Southern Methodist University’s recent decision to relocate a memorial to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks over concerns students might be “triggered” caused outrage across the fruited plain.
But the university announced late Wednesday they are reversing that decision and will allow Young Americans For Freedom to post nearly 3,000 American flags on the Dallas Hall Lawn to honor those killed by the Muslim terrorists.
“I thank the students from across campus who came together in the spirit of mutual respect and civil discourse to achieve this outcome,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner in a prepared statement. “Throughout these discussions, students have expressed their commitment to freedom of expression – a value the University shares.”
The university had initially banished all lawn displays, citing a revised policy aimed at protecting students from “harmful or triggering” messages. Click here to read the original story.
“While the University respects the rights of students to free speech, the University respects the right of members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing,” the policy read.
SMU stressed that its policy covered all lawn displays, not just the 9/11 memorial.
However, the decision was roundly denounced and condemned by students, alumni, donors and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
SMU said they reached an agreement with student leaders to return displays to the prominent lawn space.
“This agreement provides dedicated spaces for lawn displays while also preserving open spaces for studying, classes, events and recreation,” a university statement read. “The goal is to balance the needs of all campus community members in use of this historic space.”
Young Americans For Freedom should be commended for taking a noble stand. They recognized that free speech was under assault and they did something about it.
And I suspect many readers of this column called, emailed and petitioned Southern Methodist University to reverse its policy. College students do not have a constitutional right not to be offended.
What happened at Southern Methodist University is an example of how a wrong can be righted when freedom lovers stand together.
Well done, patriots!