North Carolina’s Triangle Business Journal is the latest media outlet to report on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC’s) troubling action against Professor Emeritus Elliot Cramer when UNC succumbed to outside pressure to revoke Cramer’s university network access. The pressure had come from Joseph Villarosa, who has no affiliation with UNC but who drew UNC into his personal dispute with Cramer.
FIRE’s Will Creeley commented for the article:
"Once the university has established a set of rules, it has set a precedent," says Will Creeley, director of legal and public advocacy for FIRE. "Professors expect that when they retire, the promise of network access will be honored. Now that UNC has revoked the access it promised Cramer, it has set an equally bad precedent."
Others claim to have problems with Villarosa as well. Susan Barrett with the N.C. Shelter Rescue Inc. says she is under a "full throttle attack," by Villarosa and has filed a "no-contact order" because of his alleged harassment.
"You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game" just because "one angry man was persistent enough," Creeley says. "All you have to do is send them enough emails, and they will get annoyed and they won’t ignore you. The university seems to be talking out of both sides of its mouth." [Emphases removed.]
Cramer sums up his feelings on the saga by telling the TBJ that "I don’t want to hurt the university, but to me it’s a matter of principle."
In addition to this press attention, UNC graduate Tom VanAntwerp has published a letter in The Daily Tar Heel criticizing UNC and its chancellor, Holden Thorp, for failing to protect Cramer’s rights. VanAntwerp tells UNC that
Until UNC stands up for free speech, I promise that they will never receive another dime from me. I hope other alumni who feel the same way will join me in withholding their support. I love UNC, but that love is not unconditional.