Concerns surround NCSU free expression tunnel

RALEIGH When legendary Coach Kay Yow succumbed to cancer, a mural was painted on the free expression tunnel in her honor.

So after, students found it had been defaced --someone painted the words "cancer rules."

Some students on NC State's campus now say they want to see the free expression tunnel shutdown.

"I don't feel it's that positive of a thing to have," student Candice Kasischke said. "Honestly, I don't think it will be missed that much."

It took artist Blake Burnette 10 hours to paint the tribute.

After hearing news the tunnel could be closed, he says he sent a letter to NC State's chancellor.

"I cannot begin to describe to you what the tunnel has provided me," Burnette said.

He is also asking the school to reconsider any request that might jeopardize the free expression portion of the tunnel.

"They're still going to write what they are going to write, it doesn't matter if the tunnel is here or not," he said.

"It may be shutdown some point in the future, but that's not what's being discussed right now," Vice Provost Diversity and Inclusion Jose Picart said.

Currently, school officials say they are not planning to shut it down. Instead they want to hear from students and faculty on campus about what should happen next.

The campus culture task force have been working since November --when racist remarks against then president elect Barack Obama were found-- to find ways to deal with the offensive remarks being left on the tunnel.

"If we get, 'hey free expression is great but the tunnel isn't working,' that would be a recommendation that would go forward," Picart said.

For now school officials say they have no plans to close the tunnel. Recommendations will be submitted to the chancellor for final decision.

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