UNC Asheville Hosts Farrakhan-Tied Women’s March Leader for MLK Day Speech

Carmen Perez, left, Bob Bland, Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour attend the TIME 100 Gala, celebrating the 100 most influential people in the world, April 25, 2017, in New York.
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

The University of North Carolina, Asheville, is hosting controversial Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory, who has praised anti-semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, for an event commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

According to a report from Campus Reform, the University of North Carolina, Asheville, is set to host Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory this week for the keynote address as part of its Martin Luther King, Jr. week events. The address will take place on January 24.

Mallory has been widely condemned for her connection to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan is known for his anti-semitism. He has praised Adolf Hitler as a “very great man. In a tweet that is still live online, Farrakhan compared Jewish people to “termites.”

In an Instagram post, Mallory called Farrakhan “the goat,” an acronym which stands for “greatest of all time.” The picture that accompanied the text featured Mallory with Farrakhan at one of his religious events.

The university attempted to get ahead of the criticism by disavowing anti-semitism on the event page for Mallory’s keynote address.

The Constitutional and democratic principles of freedom of thought and expression are central to our mission as a university, especially during the day honoring the legacy and enduring values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As has been our custom, the university’s invitation to an individual speaker at a university event in no way implies endorsement of that speaker’s comments, critiques, views, ideas, or actions. Further, the university’s fundamental principles reject bias in all of its forms including anti-Semitism and discrimination.

Ironically, the university used the principles of free and open inquiry as a defense for Mallory’s invitation. Conservative students at the university must be asking themselves if school officials will offer the same defense to controversial right-wing speakers.

The core of our UNC Asheville academic mission is clear and thoughtful expression, free and open inquiry, critical thinking, undergraduate research, and community engagement. We encourage our academic community to see the common humanity in us all, despite our differences, and to uphold the knowledge that respect for human dignity will advance our democratic principles.

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