The protests at Tom Tancredo’s speech earlier this week have been getting quit a bit of attention. The “objective” media (including our wonderful DTH) has conveniently forgotten to talk to anyone besides the police and UNC administration.
The use of violence by the police force, including the use of pepper spray and tasers (potentially deadly weapons), should be a cause of concern for everyone on this campus. There needs to be an immediate investigation into the police’s actions and steps taken to ensure students’ safety.
The violent disruption of this protest and the targeting of SDS by the administration and the press is yet another step to delegitimize protest and political action on this campus. Too often, the only speech protected on campus is that of political conservatives (and usually white males) (i.e. people who get heard all the time anyway), while already marginalized voices are not only not listened to, but are violently repressed. Despite his friendly demeanor, Chancellor Thorp seems to be going even further than his predecessor to silence dissent on campus (on top of his response to these events look at his other responses to protests and the decision to press charges against those arrested in the DSP sit-in last spring). We must take steps to maintain students’ rights on this campus – rights to organize, to assemble, and to free speech (for everyone in the campus community – including SDS).