Campus Y banners taken down by UNC
Update, 10:03 p.m.: Peeples has said that the banners were put up again on Monday night and removed again on Tuesday morning, and that a third attempt to take the banners down was made on Tuesday night.
On Saturday, Campus Y banners hung in response to Charlottesville were taken down by the University, citing violation of building codes.
Campus Y Co-President and DTH columnist Alexander Peeples said they were asked to take the banners down on Friday, but said they would not. When they arrived on Saturday, the banners were gone, along with two posters hung in the windows by past presidents supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities two to three years ago. Those two posters were returned to Campus Y after The Daily Tar Heel reached out to UNC Media Relations.
“There’s a long tradition of, at least as long as I’ve been here in college for a certain amount of time, of the University using specific and narrow interpretations of facility guidelines to take down acts of free speech,” Peeples said.
Peeples said after evaluating their options, they decided to go public with what happened. The Campus Y published a Facebook post with photos of the banners and an explanation of what had happened. He said the banners were an important response to the events in Charlottesville.
“They were important as a response of solidarity with both actions taken in Charlottesville and actions taken locally," Peeples said. "They also serve as a counterbalance to the overwhelmingly racist and aggressive physical geography of campus and the way it’s defined by Silent Sam. The way it’s defined by other buildings that are named after, as it says in the post, [Ku Klux] Klan associates and confederates."
Peeples said next they plan to hang more banners and continue to advocate for free speech on campus.
“I came to UNC because I believe in the mission of a public university and the need to serve North Carolina and its people,” Peeples said. “If we silence the only students who try to continue to support that mission, then we fail our purpose of the University at the very core.”
Allison Reid, UNC Executive Director of Marketing and Communications for the Department of Finance & Administration, provided a statement which outlined the University’s policy prohibiting signs to be posted on buildings and campus-facing surfaces.
“We strive to enforce this policy as consistently as possible across campus, and do not consider the content of the signs in doing so,” Reid said.
Campus Y Co-President Courtney Staton was not available for an interview, but provided a statement on the matter.
“I look forward to a day when the University and its corresponding system finally acts upon the values it claims to uphold so that LGBTQ plus students of color no longer have to beg them to do things,” Staton said in a statement.
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