CHAPEL HILL – What a great day, Monday, to be in Chapel Hill!
There was a nice fall crisp in the air, people were still gloating about a possible bowl game, and the radicals on campus were pretending to be me. Well, they were at least passing themselves off as representatives from my office.
I should be flattered to think that a group of students on campus would want to set up a table in The Pit area on campus and proclaim themselves to be representatives from the Pope Center. Instead, I’m left shaking my head at the radicals’ feeble attempt to make a mockery of the organization in front of the student body at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Monday was just another in a long line of “Radical Protest Days,” as I like to call them, where a group of leftist student hover around a building on campus to protest anything and everything their bleeding hearts lead them to be against. This time, it was the Pope Center and a proposed Western civilization program at UNC-Chapel Hill.
The Western Civilization program is the brainchild of The College of Arts and Sciences, which saw the need for such a program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The school then went to the John W. Pope Foundation, which funds the Pope Center, seeking its financial support of the proposed program. The foundation has not made a decision on whether to fund the project and is not involved in creating the curriculum.
The radical students and professors are astounded that UNC-Chapel Hill seeks Pope Foundation support of a program. How could the school, they believe, seek funding from a foundation that supports an organization that is “racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-poor?” In their minds, the school should express the same socialist viewpoints they express in the classrooms and wherever else they can grab a bullhorn on campus.
Maybe that is why they began the day Monday to misrepresent an organization that uses its guaranteed right to free speech, just like the radicals do, to express its own views and concerns about some of the programs on campus. Using a table to promote a planned protest, radical students held signs promoting “Pope Center Day” at UNC-Chapel Hill, giving some students an idea that the Pope Center was out on campus promoting the organization.
No one in the Pope Center staff recalls giving the radicals permission to host a “Pope Center Day” or to even use our name to promote their activities. The radicals did tear down all references to the Pope Center after being confronted about it by the organization.
On a side note, one of the students that organized the table has recently been found in violation of UNC-Chapel Hill’s honor code for having an email address that made people believe the student was UNC President Molly Broad. The student in question also, during the spring semester, pretended to be ‘Tim,’ acting as the student who was criticized by a professor for being a “white, Christian, heterosexual male” in an email sent out to members of the class.
So what were the radicals advertising? The answer: a planned protest against the Pope Foundation, the Pope Center, and Western Civilization later in the day.
“Should the design of UNC’s curriculum be for sale to the highest bidder?” they asked.
“The UNC Administration is considering accepting a $12 million grant from the Pope family to establish a Program in Western Civilization. These are the same people who fund the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, which has consistently come out in opposition to academic programs such as African-American Studies, Sexuality Studies, Latino/a Studies, and Women’s Studies. … As the people who stand to be most affected by this decision, we demand complete transparency, and urge UNC Administration to stop obscuring the details of this decision.”
Meanwhile, the UNC-Chapel Hill student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel came out in support of the program in an editorial Tuesday’s paper.
“Yes, the Pope Foundation and the Pope Center are related – originally linked by the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank – and still tied together by the Pope family. But even if two groups share a namesake, it doesn’t automatically mean they are one and the same in terms of purpose. … But it’s the foundation – not the center – that is considering whether to donate money to the University to support a new program. And if it ends up doing so, the Pope Foundation and its affiliates won’t have any control aside from signing a check.”
If The Daily Tar Heel gets it, why can’t the campus radicals? That’s a question for all of us to ponder.
Shannon Blosser (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a staff writer for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Chapel Hill.