Emory To Identify Those Who Chalked Support For Trump On Sidewalks and Walls

495px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore220px-Emory_University_SealWe have been discussing how colleges and universities are expanding the range of micro aggressions and hostile or hate speech to troubling levels in terms of free speech and associational rights. Now the expression of political views in the presidential election has been added to speech that students have declared threatening. Someone at Emory chalked the name of Republican candidate Donald Trump around campus. Nothing unusual about that. Students often chalk up statements on sidewalks for causes or candidates. It would not be seen as in any way unusual and the next rain brings a clean slate. However, the statement of support for Trump has led to a protest calling for the supporter to be punished or expelled and for the President to express condemnation of such political affiliations. The students want a statement of support for Trump to be treated as the same as the writing of a swastika. The students have said that they feel threatened in the wake of the statements of political support for Trump.

Students organized immediately after seeing the statements of support and had a meeting with Emory President James W. Wagner to demand action. Students demanded to know “Why did the swastikas [on the AEPi house in Fall 2014] receive a quick response while these chalkings did not?” They were not happy when Wagner reportedly responded that that was a case of an outside threat. The questions reportedly became more pointed like “What do we have to do for you to listen to us?” One student demanded that Emory send out a University-wide email to “decry the support for this fascist, racist candidate.” To his credit, Wagner refused to denounce a presidential candidate. The students then demanded diversity hires into the “higher positions” of the University, including the Board of Trustees and the faculty in general.

What was particularly chilling is the demand for action on faculty members who have not publicly denounced Trump or his views under the view that “[Faculty] are supporting this rhetoric by not ending it.” This failure, the students insisted, have created a threatening environment and that “people of color are struggling academically because they are so focused on trying to have a safe community and focus on these issues [related to having safe spaces on campus].”

Wagner is reportedly preparing an email and has launched an investigation to find the culprit. University police are looking at security cameras. What will they do if they find some student with the incriminating chalk? Will she or he be expelled or disciplined or publicly denounced?

I have some obvious concerns about such action. My primary concern is whether this is the truly the first time in the history of Emory University that students or faculty made political statements on sidewalks. I doubt it. Would the same effort to hunt down the writers occur if the writing referred to Sanders or Black Lives Matter or Greenpeace? If not, this would seem a content-based effort that raises serious issues of free speech. Moreover, the expectation of some of these students that faculty should be pushed to denounce Trump like some Pol Pot reeducation camp is chilling.

I have written previously how free speech is under attack in the West and we appear to be raising one of the most anti-free speech generations in the history of our country. In the name of “tolerance,” we are treating free speech as the scourge of society and a right that must be carefully controlled to “protect” others. These students believe that political views are now within the gambit of threatening speech. We have come full circle from the sixties where baby boomers discovered political and social activism on campuses — a time of great upheaval but also great exploration. However now that students and staff are embracing a conservative, the desire is to have official condemnations and investigations. Trump has clearly generated both great support and great opposition. His views, however, (particularly on immigration) are shared by millions of citizens. Indeed, those same views are prevailing in part of Europe. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a passionate and substantive debate. Why not let all political flowers bloom on campuses? Rather than immediately seek to silence those with countervailing views, the first inclination should be to engage in the debate and value the exchange of ideas.

Before Wagner takes action, the faculty should at a minimum ask for the university to address how it has previously addressed chalk art and political statements. If all chalking is now going to be treated as an offense, will the university be distinguishing art but not political art? The problem with chalk crimes is, forgive the pun, drawing lines on what is prohibited or permitted speech.

What do you think?

Source: Emory Wheel

76 thoughts on “Emory To Identify Those Who Chalked Support For Trump On Sidewalks and Walls”

  1. Fudd….”emory boarding”. A two fer!!

    Add “memory boarding” ….they also want to erase all history. Idiots. Confederate memorials ought to mean a lot to them….they ought to visit them and say “we won”…instead they want them gone. Then what? What will they do then? I say emerory board them and memory board them…in a few decades who will know what they are talking about….then they’ll get the cookoos nest
    …for made up “feelings of persecution”.

    Crybaby 2016.

    1. J.

      It’s too late…at least in Pacific Northwest. H.S. grads from 20 yrs ago thought it was spelled “hystery.”
      Confused WWII with H.G Wells’ War of the Worlds. Civil War?? OSU vs UO football.

  2. Bunch of crybullies.

    And I find it hard to believe that there is anyone at Emory that is a Trump supporter. Much more likely to have been a ‘false-flag’ chalking by one of the more vocal special snowflakes.

  3. I am going to coin a new phrase here which pertains to dumb schmucks who run colleges with their own version of the American dream. No pun intended. The student can live at home or live on campus.

    Emory boarding.

  4. A mere year ago we would’ve been tarred and feathered for a lot of the comments made now, however, times have dramatically shited. Thanks to Trump, the middle class is taking back the country that has been stolen by those who’ve never fought, never bled, never worked, never suffered, never learned, never done anything real, and never paid. Some are even coat-tailing on Trump now, trying to save themselves, but everyone already knows who they all are. If Trump does not prevail, doesn’t mean the lost middle class will simply disappear into the landscape. You cannot stop a giant once awakened. Japan found that out the hard way. And all of Washington and the establishment thieves are about to, too.

  5. Judging by some of the comments here, it is not too surprising that African-Americans are somewhat suspicious of Trump supporters.

    1. I am actually a Hispanic Trump supporter!

      Love it when liberals want to save me until…

  6. Somethings said can be hateful…..but who is going to decide let alone shut the speaker up? These kids call it hate speech….that’s their opinion as listener. However do they also get to define “intimidation”? If the reasonable man standard is “trump 2016” as “intimidating speech” what do they do when they pass a billboard on the hiway? White knuckle? They want their safe space…..like a campaign message is a threat. “Intimidation” my .butt. Whiners. And excuse makers…..while many tax paying trump supporters give them student loans. Ungrateful little whiners.

  7. freedom is not just a question of individual liberty.
    it is question of tribal, or national autonomy
    the experiment in combining all these different peoples into one is based on the Enlightenment pretense that we are all the same, race does not exist, religion or ethnicity nor even sex matters.
    that’s a bunch of crap. we are all more different than the same. I think jefferson was just talking out of his backside. we all know were are all different. and some of us are more alike than different.
    keep on grouping white natives together and labeling us and we will throw off the enlightenment pretenses and get back to our own tribal ways. I have no problem with that.
    in the end I care more for my blood and my kith and kin, than a bunch of phony slogans.

  8. I think if they keep calling us haters at some point, we will be like that teenager who has been told he’s a bad kid long enough that he believes it. then it will be like that poem. its not there yet, but with all this trash talk against trump supporters, good decent folks, at some point you keep telling them they’re thought criminals, theyre just not going to give a damn what you say anymore. then it will be a totally different picture folks.

    by Rudyard Kipling

    It was not part of their blood,
    It came to them very late,
    With long arrears to make good,
    When the Saxon began to hate.

    They were not easily moved,
    They were icy — willing to wait
    Till every count should be proved,
    Ere the Saxon began to hate.

    Their voices were even and low.
    Their eyes were level and straight.
    There was neither sign nor show
    When the Saxon began to hate.

    It was not preached to the crowd.
    It was not taught by the state.
    No man spoke it aloud
    When the Saxon began to hate.

    It was not suddently bred.
    It will not swiftly abate.
    Through the chilled years ahead,
    When Time shall count from the date
    That the Saxon began to hate.

  10. if its going to be civil war, I know who’s on my side and who isnt.
    our regime of civil liberal rights has allowed for a certain measure of domestic tranquility–
    but its not the only possible form of civil society.
    if freedom goes out the door, there is only one choice and it’s be on the winning side.
    for us who are the victims of reverse discrimination, our skin is our uniform.
    we can’t pick sides, we’re stuck in this together.
    the whiners and cultural marxists may have money on their side.. and the lumpen….
    but do you remember what Mojo risin’ said in five to one? Thats right. we got em. Come one!

  11. If it wasn’t such an automatic process for students having even the slightest amount of discomfort to be provided an audience by a senior official these absurdities would curtail. It only encourages this type of wimpy behavior by constantly pandering to every demand.

    These particular students are not going to be able to tolerate a work environment or for that matter an adult life generally. Previously, and for some time, a large complaint by employers of university graduates are that they are wholly unprepared by the university for employment on many levels, and exhibit traits employers find lacking. If this type of intolerance continues to grow, it is not going to be helpful to these students.

    I suspect there is a very small, but highly vocal group that cannot contain their fears however.

  12. Chalk one up for the Donald. The mentally ill have done him a favor with all the complaining about the Trump Chalk. Chalk is cheap.

  13. Attempts to stifle and censor, plus a desire for authoritarian rules, seem to be common on both the “right” and “left” as they flee headlong from democracy.

    Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”
    Samuel Adams

  14. Paul C. Schulte
    ….A question…
    Did you see any of this kind of screwy behavior at the high school level when you were teaching?
    i.e., the kind of activity or mindset JT’s column describes.

    1. Tom – my students were too worried about where their next meal was coming from or where they were going to sleep that night. Of course, for some it was when they were going to hook up with their dealer. The were not concerned about micro-aggressions.

            1. Tom – NCLB has a tracking system, but the school, as such, doesn’t. They do, unofficially. I am still periodically writing letters of recommendation or being a reference for former students. Because of our set-up we were co-teaching college classes to our high school students on our campus. I taught several of them. This gave many of them the courage to continue on to college. We usually recommended community college first since they would get more hand holding and better tutoring services.

  15. US colleges are not free, but fascist.
    Freedom begins with speaking the truth.
    Today on college campuses it is forbidden to speak the truth.

  16. I believe you could make a very good case that chalking any of the major party candidates names anywhere is a chalk for fascism in the US! Frankly, they all scare me. Everyone of them hawks for the war machine and believes in the war on terrorisizing the American population.

    Chalk talk should begat more chalk talk! Adding fascist after the names Trump, Sanders, Clinton, Cruz etc. is just being honest.. I’m very creeped out that people are only supposed to denouce Trump. They should all be denounced! But denouncing has to be a choice.

  17. I recommend severely reducing funding for public colleges.

    They have strayed too far from their primary purpose.
    They clearly have too much money and too much time on their hands.

    Universitas delenda est.

    1. KCFleming – you need to both cut the funding and cap the cost of admission and fees (including books).

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