University moves Black Lives Matter banners to new 'art' exhibit

Although postings will only be permitted to stay up for two weeks, the university is creating an indoor and outdoor display for Black Lives Matter banners.

The University of North Carolina-Wilmington passed new regulations about free expression on campus.

After changing its rules about free expression, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington will take down Black Lives Matter banners and move them to an art exhibit.

In a message to the university community, UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli explained that after a summer of racial reform and listening to students, the school would implement a free expression procedure and, accordingly, remove Black Lives Matter banners. 

The banners were placed around campus by employees over the summer, but they will be moved to a “collective art exhibit.” Sartarelli assured students that the banners would be stored in a locked warehouse until they are moved to “an outdoor and indoor exhibit that will be housed in the center of campus.”

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UNCW’s Office of University Relations photographed the banners for inclusion in an additional virtual exhibit.

The university recently implemented the policy on “Banners, Posters and Temporary Outdoor Signs” for non-university-sponsored individuals or groups, which will “bring banner placement by employees into alignment with similar policies around the UNC System and related university policies” that govern student free expression.

The new policy regulates the locations and times during which students and non-students may post banners and other materials. 

Specifically, any free expression displays “should not remain beyond 14 days or within 24 hours after the event, whichever comes first.”

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UNCW community members quickly denounced the decision to remove the Black Lives Matter banners.

Campus Reform asked the university if any future student or non-student displays will be included alongside the permanent Black Lives Matter exhibition but did not receive an answer to this particular question. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft