Students, Greg Abbott Upset About Moving 9/11 Memorial After SMU Policy Change
Five stories that have North Texas talking: Abbott asks SMU to reinstate original location for 9/11 display; Fort Worthian missing at Grand Canyon; Dallas’ first Latino stage company needs a new leader; and more.
Update, Aug. 10: Southern Methodist University officials changed their minds, letting students displays, including the 9/11 memorial, continue to be featured on Dallas Hall Lawn. The agreement reserves a space for displays while maintaining an area for other events.
Original post from Aug. 3:
A group at Southern Methodist University is unhappy that it has to move its annual 9/11 memorial display to a less prominent part of campus. And members have Gov. Greg Abbott on their side.
The Young Americans for Freedom group has placed thousands of American flags on the university’s Dallas Hall lawn every September since 2010, the Dallas Morning News reports. But, members were recently told to relocate the display to Morrison-McGinnis Park in accordance with a new campus policy.
Dallas Hall lawn is used for classes and a variety of events, SMU spokesman Kent Best said. The university now prohibits all displays from the lawn and instead issues approvals for events to be held at the park.
Abbott sent a letter to SMU President R. Gerald Turner Wednesday, urging the school to permit the flags in their "traditional place of honor." Turner defended the site change in a letter, saying the park is actually "in the heart of campus."
"Therefore if the heart of campus is where it should be, MoMac Park would fit that description more than Dallas Hall since Dallas Hall is one of our northern-most buildings," Turner said in the letter.
SMU officials last month drafted a policy to ensure displays didn't include "harmful or triggering" messages, the Morning News reports. They revised the policy Tuesday, removing the language from the earlier version as inappropriate. They said the language had not applied to the 9/11 display, which had been approved for the new location.
By that time, however, some student groups said the new policy was an attack on free speech. [The Dallas Morning News, The Associated Press]
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- Authorities are searching for 38-year-old Sarah Beadle of Fort Worth, who’s been reported missing at Grand Canyon National Park. (Update, 10:25 a.m. Beadle has died.)[Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- The number of students who received free summer meals at Texas schools peaked in 2013 and then dropped last year. One possible reason is lack of transportation. [Texas Tribune]
- Nearly half a million plant specimens that are native to Louisiana will soon take up residence at Fort Worth’s Botanical Research Institute of Texas. [KERA News]
- After 32 years, Cora Cardona, the founder of Teatro Dallas, is retiring. To help with the transition, the company has received a grant from the Meadows Foundation to hire a new executive and artistic director. [Art&Seek]
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