It is no secret that UNC Chapel Hill sways sharply to the left. We were reminded of this during the recent pro-Palestinian rallies on campus, with faculty and students vandalizing university property, blatantly expressing antisemitic language on campus, and replacing the American flag with a Palestinian flag.

Do these demonstrations, which reflect the prevailing attitude on many elite college campuses, accurately reflect the attitudes of ordinary North Carolinians? The answer is “absolutely not.”

For the last eight years, I have been measuring the public opinion of American Christians toward Israel and Palestine. In March 2024 — amidst the war in Gaza and after the infamous congressional hearings in which the leaders of Harvard, MIT and University of Pennsylvania exhibited indifference toward the massacre of Jews — I conducted a new nationally representative survey.

Several hundred of the respondents are from the South Atlantic census region, which encompasses the Carolinas. This allowed us to better understand what residents of North and South Carolina, where about 8 of 10 adults identify as Christian, think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Only 7% of North and South Carolina respondents voiced support for the Palestinian cause in the current war, while 47% (almost seven-fold) support Israel. Slightly more young adults support the Palestinians (25%) than Israel (23%), but this is certainly not a majority, and the survey indicates the two groups are more or less equally supported among the young adult population.

Reality differs from the prevailing media narrative even more sharply when we ask “to what extent do top American universities (such as Harvard, UPenn and MIT) tolerate antisemitism?” Almost half of North and South Carolina respondents thought universities tolerate antisemitism. And the younger generation is actually more critical toward universities than the older ones, with 76% of those 18-29 years old who believe elite universities tolerate antisemitism also agreeing that these institutions promote antisemitism, compared with 59% across all age groups.

Looking at these survey results, we first need to make the obvious statement that the UNC System belongs to all the citizens of North Carolina, not just the small minority who support the Palestinians. In the chaos that took hold at UNC this spring, the voices of those representing the vast majority were ignored, silenced, or bullied. 

As a public asset, it is unacceptable that a fringe controls our flagship public university. Most citizens of North Carolina are critical of elite institutions of higher learning, thinking of them as hubs of antisemitism. Perhaps driven by current or more recent experience, the younger generation is even more critical than the older.

Our public universities should be inclusive spaces for “minority” opinions, especially when they’re held by overwhelming majorities. It is unacceptable that the pro-Palestinian position, chosen by only 7% in our poll, controls the entire institution. We should demand that North Carolina children receive a balanced education. The latest demonstrations show it is critical to fix UNC Chapel Hill.