University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Heckler's Veto Results in Termination of Emeritus Professor's Network Access


University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) succumbed to the "heckler's veto" by revoking Emeritus Professor Elliot Cramer's network access because of outside complaints about a website link to an organization that advocates for animal welfare. Despite telling the complainant that the dispute was "not a University matter" and that the university did not monitor website content, UNC nevertheless demanded that Cramer remove the link from his website and later canceled his network access. FIRE wrote UNC in protest, and General Counsel Leslie Chambers Strohm replied stating that UNC would not restore Cramer's network access, redefining Cramer's reasonable, good-faith efforts to defend himself as part of the problem. Strohm also claimed that UNC had not acted due to the content of Cramer's expression, despite the fact that Strohm herself had ordered Cramer to remove content from his website.