Texas university group unhappy over 9/11 memorial relocation

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DALLAS (AP) — A group at a Texas university is angry they have to move a 9/11 memorial to a less prominent part of campus.

The Young Americans for Freedom group has set up nearly 3,000 flags on Southern Methodist University's Dallas Hall Lawn annually since 2010, The Dallas Morning News reported . But university officials recently told the group to relocate the display to Morrison-McGinnis Park because Dallas Hall Lawn is used for classes and a variety of events, said university spokesman Kent Best.

SMU officials also had drafted a policy to ensure displays didn't include "harmful or triggering" messages, but they later removed the language from the then policy as inappropriate. By that time, though, some student groups said the new policy was an attack on free speech.

"I don't believe it's the responsibility of the university to shield individuals from certain ideas that they might be offended by," said Grant Wolf, the leader of the Young Americans for Freedom group.

Wolf, along with other leaders from campus groups, sent a letter to university President R. Gerald Turner to express their frustration with the policy.

"People absolutely have to have a right to their own opinions, but this does not come with a right to be shielded from opposing ideas, especially in an environment dedicated to the learning, sharing and developing of new ideas," they wrote.

They object to the relocation of the memorial. Moving the 9/11 memorial to an out of the way park is almost the same as not allowing it, said Heather Hall, president of the university's Turning Point USA chapter.

"That's not free speech," Hall said. "That's not American. That's definitely not what SMU stands for."


This report has been updated to correct that the 9/11 display to reflect that SMU says it was not relocated to protect students from "harmful or triggering" messages. The university says the display was moved in accordance with a revised campus policy.

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