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The New York Times
he ruckus being raised by conservative Christians over the University of North Carolina's
decision to ask incoming students to read a book about the Koran — to stimulate a campus
debate — surely has to be one of the most embarrassing moments for America since Sept. 11.
Christians Can Learn Much From the Quran (Opinion-Editorial Column)
Should college students be required to read the Quran? That is what the University of North
Carolina recently asked incoming students to do in preparation for orientation week discussions
at Chapel Hill. Outraged, the Family Policy Network in Virginia recruited three students to join
in a lawsuit attempting to stop the assignment.
Sanitizing Islam (Editorial)
The Jerusalem Post
In Funtua, Nigeria, last week, a 30-year-old mother named Amina Lawal was sentenced to
death by stoning by an Islamic court for "adultery," although in her case this means only having
sex out of wedlock... Meanwhile, the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the
right of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to require this year's 3,500 freshmen
to read Approaching the Koran: The Early Revelations, by Haverford College religious studies
Prof. Michael Sells.
Religious dialogue might not be easy, but it really is necessary (Commentary)
San Antonio Express-News
The way I see it, we've got two ways to deal long-term with the religious strife that underlies much
of the murder, mayhem and violence around the world… Unfortunately, none of this is going to be
easy, as 20 freshmen at the University of North Carolina learned last week when they gathered to
begin reading a book about the Koran, under the instruction of James Moeser, their brave chancellor.
(Note: This syndicated column previously appeared in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.)
An unlikely, provocative target
Moises Kaufman is a born outsider. The son of Eastern European Holocaust survivors, he was
raised as an Orthodox Jew in deeply Catholic Venezuela and had nowhere to turn in that macho
society when he began to realize, at age 9, that he was homosexual. Eventually he turned to the
theater, and today the 38-year-old critically acclaimed director and playwright is credited with
two of the most widely produced plays in American regional theater... Protests of public
school reading assignments have become almost a ritual; recently the same conservative group
that is protesting UM's plans unsuccessfully sued the University of North Carolina over its
assignment of a book about the Quran, claiming unconstitutional religious indoctrination.
Book won't be last provocative pick, Moeser says
News and Observer
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser said Tuesday that the university would continue
to pick "provocative" books for its freshman summer reading program and that he feared no
long-term fallout from state lawmakers angered by this year's choice of a work about the holy
teachings of Islam.
Chancellor defends Quran decision
UNC Chancellor James Moeser told the National Press Club on Tuesday that the university
picked a book on the Quran for campus discussion groups to encourage students to form their
own conclusions about the religion.
Turning a page on the Quran controversy (Opinion-Editorial Column)
News and Observer
With UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser choosing to reaffirm his position before
the National Press Club on Tuesday in Washington, bad blood continuing to flow against him
in Raleigh and the prospect of incoming attacks on the university from religious groups, it
appears that the civil warfare over "Approaching the Qur'an" has left wounds that will not soon
heal in the fabric of North Carolina.
(Note: Mark Walton is chairman of the Center for Leadership Communication in Chapel Hill.
He was CNN's first chief White House correspondent.)
Issues and Trends Affecting Carolina
Bowles shifts into overdrive
News and Observer
A student asked Democrat Erskine Bowles, as he campaigned at UNC-Chapel Hill, if a
newspaper photo showed him praying before his recreation basketball league team played a team
coached by Dean Smith. "If you ever coached against Dean Smith, you'd be praying, too,"
Bowles joked to more than 300 people packed into a UNC-CH lecture hall.
Kinnaird for state Senate (Editorial)
Chapel Hill News
Too often in politics, voters are faced with a choice between the lesser of two evils. In Orange
County this year, unfortunately, we must choose between the greater of two goods... Lee’s position
also gives him a perch to look out for the interests of UNC. Several years ago, he helped negotiate
crucial budget flexibility for UNC, and this year he apparently has succeeded in blocking efforts to
siphon some $120 million in federal “overhead receipts” from the university into the state general fund.
University asks Carrboro to annex more land
Chapel Hill News
The university has added 303 acres of its Horace Williams land to its request for annexation into
the Town of Carrboro. But officials at Carolina say the move should not be read as an indication
that plans are moving forward on developing the property.
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