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The Appalachian

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BREAKING: Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs announces plan for free expression on campus

BREAKING%3A+Vice+Chancellor+of+Student+Affairs+announces+plan+for+free+expression+on+campus

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs J.J. Brown announced in an email Thursday that App State will establish a working group of students to identify alternative options for free expression on campus.

The student group’s first meeting will be held April 8, according to the email. The announcement comes in response to recent concerns voiced by students concerning the renovation of the free expression tunnels.

Before their current renovation, the tunnels were a location where students were permitted to spray paint the walls. According to the campus construction website, the upgrade will “improve safety and aesthetics” but will remove all “graffiti” covering the walls.

Brown wrote that SGA will be involved in establishing the working group to identify a new location for free expression.

“We will begin by establishing a Free Expression Space Working Group that will meet weekly, beginning the week of April 8, throughout the end of this semester, to discuss the needs expressed at last night’s student forum held by SGA, and to help determine the best way to meet those needs,” Brown wrote in the email. “Further discussions will take place over the summer and/or the fall as needed.” 

Brown wrote that Jamie Parson and Jeff Cathey, free speech responsible officers at App State, will also help facilitate the group.

Brown said the team responsible for forming the group will start reaching out to students with an opportunity to participate in the working group. Brown included a Google Form in the email where students interested in participating can sign up.

A petition was created in response to the renovations, advocating to “save” the tunnels. 

“They claim that it will serve to make the tunnels safer and increase mountaineer pride, but this change will only serve to widen that gap between the student body and the administration, and decrease student moral,” says the petition.

After the renovation announcement, the SGA addressed concerns related to the tunnels in their March 5 meeting for those concerned about the removal of the free expression aspect of the tunnels.

Wednesday’s SGA meeting concerning Wey Hall, SpringFest and the tunnels saw more students voice their concerns about the removal of free expression. 

Brown acknowledged the SGA meeting in his email, thanking students for sharing their thoughts and concerns.

Para leer en español hace clic aquí.

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About the Contributor
Madalyn Edwards, Associate News Editor
Madalyn Edwards (she/her) is a junior English major from Mount Airy, NC. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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    MuChaoMar 29, 2024 at 10:19 am

    If the administration really cared, they would have done this *before* making the decision that they did, not in response to the backlash that they faced.

    Reply