The Belmont chapter of Young Americans for Liberty displayed a censorship wall under the bell tower Friday, the first of its kind in the entire national organization’s history.
The group, described by its official website as being a “pro-liberty organization,” adheres to ideals of small government generally ascribed to the Libertarian party. As such, the censorship wall featured three small-government quotes from individuals such as George Orwell and John Adams.
Throughout the course of the event, YAL members covered certain parts of those quotes with black duct tape, thus completely transforming their intended meaning to a more liberal one and serving as a statement about the power of government censorship.
“This is the first time we’ve done this at Belmont and the first censorship wall in our national organization,” said YAL President Kaitlyn Sharkey.
Typically, YAL chapters at public universities build blank “free-speech walls”–on which students can write essentially whatever they want–but since Belmont is a private institution, the organization could receive backlash if anything inappropriate were to be written, she said.
The group’s solution, then, was the censorship wall. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, members dressed as political figures and stood around the plaza, answering questions about the event and YAL as a whole.
“More students are paying attention to what’s going on,” said Sharkey. “If we get people engaged and talking about it, then we’ve accomplished something.”