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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Mock Wall creates hate forum in public space

Editor’s Note: This letter is addressed to UNM President David Schmidly.

I am shocked and concerned about the insensitive and borderline racist display outside our beautiful Zimmerman library. I understand freedom of speech and I believe a week of this has provided the individuals behind this eyesore the medium for their message. I’m not going to discuss a specific message posted on the board, but rather its entirety. This is disrespectful to specific populations and bodies present on our wonderfully unique and diversified campus. I don’t know how the campus can stand for it.

You may call this “progressive,” “nonviolent protest,” “freedom of religion or speech,” but no matter the spin, it’s offensive and not all parties are participating or have a voice. I see the display as a hate forum mixed with extremist political agendas.
I’m sure the fellow students I’ve spoken with and I can rally more supporters of this view if a petition is needed to have its removal expedited. This is not what a university campus is for.

Expression is a form of art but once a certain religion or population is targeted, it is something else entirely. This display should be given in the proper setting and with consideration of others in mind. My campus, our campus, is no such place for these types of displays.

A university, especially ours, is a place for tolerance and learning, diversification and sharing of views. How does allowing a collage of politically inapt billboards allow for any of this?

You give the people on the fringe a loud speaker by disgracing our campus with such work. It’s simply one person’s message, in this case a few, with no discussion or input from the student body.

Essentially, it’s a political media campaign. Please do something about this. It is simply unacceptable and unbecoming of our University.

Hank Spellman
UNM student