The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Students tear down “Wall of Silence”

By Ryan Shelton

Students cheered as a group of their peers rushed forward to kick down the few remaining cinderblocks left standing after the brightly colored “Wall of Silence” came crashing down Wednesday afternoon outside of the Union.

The wall, which stood for one day, was built from 250 cinderblocks painted by students to represent the issues they felt weren’t being discussed openly in the community.

After shouting “Break the silence!” dozens of students pulled down the wall with ropes.

In an instant, the wall crashed to the ground with a loud rumble.

Andrew Edtl, a junior mass communications major, said he saw the wall as an opportunity for college students to reclaim their once-active role in reforming American culture.

“A lot of these issues aren’t regularly covered — it’s a great idea to get the issues out there,” he said.

Erin Barlow, a member of the Union Programming Council and a senior studying math education, said she came up with the idea for the wall from a similar demonstration held at the Salt Lake Community College. She said the act of tearing down the wall represents ending the silence surrounding controversial issues.

“There’s a story behind each one of those cinder blocks,” Barlow said. “It was very empowering to have students come up and tell us theirs.”

Several students who painted cinderblocks came to watch the wall come down.

Nick Critchlow, a junior mass communications major and self-proclaimed feminist, painted the words “Engulf the patriarchy” on one of the blocks. He said tearing down the wall was a metaphorical success, and that action was needed to put an end to patriarchy and sexism.

The wall was almost not built when the company hired to construct the 5-and-a-half-feet tall structure didn’t show up to make it, Barlow said. After some scrambling and last minute phone calls, students found someone to build the wall, but ended up paying extra for it.

Barlow said the entire project cost around $2,000, which came from the Union Programming Council’s budget.

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Lennie Mahler

A group of students gathered Wednesday to help tear down the “Wall of Silence” in the Union Free Speech Area. The event aimed to raise awareness about social issues among students.

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