The following is from an email I received from a UNC-CH student in reference to my editorial in today’s News & Observer:

… the vast majority of UNC’s undergrads find the ‘controversy’ over the Pope donation to be ridiculous. The shrilly op-eds and letters from graduate students and a handful of sociology professors have been wonderfully entertaining, but I think the feeling among most students is that the charges barely merit refuting. The idea that the University compromises academic independence by accepting funding is completely bunk; we take a hell of a lot of money from the state legislature, and goodness knows the school doesn’t agree with a lot of their politics. As for the content of the Western Studies program, the general feeling is that any extra course offerings would be more than welcome. If we’ve got students that want to take the Canine Cultures seminar, there are bound to be more than a handful interested in western culture (I hope). I don’t think you’re going to see substantive opposition to any course of study that doesn’t demand additional tuition money. It isn’t lost on students that the small minority of people out there protesting the Pope donation under the banner of ‘defending academic freedom’ are the only ones demanding that something NOT be taught. Apparently their sense of irony was misplaced with their sense of reason. … Just thought I’d let you know that most of us over here think this whole controvery is entertainingly dumb, and we’ll be chuckling all the way to a western studies minor.