RALEIGH — The Free Expression Tunnel at North Carolina State University has recently been given a fresh coat of white paint, with the exception of an area devoted to Marvin Malecha, dean of the College of Design, in a mural motif.
The Andy Warhol-inspired creation took seven hours to complete and entailed a stencil effect to create all of the necessary colors used.
The refresher to the Tunnel took place after an Oct. 12 defacing of the GLBT Center’s “I am…” statements with derogatory terms to describe gays, said the school’s Technician.
The Tunnel was in the public light in 2008 when messages of threat aimed at then President-elect Barak Obama were found there.
The main concern is the issue of freedom of speech. A staff news editorial stated, “While no one is suggesting the University shut down the Free Expression Tunnel, anyone who paints it must remember it is a privilege. For anyone who wants to paint the tunnel, do so with thought.”
The university tries to provide a discrimination-free climate with healthy communications. But the reality of that may not be certain for everyone.
Jessica Moore, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, has called for more tolerance on campus in order to become a stronger Wolfpack. She said, “We must demand an environment where everyone is personally and intellectually protected to participate in course dialogue.” She wants LGBT faculty and staff to be afforded the same rights and benefits as those of the straight ones. At this time, she feels that the school’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy and its efforts “fall considerably short.” She does not see students free from intolerance either. An ROTC student was outed by his classmates and he was discharged and lost his scholarship.
The younger generation is much more tolerant of our community and I applaud them for that. However, we CANNOT mistake this tolerance for universal acceptance. Incidents like the outing of the ROTC student at NSCU by his peers and others recently reported in the media cannot and should not be ignored or brushed off as “isolated.”
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