Freedom wall: good idea, bad placement

Feb 25th, 2010 | By , ,
| Category: Editorial, Opinion, Top Headlines

“The Free Expression Tunnel gives students a venue for expressing their thoughts and feeling about anything.”
That comes straight from North Carolina State’s Web site, under the ‘traditions’ link.
The “Free Expression Tunnel” is a place on NC State’s campus where students can voice their opinion with spray paint. Google it.
It seems that the resident assistants of Georgia Hall have discovered their own “Free Expression Tunnel.”
Their version: “Freedom Wall.”
Good idea? Bad idea?
Good idea, bad placement.
We’re all about freedom of speech (it’s kind of what we do), and get excited when others exercise their own First Amendment rights. So, congratulations Georgia Hall RAs for standing up for yours. Our only concern, why keep it locked up in Georgia Hall?
If you ask us, there is a nice, new facility in the Student Union with plenty of space for student ideas and opinion. What better place is there? Constant traffic, tons of people, and, wait for it, it’s called the “Student” Union, so, if I’m not mistaken, it’s for student use.
Some residents of Georgia Hall are upset, mostly with the dummy hanging from a noose (which has been recently taken down), and to be honest, we wouldn’t want the last thing we see before going to bed to be a dummy with “your name” hanging from a noose.
We’re not saying that there shouldn’t be a venue for an expression of that nature on campus, just not 30 feet from someone’s door, and more importantly, it should be where the over 12,000 students can view and get involved with it.
Now remember, we’re supposed to be adults, so we really do not want to see 200 dummies hanging from the ceiling in the Student Union like some bad Rob Zombie movie. Please think of this as a way to express yourself, in a mature, well thought out way.
RAs of Georgia Hall, will you answer the call to pack up and move to the Student Union?
VSU students, will you answer the call to understand and participate in a way that glorifies the First Amendment?
I hate to pull skeletons out of the closet, but it hasn’t been that long since VSU was on FIRE’s (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) Red Alert list. The Red Alert institutions “have displayed a severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their students or faculty members. They are the ‘worst of the worst’ when it comes to liberty on campus,” according to FIRE’s August 2008 advertisement (which was printed in The Spectator and Valdosta Daily Times).
VSU is off of FIRE’s Red Alert list, but we’re not entirely sure the dust has settled completely.
This “Freedom Wall” could provide an opportunity to prove, once and for all, that free speech is a viable practice on this campus.
So everyone, will you answer the call to be open to new ideas?
We’ll make it easy; the answer is yes.

This editorial was written by Lee Johnson(gljohnson@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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