FREE SPEECH AT UNC


speech-poster

 

I was asked to create a poster to highlight an issue at my university, the University of North Carolina, that I felt strongly about. You may not be aware of the serious changes happening in the UNC system if you’re not from North Carolina, but they are a daily concern to students and faculty.

One of those changes has been the closing of several UNC Centers that may or may not align ideologically with the viewpoint of the Board of Governors. I was inspired by this op-ed about the closings from Gene Nichols, the former director of the now shuttered UNC Center for Poverty, Work and Opportunity. I wanted my poster to capture the sense of urgency that I felt in Nichols’ writing so I used a photo from an earlier period when free speech was also in danger at UNC: during the notorious speaker ban of the 1960s. This image, from UNC Library’s archives, shows an infamous protest when students gathered on the edge of campus to hear a banned speaker who was standing just a few feet off campus. At that time, students knew they had to take action to protect the academic integrity of their University. I wanted this posted to help inspire similar action today.