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

August 30, 2002

Carolina in the News

Current National Coverage

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

A victory for knowledge (Editorial)
Buffalo News (N.Y.)

Efforts by conservative groups and North Carolina state legislators to stop a University 
of North Carolina
reading assignment are anti-intellectual at best, and censorship at worst. 
A federal judge saved the state national embarrassment by allowing the book to be read 
and discussed by incoming freshmen.
(Note: Other national summer reading program coverage includes an article in the 
Wednesday edition of The Grand Rapids Press (Michigan) about Chancellor Moeser's 
National Press Club speech on Tuesday.)

Schools grapple with Sept. 11 lesson plans
Chicago Tribune

American studies teacher Nicolle Robinson struck a nerve this week when she asked her 
Granite High School students in Salt Lake City to write an essay on the first day of school 
about how Sept. 11 affected them... The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
also provoked an outcry from Christian conservatives by asking 3,000 incoming freshmen 
to read a book on the Koran and discuss it in small groups on Aug. 19, the day before 
classes began... Chancellor James Moeser said the university wanted to stimulate students 
to begin learning about an important world religion at the crux of events surrounding 
Sept. 11.
(Note: News Services supplied information for this story and arranged Chancellor 
Moeser's interview. The Chicago Tribune requires free registration to access articles.)

Invitation to Palestinian Draws Protest at Colorado College
The New York Times

Eager to find a provocative keynote speaker for a three-day symposium next month on 
world events, Colorado College, a small liberal arts institution here, invited Hanan Ashrawi, 
a Palestinian moderate well-known in the West as a forceful and articulate spokeswoman 
for Palestinian causes... Officials at the University of North Carolina have been criticized 
for asking students to read a book about the Koran, and the University of South Florida 
asked a court if it could dismiss a tenured Palestinian professor who has been accused of 
having ties to terrorists.
(Note: The New York Times requires free registration to access articles.)

Religious Indoctrination, The Koran and the ACLU (Letters to the Editor)
The Wall Street Journal

In the Aug. 23 Letters to the Editor, John Boddie, president of North Carolina's ACLU, 
states that the ACLU would object if a lawsuit was filed to stop the teaching of the Bible or 
the Torah...,,2_0048,00.html
(Note: The Wall Street Journal featured two letters to the editor today. To view them, 
please scroll down to the bottom of today's Carolina in the News.)

Suckers are born every minute (Commentary)
The Cincinnati Post

The cost of brain maintenance in America is skyrocketing. College tuition at private 
colleges has increased 24 percent (to an average of $23,000) over the past 5 years, at 
public universities, 17 percent (to an in-state average of $11,000)... Good season tickets 
for the Cincinnati Reds, among the league's most affordable, are $2,600. This is roughly 
what one might spend for a year in-state at the venerable University of North Carolina 
($2,800), one-third the price for UC ($7,000), and one-tenth, Harvard ($26,000).

No reason strong enough for a Title IX takedown (Editorial)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When Agnus Berenato graduated from high school in 1975 as an all-star athlete, there were 
virtually no sports scholarships for women... A few years later came a phone call from the 
women's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, and, "He started talking to 
me about this thing called Title IX." She came home, played brilliantly for UNC, became a 
coach and is now running the women's basketball program at Georgia Tech.

Etc... Best colleges for a quality education on a budget
Christian Science Monitor

Academic excellence, affordability, and community involvement are among the biggest 
draws for students this year, according to Newsweek's annual college guide. The magazine 
lists the following "hot schools" for 2003... University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill...

UMBC named to list of 12 'hottest schools'
Baltimore Sun

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County has been named one of the nation's 12 
"hottest schools" in Newsweek's new college guide... Other schools designated as "hot" 
include the University of North Carolina, McGill University, Boston College and George 
Washington University.
(Note: The Baltimore Sun requires free registration to access articles.)

National News Notes

Coverage regarding a UNC study about the effects of smallpox vaccine continues to appear 
in national newspapers including New York Daily News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 
Singapore Strait Times
, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This coverage resulted from a 
UNC news release and media relations efforts involving News Services and the School of 
Medicine. To view the news release, please click here

Regional News Note

A positive editorial about the summer reading program from The Herald (Rock Hill, South 
Carolina) appeared in the Associated Press weekly roundup of international editorials. This 
editorial is no longer available online, but is included at the bottom of today's edition of 
Carolina in the News.

State and Local Coverage

The learning response 
News and Observer

The big news at UNC-Chapel Hill the past few weeks has been this summer's freshman 
reading assignment, "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations." ... In the weeks after 
Sept. 11, the staff at the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill discussed how the 
museum could use art to help North Carolinians know more about Islam. The result was 
"Word and Worship: Approaching Islam Through Art," an 18-piece exhibit that opened 
Aug. 15 and will run through Dec. 29... Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh has sold 
all of its 115 copies of the book and has 100 on order. The store will hold a panel discussion 
on the book tonight, and the book's author, Michael Sells, will appear at the store on Sept. 7

UNC Chancellor Defends Stance In Quran Debate

UNC Chancellor James Moeser defended the school's choice of a controversial book for 
incoming freshmen. The book, Approaching the Quran, is at the center of the controversy. 
The book, which contains passages from the holy book of Islam, is a summer reading 
requirement for incoming freshmen. Last month, three unnamed freshmen and the Family 
Policy Network, a conservative Christian organization, filed a lawsuit over the assignment.

Reading book on Qur'an, Islam not brainwashing (Letter to the Editor)
Asheville Citizen-Times

I have been watching the debate over the proposed reading material at The University of 
North Carolina with a modicum of interest...

Inform, not convert (Letter to the Editor)
Greensboro News and Record

It seems that the basic premise of university education has been lost. Historically, such an 
education consisted primarily of presenting new ideas to students, having them study the 
ideas' pros and cons, and encouraging them to form an opinion about the validity of 
different viewpoints.
(Note: The Greensboro News and Record publishes all letters to the editor on the same 
web page. To view this letter, please go to the above url and scroll down the web page.)

Self-Inflicted Harm (Letter to the Editor)
Winston-Salem Journal

The uproar over the University of North Carolina reading assignment is the result of 
political election-year pandering and narrow-mindedness...
(Note: The Winston-Salem Journal published two letters to the editor today regarding the 
summer reading program. To view both letters, please go to the above url and scroll 
down the web page.)

Bug off! 
News and Observer

That camping trip you planned for Labor Day sounded so great last spring. But now, after 
reading story after story about scientists poring over dead birds and people getting sick with 
West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis, well ... DEET-based products work best, 
according to Dr. Mark Fradin, a dermatologist and clinical associate professor at the UNC 
School of Medicine
, one of the authors of a study comparing the effectiveness of various 
repellents published this summer in The New England Journal of Medicine.
(Note: Fradin's research was the subject of a UNC news release)

Schools, race conference hot-ticket item 
Chapel Hill Herald

The new civil rights center at UNCís School of Law makes its national debut with a flourish 
today, hosting a daylong conference on the growing issue of resegregation.

Ahn Trio to kick off World Arts Festival 
Chapel Hill Herald

The Ahn Trio, three Korean-born sisters who continue to display their "cool, funky" sense 
of style as well as musicianship, kicks off the World Arts Festival. The trio performs at 8 
p.m. Sept. 6 at UNCís Hill Hall and gives an 11 a.m. show for schoolchildren the same 
day, same place.

Issues and Trends Affecting Carolina

Connecticut Colleges Turn to Web Software to Check Condition of Campus Buildings
The Chronicle of Higher Education

College officials in Connecticut are turning to Web-based "expert systems" to assess the 
condition of campus buildings and the cost of maintaining and renovating them. Such systems, 
which let users create different financial scenarios and answer "what if" questions, are 
replacing three-ring binders as indispensable tools for campus-facilities managers.. 
Connecticut's cost for using the system to analyze its facilities was about 11 cents per 
square foot. That cost is in line with the 10 cents per square foot that institutions traditionally 
pay consultants to prepare similar analyses, says Kevin J. MacNaughton, associate vice 
president for finance
who is the university property officer for the University of North 
Carolina system administration
(Note: The Chronicle of Higher Education requires a subscription to access articles.)

Winmore, UNC apply for annexations 
Chapel Hill Herald

The Board of Aldermen could vote as soon as next month on proposed annexations totaling 
nearly 500 acres, including property owned by UNC and land targeted for the Winmore 

House speaker wants session limits 
News and Observer

The General Assembly spent another week in Raleigh without passing a budget, the summer 
is turning to fall and the "short session" is quickly turning into another prolonged session

Trustees support trimmed hotel 
News and Observer
A trustee committee endorsed a scaled-back version of N.C. State University's long-
planned executive conference center and hotel Thursday, over the objections of private 
hotel owners who said the committee rushed its decision.

A matter of scale (Editorial)
News and Observer

The luxury quotient has been reduced, square-footage has been trimmed and costs have 
been cut. Now N.C. State University officials want to proceed with $60 million plans for a 
hotel-executive conference center on the university's Centennial Campus.

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
The Wall Street Journal
Letters to the Editor

August 30, 2002

Religious Indoctrination,
The Koran and the ACLU

In the Aug. 23 Letters to the Editor, John Boddie, president of North Carolina's ACLU, states 
that the ACLU would object if a lawsuit was filed to stop the teaching of the Bible or the Torah. 
Maybe. However, Mr. Boddie is not citing an equivalent example to that of requiring the teaching 
of the Koran.

If the University of North Carolina, or any other public university for that matter, required 
teaching of the Torah or of the Bible, I believe the position of the ACLU would be quite different. 
The doctrine of separation of church and state would certainly be invoked. And I doubt that such
teaching would be allowed to be construed as an inquiry into the beliefs of [Christianity, Judaism] 
for the purposes of enriched understanding. Nor, I believe, would the ACLU tolerate students 
having to write a paper explaining why they refuse to take the required course, and how it offends 
their religious values

Most Muslims, Jews and Christians are not bad people. But understanding comes from people 
determined to accept other people. It is not from requiring the reading of their sacred literature in 
a public university. Those who intentionally hurt others are not abiding by the tenets of their 
religions in the first place.

David Bredhold
Louisville, Ky.

Beside the Point

In response to John Boddie's claim that "the ACLU has never sought to stop the teaching of any 
religion in a secular context": This may be true, but the ACLU has gone to great lengths to stop 
even the simple commemoration of a religious event by any institution that can be construed as 
part of government. Or are we to believe the ACLU honestly believes a manger scene on the 
statehouse lawn is a form of religious indoctrination?

Paul Cooper
Pennington, N.J.

The Herald Rock Hill, SC
Exploring Islam at UNC 

August 21, 2002 

Many of the 4,200 incoming freshmen and transfer students at the University of North Carolina 
now have a different or at least better informed view of Islam and its holy book, the Quran. 
Considering that one of the functions of a university is to introduce students to new ideas, that's a 
good thing. 

UNC-Chapel Hill has the dubious distinction of having sponsored one of the most controversial 
freshman orientation programs in history. While the idea of requiring freshmen to read 
"Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations" may have struck university officials as an 
interesting intellectual exercise, it ended up sparking a heated national debate. 

That is due, in part, to the subject matter but in larger part to fact that a conservative Christian 
group decided to fan the flames by taking the university to court. The Family Policy Network 
contended in its lawsuit against UNC that the assignment amounted to the promotion of Islam by 
the university. An appeal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court in Richmond, Va., was denied Monday 
just hours before discussions of the book were to start. So, with reporters looking on, students 
talked about the Quran. 

To be fair, the argument of the Family Policy Network was not entirely without merit. The 
university did relent in its requirement that all incoming freshmen read the book, saying that those 
who chose not to could write a paper outlining their objections to the assignment instead. 

If the situation had been reversed, if all students had been required to read "Approaching the Bible,"
some undoubtedly would have objected. Muslim students might have complained that the sessions 
promoted Christianity. 

But the university took steps to ensure that there was nothing coercive about the assignment. 
Students could opt out if they wanted to; discussion groups were not graded, and roll was not 
taken. (And if this year's freshman class is typical, more than a few students didn't bother to read 
the material anyway.) 

We suspect, however, that those who did the work and earnestly participated in the discussions 
came away a bit more enlightened about one of the world's major religions, one practiced by 
millions around the globe. And the benefit of that is obvious. 

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the basic tenets of Islam have frequently been distorted 
and misinterpreted. For example, Franklin Graham, heir to the ministry of his father, the Rev. Billy 
Graham, has characterized Islam as an "enemy religion." 

UNC freshmen, during orientation at least, were exposed to a view of moderate, mainstream Islamic 
ideology with which they may have been entirely unfamiliar. It may enable them to better distinguish 
between the faith practiced by millions of peaceful Muslims and that of the radical lunatic fringe. 

The purpose of a university is to promote open-mindedness and a willingness to challenge accepted 
beliefs and examine new ones. Of course, UNC Chancellor James Moeser had more modest goals 
this week. He said the purpose of the assignment was "to get students talking to each other about 
something other than basketball, football and sex." 

If he succeeded, the orientation can be called a success.