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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Faculty at two state universities have signaled their support for academic freedom following efforts by conservatives to halt a summer reading program at the University of North Carolina.

Faculty at North Carolina State University approved a resolution Tuesday endorsing ``academic freedom and the open exchange of ideas, including the examination of different cultures and their values.'' Faculty at East Carolina University approved a similar measure Monday.

The actions follow efforts to block a reading assignment for 4,200 new students at the University of North Carolina. Students were told to read ``Approaching the Qu'ran: The Early Revelations'' by Michael Sells.

Three students and the conservative Family Policy Network sued the university, saying the assignment amounted to state-sponsored religious indoctrination. A federal court rejected their appeal Monday.

Earlier this month, the governing body of the 16-campus UNC system failed to muster a two-thirds vote to support a resolution defending academic freedom.