Unidentified students took down a pro-police "Blue Lives Matter" display and replaced it with "Black Lives Matter" content inside a building at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on May 13.
The "Blue Lives Matter" display had been posted in honor of National Police Week and included information about police fatalities, and the policemen and firefighters who perished on 9/11.
The new "Black Lives Matter" display stated: "You cannot co-opt the movement against state violence to memorialize its perpetrators. #blacklivesmatter," notes The Dartmouth. There were also #blacklivesmatter posters put up in a library and other campus locations.
The "Black Lives Matter" display was removed on May 14 by school employees so that the College Republicans, who created the "Blue Lives Matter" content, could put their display back, school official Anna Hall wrote in an email.
According to Hall, the College Republicans had college approval to use the display board from May 2 to May 15.
The College Republicans posted small new signs in the display that read: "We will not be silenced, Blue Lives Matter" and copies of an email that the group sent to College President Phil Hanlon and the Board of Trustees.
In response, "Black Lives Matter" students posted their earlier content on a nearby board: "You cannot co-opt the movement against state violence to memorialize its perpetrators. #blacklivesmatter."
The school administration sent out an email over the weekend, notes LawNewz.com:
Freedom of expression is a fundamental value of the Dartmouth community. By its very nature, the exercise of free speech will include views with which some of us disagree or which we find hurtful. The unauthorized removal on Friday of a student display for National Police Week in the Collis Center was [an] unacceptable violation of freedom of expression on our campus. Vandalism represents a silencing of free exchange rather than open engagement.
Mikala Williams, who identified herself as one of the students who took down the pro-police display, told The Dartmouth: "It was taken down by students and replaced because it actively co-opted a movement that is supposed to comment on police brutality against black individuals in this country. It took that and by framing that as 'Blue Lives Matter,' it normalizes and naturalizes violence against people of color in this country. And that is not okay. That is in no way okay."