On Monday, Oct. 7, the Davis International Center bulletin board in Frist Campus Center was transformed into a Lennon Wall, an eclectic display of solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
The Lennon Wall has been a symbol of the pro-democratic demands for the Hong Kong movement since the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Borrowed from the famous anti-government John Lennon Wall in Prague that demanded the democratization of a communist Czech Republic in the 1980s, various Lennon Walls have dotted the landscape of Hong Kong in the past three months.
The one in Frist Lobby was a similar visual, a symbolic manifestation of the pro-democratic demands of Hong Kong. For the students who put up the content, the Lennon Wall is one of the few ways through which they can contribute to the events in Hong Kong while sitting in Princeton.
“It makes me feel closer to home,” said one of the contributors, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of disciplinary action.
The wall on the Davis IC’s board was taken down after a day because the group did not get permission to use the bulletin board, according to the Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss, who confirmed the infringement of the Davis IC’s space as the primary reason for the removal of the material.
“The taking down of the Lennon Wall in the Frist lobby was not done to suppress free speech on campus, but was rather just an issue of space,” Hotchkiss added.
“We respect their decision to take it down, as we had not consulted the Davis IC,” one of the student contributors said.
However, some of the students who put up the wall then shifted the content to the Davis IC bulletin board in Frist Lobby, inviting others to write their names and emails to make the content attributable to some people in concordance with University regulations.
“We chose the Davis IC board because it had the least stuff on it. This was purely our criteria,” one of the students said.
Other unnamed sources mentioned that some students had brought the issue of the wall to the University administration as displaying targeted offensive content. Director of Institutional Equity and Diversity Cheri Burgess did not respond to request for comment to confirm.
However, Eliot Chen ’20, one of the contributors to the Lennon Wall, told The Daily Princetonian that the Davis IC, rather than the University, acted on the complaints because the content fell under the University’s guidelines for Freedom of Expression.
A third Lennon Wall is now outside Frist 209, echoing the sentiments of a poster on the Wall: “We Will Not Be Silenced.”