N.C. State's Free Expression Tunnel painted with racist, sexual slurs

Posted November 3, 2010
Updated November 4, 2010

— North Carolina State University's Free Expression Tunnel was spray-painted earlier this week with racist and homophobic graffiti involving President Barack Obama, according to Chancellor Randy Woodson.

The slurs and the name "Obama" were painted over the picture of a black man. Woodson described the graffiti as "racially charged obscenities and derogatory comments directed to the GLBT (gay lesbian bisexual transgender) community."

N.C. State students are allowed to spray paint the Free Expression Tunnel with images and words commenting on any issue. Woodson decried the use of the tunnel for derogatory speech.

"(The tunnel) is the embodiment of free speech, a place where we can air our thoughts openly," Woodson said in a statement posted on N.C. State's website Tuesday.

"But here's the reality: The Free Expression Tunnel is us. What we say and do there says as much about us," he continued. "The question for us all is are we going to practice the politics of hate and destruction, or are we going to be a force for respectful dialog even where there are differences of opinion?"

Some N.C. State students planned to protest the graffiti later Wednesday.

The graffiti has been painted over. There's no word on who might be responsible for it.

"It is an iffy situation because we don't know what to do, but as an African-American here, it just makes me feel ashamed of going (here), even being a member of the Wolfpack," N.C. State senior Kateria Poe said.

Racially charged graffiti threatening violence against Obama was spray painted in the tunnel the night he was elected in November in 2008. The incident prompted the University of North Carolina System to adopt a policy prohibiting actions defined by federal and state laws as hate crimes.


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  • thethethethe Nov 5, 2010

    If the racist/sexist graffiti contained no threats or incitement, it is in no way non-protected speech. Anyone who believes otherwise is an f'ing simpleton.

    An episode of clearly calling for unlawful censorship like this (and its wide support on campus) vividly demonstrates that the mental defectives in charge of the university are filling their students minds with garbage.

    Rename it the "Ministry of Truth Acceptable Speech Tunnel"

  • mcjenny50 Nov 4, 2010

    To a liberal the only free speech is politically correct speech…unless it’s directed at a Christian, a Conservative, a Bitter Gun Clinger or a Tea Party Member.

  • Alex25 Nov 4, 2010

    Don't like it, paint over it!! We are still free to guess what what? - express ourselves - even if it means embarrassment. But crying to Big Govt Authorities (and media) is stupid.

  • chfdcpt Nov 4, 2010

    To be a college student, and dream of fixing all the evils of the world. Then everyone can live in their own Shangrila.

  • GetRight Nov 3, 2010

    We're talking about college kids expressing themselves in in the "Free Speech Tunnel" and this is a surprise? Get over it. Paint over it and move on.

  • jeffjohnson123 Nov 3, 2010

    Stop trying to censor!
    It's un-American!
    Socialist censor, Communists do too.

  • PackFan92 Nov 3, 2010

    How is the free expression tunnel any different from this comments list? People get to say what they want without concerning themselves with feelings of others.

  • UPTOP Nov 3, 2010

    by giving them media attention, your giving them power !! Just paint over it and keep it going !!!

  • UNC81 Nov 3, 2010

    It seems like this tunnel is in the news every other month. Why don't they just name it the "politically correct expression tunnel"? Then it wouldn't be news when someone chooses to freely express themselves.

  • Rebelyell Nov 3, 2010

    The free speech tunnel is the biggest joke in town. Intimidation and repression are so strong on this campus, you can see it everywhere you go. No bonfires, no big celebrations, just a rumor of a celebration results in many blue and whites screeching to the scene. What kind of student body is so weak minded to allow their own strength to organize and stand up for basic rights be given up?