SMU, Students Reach Agreement On 9/11 Memorial

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – SMU officials and student leaders reached an agreement Wednesday to continue to have lawn displays, including Young Americans for Freedom’s annual 9/11 memorial, on the Dallas Hall Lawn.

The issue turned into a controversy over free speech that made national headlines last week.

SMU said in a news release Wednesday, the agreement provides dedicated spaces for lawn displays while also preserving open spaces for studying, classes, events and recreation. The goal is to balance the needs of all campus community members in use of this historic space.

The university explained:

Going forward, one-day displays sponsored by student organizations or University departments will continue to take place on the northern section of the Dallas Hall Lawn, the site that traditionally has been used for displays. Displays lasting up to three days will take place on the southern section of the Dallas Hall Lawn. At any one time, either the northern or southern section will be open for other uses.

In addition, SMU intends to review and amend Student Activities procedures and University policy regarding lawn displays. This review process will be undertaken in consultation with the student government and student community, including student organizations.

“I thank the students from across campus who came together in the spirit of mutual respect and civil discourse to achieve this outcome,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Throughout these discussions, students have expressed their commitment to freedom of expression – a value the University shares.”

Drew Wicker, President of the SMU College Republicans said on Facebook,  “This is a huge win for free speech on college campuses.”

Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz criticized the original decision to move the annual display to an area where there is less traffic.

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