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Sign at University of Georgia about Georgia Tech shooting upsets some students

This sign displayed outside the Tate Student Center at the University of Georgia Wednesday shocked some students. I assume the sign writer was asking students whether the shooting of Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz was justifiable in its reference to a "clean shoot."

UGA senior Alli Carton told me: "Today this sign was on campus at UGA. Front and center in the student center's outdoor space. I'm outraged by this, as are many students here."

I reached out to UGA to understand the process under which students can post signage. Spokesman Gregory Trevor said, "The sign was located in the Tate Student Center Plaza, an open area of campus where expressive activity is permitted in accordance with the First Amendment. Although the language on this sign was insensitive and offensive to many members of the university community, it is protected expression. We do not know who posted the sign, but we do know that it was voluntarily removed. "

Here is part of an email of concern Carton sent to UGA administrators. I think she says it all:

I am not sure which student organization had this on display, but no matter what group decided to ask this, it’s a horrible display of what we stand for here at UGA. It goes against everything this institution should stand for.

Nothing about this question is useful to student life here and makes the tragic incident about politics and personal beliefs rather than the education that needs to be in place in situations like this. Mental health is a serious issue, which needs to be addressed in trainings and teachings across the board.

But as a university, the first step we must take is to stand with those who suffer.

My own view of this sign: A promising student died. Parents lost a cherished child. A sister lost a beloved sibling. Georgia Tech student are still coming to grips with the shooting and the violence at the vigil Monday.

There are a lot of questions that need to be asked about this tragedy. This is not the way to do it.


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Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.