At Dartmouth, A Tension Between 'Blue Lives Matter' And Black Lives Matter

May 17, 2016

Questions about race and free speech are being debated at Dartmouth College after a student group posted signs on campus commemorating National Police Week with the slogan "Blue Lives Matter."

Within hours, the signs were torn down and replaced by Black Lives Matter signs.

Dartmouth College Republicans, who had previous permission from the administration to post the signs, wrote a letter to the community saying their freedom of speech had been hindered when their signs supporting police were torn down last Friday. 

Then came an anonymous response from Black Lives Matters students that said: "By co-opting a movement intended to protect the livelihood of Black people, Blue Lives Matter & #AllLivesMatter facilitates the erasure of black lives."

In the Collis Center, where the signs had been posted, freshman Monik Walters said she saw both sides. “The main argument is, 'Taking it down was attacking my freedom of speech.' And on the other side it was, 'Well, your freedom of speech directly dehumanizes what I stand for or my people,'” she said.

President Philip Hanlon condemned the Black Lives Matters vandalism in an email to students.

Last November, a Dartmouth Black Lives Matter protest on campus created controversy after reports of student protestors pushing and swearing at other students in the library. 

Eight percent of Dartmouth Class of 2019 identified as African American, while 50 percent are white. Nineteen percent of the class is Asian American, 7 percent Latino, 4 percent Native American and 2 percent multi-racial.