Freedom of speech at what cost?

November 3, 2010 4:13:42 PM PDT
For the second time, racially charged graffiti painted in NC State's Free Expression Tunnel is stirring controversy.

Earlier this week, someone painted a racist and homophobic drawing of President Obama in the tunnel that was built in 1939 to allow people to express their First Amendment rights.

"I thought it was ignorant and disrespectful," offered NC State junior Jasmine Wilson.

A similar incident occurred in 2008, when "Kill that N_____" and "Shoot Obama" were among two things written on the campus tunnel.

Now, some on campus think there should be a crackdown.

"I think there should be a limit to how far they take their freedom of speech," said NC State junior Brooke Williams.

The offensive remarks sparked a Facebook group that called on more than a thousand supporters to wear black on Wednesday in protest.

But some say free speech is free speech, and there should be no limits.

"You can write what you want," said freshman Jackson Ferdon.

NC State officials say the tunnel "is not an area that is policed, and is a place where free expression even offensive expression is allowed."

But, staff and students are allowed to paint over anything offensive. There is a sign outside the tunnel that tells people to refrain from offensive or racist remarks.

There's another sign warning that the tunnel is subject to video surveillance, but students told ABC11 that doesn't stop anyone from posting offensive remarks on the wall.

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