Expensive Free Expression

State’s Free Expression Tunnel

 After racial slurs directed at Barack Obama were discovered in the NC State Free Expression Tunnel the DTH Editorial Board explained that “hate still exists in our country.”   Fascinating.  I guess Erskine Bowles “awoke to [that] painful reminder” as well, and decided to do something about it.  So, Bowles, president of the UNC system, created a commission out of thin air to investigate whether it would be helpful to write a new “hate crime” policy applicable to all sixteen campuses. 

  One may ask, “What is all this hoopla about someone expressing free speech in a free expression tunnel?”  The NC NAACP president explains that the spray-painted messages “were intended to create a hostile environment.”  Well, if this was the case (and it most certainly was) NC State already has a policy regarding “hostile environments.”  The four students involved committed “Hostile Environment Harassment.”  Not that it’s hard.  All one need do is be “offensive.”  These students simply decided to be super offensive.  I suppose their thinking was something along the lines of, “If we’re going to be Hostile Environment Harassers, why not go out big?” 

The UNC system does not need another layer of vague, unconstitutional, unenforceable policy.  It has enough of those.  Here in Chapel Hill, for example, we are not “intentionally or unintentionally” to act in a way that results in “adverse treatment” of “a person based on. . .protected status.”  Between “unintentionally” and “offensive” what are students allowed to say?  NC States’ mistake was to think that its policies were compatible with such freedom. 

Bottom line: the racist expressions were stupid, and in bad taste.  But since when does the UNC system care about the existence of racism on its campuses?  The Black Student movement (BSM) student organization here at Carolina is committed to “expressing black ideals.”  The question is, then, “black ideals” as opposed to what?  Racism is that belief that one race is inherently superior to another, and, I can only assume that the BSM chose to promote “black ideals” because it believes its set of ideals to be superior to say “Hispanic ideals.”  Perhaps someone should inform the BSM that UNC does not permit discrimination based upon race.




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