Kay Yow tribute mural restored

February 2, 2009 5:24:47 AM PST
Vandals defaced a Kay Yow tribute mural in NC State's free expression tunnel Saturday. By late Sunday, it had been restored. The people who loved NC State Coach Kay Yow can't believe anyone would stoop low enough to deface a tribute mural painted on campus.

But that's what happened at a place where graffiti writers often push the boundaries of good taste to the limit.

Students painted NC State's free expression tunnel pink --the breast cancer awareness ribbon's color seen in the mural of Coach Yow.

But some offensive words were written over it by vandals, apparently on the day of Yow's burial. And after cancer killed her someone wrote "cancer rules."

"I just could not believe anyone could do such a thing," NC State senior Karen Lohr said. "I mean, it's one thing to write something like 'Carolina Rules' there, we get that all the time. But to write something like that about a disease? That's just horrible."

A former Wolfpack player agrees; he and his family like the mural.

"It gives me chills! I personally knew Coach Yow and she was a great woman, great ambassador for not only NC State but the whole community," said former Wolfpack player Chris Corchiani. "And when you see the walls being painted in her honor it's such a special tribute."

That's why they wonder who would spray offensive messages about Yow?

"No one at State, I feel, would ever do that against Kay Yow," Lohr said. "We all loved her and other universities can say what they like, but I think it's disrespectful."

You can still see the original tribute to Coach Yow; most of the offensive words are covered now with fresh paint. But it's the fact that somebody thought it would be okay to put such a message is re-igniting discussions of whether or not the Free Expressions tunnel should remain totally free.

Back in October the state NAACP demanded punishment for students who wrote offensive words about Barack Obama.

"You wish you could catch somebody doing that and take care of it," Corchiani said. "But it's just unfortunate, we have people like that in our society!"

Corchiani says he is especially offended by the vandalism that defaced Coach Yow's tribute mural, because he played for NC State Men's Basketball Coach Jim Valvano, who also lost his battle against cancer.


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