'A Treasured Value'
Fri., March 23, 2001
Referring to the JFA exhibit, Faulkner said he agreed that "the particular display at issue here went beyond civil bounds." He went on, "But whether it went beyond permissible bounds is not just a legal question for our academic community, where freedom of expression is a treasured value ... . There is great peril in venturing to shield ourselves from offense. Speaking personally and officially, I would move to modify our historic tolerance only with the greatest care."
Faulkner defended the official position of the university police ("Whatever institutional fault exists does not belong to them"), but he said, "I am personally sorry that matters evolved as they did and that Professor [Mia] Carter, or anyone else, suffered injury of any kind ... [I]t is not in keeping with the idea of a university that our members should be physically harmed."
Faulkner announced that UT Dean Sharon Justice will chair a special committee to review the policy questions raised by the JFA episode. After a few minutes of additional discussion -- including a brief statement, on request, by Mia Carter -- the council voted by acclamation to ask the administration to investigate whether during the protests, Carter had been singled out by the UT Police Department.
After the council meeting, Mia Carter wrote to supporters that she was "terribly disappointed with President Faulkner's official letter.... It was clear to me that the Administration plans to continue its whitewashing of the recent events on campus. The emphasis on rules is especially offensive if one reads the JFA-University correspondence."
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