On February 10, 1966, UNC Chapel Hill's student government passed a resolution in response to the "Speaker Ban." The Speaker Ban Law (1963) prohibited speeches on NC college campuses by "known" members of the Communist party, persons "known" to advocate for the overthrow of the state or federal constitutions, and people who pleaded the Fifth Amendment or refused to answer questions about communism. This meant that many people affiliated with the Civil Rights movement were banned from speaking on NC college campuses. Students and leaders at UNC believed that the ban was an assault on academic freedom and free speech. Below is the text of the student government's unanimous resolution. The Speaker Ban Law was ruled unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment by the Federal District Court in 1968.
Date: 10 February 1966 RW-40-48
Introduced by: Representative Don Wilson (SP) MD XII, for Paul Dickson, III, President of the Student Body
Action: Passed (no vote in negative -- unanimous)
A resolution in support of free speech at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Whereas: The University must serve as an open forum for different views and opinions, no matter how unpopular or divergent, and
Whereas: The University must guarantee to all members of the academic community the right to hear all sides of the issues, and
Whereas: It is only through the critical examination of all alternatives that the accumulated knowledge of society can be advanced, and
Whereas: It has always been the policy of the North Carolina Forum as a Student Government executive agency to present all points of view on its programs; now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the student legislature of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that:
We support the Carolina forum’s invitation to Doctor Aptheker to speak on our campus on March 9, 1966, on the basis of the principle of freedom of speech and academic freedom (with no intent whatsoever of sensationalism).
We believe it is educationally desirable for us to hear and scrutinize persons representing any and all ideologies and philosophies of government.
This body is opposed to Communism and other forms of government or philosophy which are alien to democracy.
The student Legislature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill urges the student body to express their views on this question and to express their opinion in a mature and responsible manner.
Copies of this resolution shall be sent to the following:
- The Governor of North Carolina
- The President of the University of North Carolina
- The Chancellors of the University of North Carolina
- The Presidents of the Student Bodies of the University of North Carolina
- The Editors of the Student Newspapers of the University of North Carolina
- To each member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina
- To Vice President of Capital Broadcasting Company, Mr. Jesse Helms
Britton L. Gordon, Jr., Vice President of the Student Body and Speaker of the Student Legislature
Paul Dickson, III, President of the Student Body