We can no longer deny that colleges are engaged in a war on American symbols and the value of freedom they represent.
Southern Methodist Univesity (SMU) is receiving considerable blowback for their decision to block an annual 9/11 memorial. Each year, the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) SMU chapter takes part in the 9/11: Never Forget Project where 2,997 miniature flags are planted on the Dallas Hall Lawn in honor of those who lost their lives in the horrific terror attack. However, this year, as reported by The Washington Post, YAF has been forced to relocate their memorial to the secluded Morrison-McGinnis Park.
According to Campus Reform, the university administration replied adversely to YAF’s memorial application. They told the student organization that the flag display would be moved to a new location to “respect the right of all members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing.”
The flag memorial has been located on Dallas Hall Lawn since it was first brought to SMU in 2010. However, students behind the memorial have faced increased opposition from the administration each year.
Conservative campus groups immediately reacted to the language of the email, claiming that the 9/11 memorial was being blocked to avoid “triggering.” Their complaints forced the administration to remove the Leftist language from their policy.
The university administration claims that the new policy impacts all student groups, and is not an attempt to limit free speech. The new policy blocks memorials that include “any type of visual recognition or commemoration of an event or political or social issue.”
This is an extreme reaction to a memorial honoring the men and women who died in a dastardly terror attack. Ultimately, the policy has the potential to block symbols essential to our national identity.
For example, the flag of the United States is a “visual recognition” of a “political or social issue.” The American flag represents the American Revolution and the war we fought to overthrow the oppressive yoke of Great Britain. In fact, the SMU policy may be intentionally intended to block celebration of The Star Spangled Banner.
When Patrick Coyle first attempted to bring the 9/11: Never Forget Project to SMU in 2010, he received considerable push back from the administration. Endless bureaucratic hurdles were thrown in Coyle’s way in an attempt to prevent him from holding the 9/11 memorial. According to Coyle, the administration argued that only displaying American flags dishonored the people from other nations killed on 9/11.
SMU isn’t the only university that has taken a hard line against conservative groups and students. Are universities and colleges actively trying to discriminate against conservatives?
Coyle fought back against the administration and the 9/11 memorial was allowed to take place on the Dallas Hall Lawn for the next six years until being moved to a secluded lawn this year.
“I don’t believe it’s the responsibility of the university to shield individuals from certain ideas that they might be offended by,” explained Grant Wolf, the student leader of YAF, in a letter addressed to the administration. “People absolutely have to have a right to their own opinions, but this does not come with a right to be shielded from opposing ideas, especially in an environment dedicated to the learning, sharing and developing of new ideas.”