University Bans 9/11 Memorial Display From Campus

REUTERS/Gary Hershorn.

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

Southern Methodist University has refused to allow a 9/11 memorial on campus which has caused an uproar among the student body in opposition to the administration, according to emails obtained by The College Fix.

The students are calling this decision the result of a “restrictive and destructive” attitude on the part of the administrators.

The proposal to host an on-campus display came from the local chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). The university flatly turned them down, prompting student groups on both the left and right to say their freedom of speech had been violated.

The university says it has no objection to free speech, just any interruption to the institution’s daily routine. But the students aren’t buying this line, charging that the ban on “lawn displays” that was supposed to reduce “triggering” incidents on campus is really aimed at stopping pro-life groups from erecting displays and stirring debate.

The students have banded together in opposition and will try to reverse the decision in the student government’s senate, according to The College Fix.

In late July, the Young Americans asked SMU for the use of the Dallas Hall Lawn in order to erect almost 3,000 American flags, one for every person murdered by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. The YAF had first hosted the memorial in 2015.

But there was to be no Old Glory for the university. A July 24 email indicates that the administration ordered the display to be moved a quarter mile off campus.

“The University has a new policy regarding Memorial Lawn Displays (see below) so I have changed the location of your request to MoMac Park,” Lydia Dale, who coordinates student activities, responded to the request.

The new policy is supposed to take into consideration “the right of all members of the SMU community to express their opinions” and the university’s perceived right of students to “avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing.”

That response galvanized the student population.

“If expression is banned from a part of this campus, that is detrimental to the education of the students,” SMU College Democrats Co-President Matthew Lucci told The College Fix.

Follow David on Twitter