A “Blue Lives Matter” display meant to honor law enforcement during National Police Week was vandalized by Black Lives Matter activists and replaced with vestiges belonging to the anti-police group.
The Dartmouth College Republicans were granted permission on Thursday, May 12 to place their police tribute on a bulletin board in the Collis Center, according to the Dartmouth Review. The campus paper reports that display was set up on Friday afternoon and was being guarded by members of the conservative student group.
On Saturday morning, Collis Center employees noticed that the “Blue Lives Matter” display had been removed and replaced with Black Lives Matter posters.
Collis Center employees reportedly took down the Black Lives Matter posters and gave the College Republicans permission to repost their Blue Lives Matter tribute.
The College Republicans decided to place new signs on the bulletin board. “We will not be silenced, Blue Lives Matter,” the new signs read.
Collins Center employees also posted a sign on the bulletin board that said, “Bulletin Board Reserved for the College Republicans. Do not post.”
In response to the new signs, Black Lives Matter activists reportedly posted their own new signs across from the College Republicans’ refurbished display.
“You cannot co-opt the movement against state violence to memorialize its perpetrators. #blacklivesmatter,” one Black Lives Matter sign read.
On Sunday, Dartmouth College President Philip J. Hanlon addressed the vandalism at the school in a school-wide email, calling the incident “an unacceptable violation of freedom of expression.”
One Black Lives Matter activist told the Dartmouth Review that she removed the Blue Lives Matter sign because it condones “police brutality against black individuals” in America.
“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,” said Mikala Williams, one of the students who replaced the College Republicans’ display. “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.”
On Friday, the Dartmouth College Republicans posted a Facebook message calling on the student body and people across the country to honor the challenging work of law enforcement officers.
“We hope that the Dartmouth community and the United States at large joins us in appreciation of the challenging work that law enforcement officers perform,” the letter says.