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Vandals Deface Kay Yow Memorial

Feb 2, 2009 – 4:00 PM
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Will Brinson

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Kay Yow's recent passing struck an emotional chord, not just in Raleigh and North Carolina, but across the sports world as a whole. The level of respect that Coach Yow received from fans, friends, family and colleagues cannot be understated.

Which makes it that much more difficult to comprehend why vandals would deface a memorial created to honor Coach Yow with a "blue mustache" and the phrase, "Cancer Rules."
A blue mustache and the phrase "cancer rules" were added to the painting, which shows a portrait of Yow against a pink background. The graffiti was removed and the mural restored by early Sunday morning, but the incident did not sit well with students.

"This is still like her memorial," said Caren Lohr, a senior biology and chemistry major from Trinity in Randolph County. She came to paint the tunnel as part of an annual tradition by her co-ed fraternity. "She was definitely not one to be disrespected like that."
No one should be disrespected like that, and frankly, it's beyond sickening to think that anyone would find this remotely humorous. Judging from the color of the mustache and the vandalism occurring the same day as the N.C. State-North Carolina game, the logical thing is to presume that a Carolina fan/student did this; I get the whole rivalry issue, but anyone who could find this not remotely despicable needs to re-evaluate their moral compass.

There is also, of course, the issue of where the mural was painted: the Free Expression Tunnel. The FET has always been open to nearly whatever (hence the name), but was the subject of national scrutiny recently when students wrote inflammatory words about Barack Obama.

And just as Chancellor James Oblinger responded in thoughtful and swift fashion, I expect the same here. Free speech is free speech, but has limits when its purely hateful. Whoever did this will hopefully be identified and punished to whatever extent may be possible.

Filed under: Sports