National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA) yesterday said that students can apply to keep the campus’ ‘Lennon wall,’ where notes and flyers are posted in support of Hong Kong’s democratic movement.
The statement came in response to students’ accusation that the university had undermined their freedom of speech by ordering the wall’s removal.
The controversy broke out after the NTUA student association president on Sunday wrote on Facebook that the school had demanded that the wall be torn down, drawing students’ criticism.
Photo courtesy of NTUA
The Hong Kong Outlanders, a group of Hong Kongers living in Taiwan, backed the students on Facebook, saying that the wall’s removal would reduce the space where students could express their opinions.
As part of campus renovation efforts, the wall was last year relocated from near the university’s “Wall of Democracy” bulletin board to its existing location, the university statement said.
A Lennon Wall Committee, made up of autonomous student groups, in October last year decided to rent the location until the end of the semester, the statement said, adding that the university early last month reminded the committee of the deadline.
The university said that it was only following protocol.
“The students are welcome to renew the application and continue using the current spot, or relocate the wall to a place near the new Wall of Democracy after it is completed,” the statement said.
The university said that it passed regulations last year that banned posts around campus with content related to religion, politics and elections, or with intimidating or insulting language.
The regulations, established to help the university remain a neutral academic institution, were set up with student representatives making up more than half of the decisionmakers, it said.
In any case, the regulations do not apply to the ‘Lennon wall,’ which is a special case, it added.
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