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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

UNC Responds

Faculty_Council_Statement19631023_p1.jpg Friday_statement_to_BOT19631028_p1.jpg

UNC officials and faculty repudiated the law. The Faculty Council unanimously passed a resolution against the Speaker Ban Law, calling into question its constitutionality and its harm to the academic mission by refusing scholars from any communist bloc nation or those who had pled the Fifth Amendment from appearing on campus. The Board of Trustees of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, which included the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Women's College at Greensboro (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro), and North Carolina State University, agreed to support the law's repeal or amendment at its meeting on October 28, 1963. 

Governor Terry Sanford was sympathetic to those who wished for repeal, but North Carolina governors did not have veto power at the time, and Sanford needed the support of conservative members of the General Assembly for his legislative agenda. Instead, in October 1964, Sanford appointed a committee, comprised of members of the Board of Trustees, to review the law and formulate a plan that would return the power to regulate campus speakers to the trustees. Chaired by William Medford, a former state senator and now a federal attorney, the Medford Committee recommended amendment rather than repeal as the most practical approach to resisting the law. 
In January 1965, the Medford Committee presented its report to the new governor, Dan Moore. Moore, however, was not as sympathetic as Sanford and did not support efforts to amend the law during the 1965 legislative session.