We, the undersigned faculty and staff in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, strongly endorse Chancellor Folt’s recently published statements on inclusion and diversity. Likewise, we emphatically reaffirm University policy on discrimination, academic freedom, and social justice. We also support similar statements from other departments and units on our campus, as well as others from across the nation.
We believe that a liberal arts education in general and the study of literature and writing in particular foster social sensitivity, ethical discernment, professional capability, and more humane and just families and communities. This is why, like Chancellor Folt, we take this occasion in the wake of recent contentious and potentially divisive national and international political events to reaffirm the University’s humanistic values and to reassure our students that the classes we lead and support will continue to be places where all thoughtful perspectives are valued and all student voices are included.
We are deeply concerned that recent statements and
actions not only by national and international political leaders, but also by everyday citizens, have regularly targeted non-white and/or marginalized communities such as women, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, recent immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, sexual-assault survivors, the disabled, and both Muslim and Jewish people -- and this list is by no means exhaustive. Such statements and actions do not accord with University policy. They threaten the very principles of inclusion, diversity, and academic freedom that Carolina and the Department of English & Comparative Literature hold dear. We are disturbed in particular by recent reports of hate speech, violence, vandalism, and discrimination within our campus community in the wake of the November 8th, 2016, elections.
In response, we pledge to continue to uphold the law and University policy by insisting that our classes and community include everyone and do not discriminate against anyone.
The Department of English & Comparative Literature
UNC Chapel Hill
The Department of English & Comparative Literature, UNC Chapel Hill