UNC seminar class 'Literature of 9/11' causes debate

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- "Literature of 9/11," a first-year seminar course offered at UNC Chapel Hill, is causing major debate at the public university.

According to the university's undergraduate bulletin, the course aims to "introduce students to college-level critical analysis, writing, and oral communication by exploring representations of the 9/11 attacks and the 'war on terrorism' in literature and popular culture."

Check out the Reading list for "Literature of 9/11"

The UNC College Republicans are petitioning the course, saying the course readings "offer points of view that justify terrorism."

The petition comes after first-year student and UNC College Republican member, Alec Dent, wrote about the course for right-leaning, student publication The College Fix.

Read the UNC College Republicans petition.

ABC11 reached out to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The University's Director of Media Relations, Jim Gregory, provided this statement:

For any student, part of the college experience is the opportunity to grow by learning about yourself and how you engage with and learn from those who have different points of view. Carolina's first-year seminar program is part of that growth. The University isn't forcing a set of beliefs on students; we're asking them to prepare for and engage in every lesson, debate and conversation, and share what they think. Carolina offers academic courses to challenge students - not to advocate one viewpoint over another.

The seminar program is voluntary and the students select the class they wish to attend. More than 80 seminar courses on a wide variety of topics were available to incoming freshman this semester. The ability to bring differing points of view goes beyond the classroom; each year, student organizations invite speakers representing their own platforms that, collectively, offer an array of diverse ideologies from the left and right that lead to intellectual debate and discovery.

Read more about first-year seminars at UNC Chapel Hill.

Frank Pray is a junior at UNC and the chairman of UNC College Republicans.

He said he thinks the course should do more to offer literature from the perspective of people whose family members were victims in the 9/11 attacks.

"I think there's a difference between understanding the mindset of terrorists, and then having a book like 'Poems from Guantanamo' or 'Reluctant Fundamentalist,'" Pray said.

"That really says they could be justified in the violent acts that they're doing because of that mindset."

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