MYSTERY: Conservative group's socialism display vanishes overnight
Students of a conservative group in North Carolina say their display vanished overnight.
The display honored the lives lost because of socialist policies.
A conservative display at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte (UNCC) created by members of the student group Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) inexplicably vanished overnight.
The school's YAF chapter created a display of 21 cardboard tombstones, each representing a country and displaying the number of lives lost in that country due to socialist ideologies. While constructing the display, YAF members were approached by several students who disagreed with the messaging, but the confrontation stayed limited and relatively respectful. The display was set up in front of the UNCC Student Union at 7:30 p.m. Monday, but by 10 a.m. Tuesday, it was mysteriously gone.
Students of the club created a memorial in the same location on Sept. 11, remembering the nearly 3,000 lives lost as a result of the 9/11 attacks, according to students who spoke with Campus Reform.
Since UNC-Charlotte allowed this display, students believed their anti-socialism display would also be left safely standing.
“This was a disappointment to the members of YAF at UNCC because we believed we attend a university that praises and protects freedom of speech and expression,” Daniel Coble, executive board member of YAF at UNCC, told Campus Reform.
“One reason that we value UNC Charlotte is because they value free speech and to see that value being upended has really shocked and disappointed us," added Camden Winstead, another member of the club. "We hope to resolve this matter respectfully and peacefully and get to the bottom of who removed it.”
Students said they plan to re-erect the anti-socialism display as soon as they find out whether faculty or other students removed it. Members also expressed concern that, if students removed the display, the university may not enforce any kind of repercussion for those responsible.
The YAF students have been working with UNCC administration to identify who removed the display. Students told Campus Reform that they are currently waiting to receive surveillance footage from the location of the display.
According to students, some administrators in the school have been helpful and responsive, but others have advised the group to make reservations with the school before erecting a display in the future.
“We asked them why we were allowed to display the 9/11 memorial without a reservation, but would need one for other displays, and we were told that the nature of the display was a consideration," Emily Madden, vice chairwoman of UNCC YAF, told Campus Reform. "They told us that to avoid any repercussions for a potentially upsetting display, we should make reservations in the future."
In addition to contacting on-campus resources, students have sought advice from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) an organization which specializes in legal support of students facing on-campus violations of freedom of speech, as well as seeking advice from YAF's parent group, Young America's Foundation.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @EmmaSchambach