Video: Demonstrators Speak in the Pit

Daily Tar Heel (University of North Carolina), April 23, 2009

While former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode gave a speech in the Student Union, several students and activists gathered in the Pit to discuss diversity and freedom of speech. Several members of Students for a Democratic Society attended the protest.

[Editor’s Note: Earlier stories about Congressman Goode’s appearance and Student Body President Jasmin Jones can be read here and here.]


The crowd that came to Virgil Goode Jr.’s speech Wednesday night at UNC-Chapel Hill heckled and harassed the former Virginia congressman, but did not stop him from speaking.

A handful of people who sought to disrupt his speech were arrested.

Goode spoke to a crowd of about 150 in the student union auditorium, detailing the history of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action, which he opposes, and illegal immigration, which he also strongly opposes.

He was brought to campus by the UNC chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, which opposes multiculturalism and mass immigration. They are the same group who sponsored Tom Tancredo, their national chairman, on campus last week.

At least a dozen campus police were on hand Wednesday’s event to prevent a repeat of Tancredo’s appearance at which protesters shouted and unfurled signs, ultimately stopping his speech.

The crowd had to be dispersed by pepper-spray wielding police.

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At one point, Winston Crisp, the UNC assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, warned hecklers in the audience that disruptive behavior would not be tolerated.

A news release from UNC-CH stated that several audience members set off personal body alarms that had to be located and turned off by police. There was no violence or vandalism, but six people were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

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UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp issued a statement after the event, saying he regretted the arrests, but that the audience had been warned.

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