OSU campus gets ‘Trumped’

Trump side-walk chalk

Administrators say chalked messages targeted students

A series of chalkings occurred outside of several buildings and walkways around campus on Monday that supported the political candidate Donald Trump.

Steve Clark, vice president university marketing and relations, explained how some of the messages targeted certain religious groups and nationalities on campus. Some of the groups targeted included Muslims and undocumented individuals.

“We heard of these instances and some of these messages targeted people of other nationalities and immigrants,” Clark said. “The expression of these viewpoints is a form of free speech but any message that seeks to intimidate or threaten someone based on their faith, nationality or immigration status could hurt and degrade students or people who work or visit Oregon State.”

Several messages that supported the presidential candidate outside of an estimated 10 different instances and highly populated areas around campus including the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, Women’s Building, Memorial Union Quad, the SEC Plaza and the Native American Longhouse (NAL).

Authorized areas that students or groups on campus can chalk include any pathways, sidewalks or public places. Unauthorized areas include when a student or group reserved the MU quad, or the stairways, entrances and marble staircase according to Clark.

Luhui Whitebear-Cupp, assistant director of the Native American Longhouse, described the incident and explained why the chalking was removed.

“There was chalking outside of the center that said ‘Make America Great Again,’” Whitebear-Cupp said. “This was an unauthorized use of our space.”

There are approved ways to chalk messages around campus according to Whitebear-Cupp.

“I can’t say what the motives behind these actions were,” Whitebear-Cupp said. “But the ones I have seen around campus are an example of bias.”

Whitebear-Cupp believes that people should understand the underlying meanings of the messages they are portraying.

These chalkings do not express the opinions of the NAL according to Whitebear-Cupp.

“We identify as an inclusive space that represents a diverse group of indigenous people,” said Whitebear-Cupp. “Just because there was chalking out front does not mean we endorsed it.”

“There are certain steps you have to go through the university in order to do this,” Whitebear-Cupp said. “Especially when it involves one of the centers. Normally we would get notified that this was going to happen, but this time we did not.”

Clark clarified his understanding of the policy regarding chalking.

“The policy that I am aware of relates to the Memorial Union,” Clark said. “I do not know of a policy that exists out of place that occurs outside of the MU quad.”

According to an article written by Max Kutner in Newsweek there are several other instances of pro-Trump endorsement chalkings otherwise known as ‘The Chalkening’ on at least 100 other college campuses across the country including the University of Oregon. According to Kutner these chalk messages come from young Donald Trump supporters on college campuses, and is part of a bigger movement that stemmed from Old Row.

Donald Handeland, a student in Civil Engineering and Finance and the president of the Oregon State College Republicans, spoke to the unfair standard of chalking policy on campus.

“Everyone should be held to the same standard,” Handeland said. “Just because this is a statement made by students supporting a political candidate that some people don’t agree with does not mean that there should be different standards expression.”

Clark explained the university’s support for freedom of expression.

“This is a case where OSU supports free speech,” Clark said. “We support civic and political discourse but we oppose messages that seek to intimidate or threaten individuals based on their faith, nationality or immigration status.”

Clark explained the stance that the university supports.

“These messages are inconsistent with our values as a community,” Clark said. “We are working very hard to be an inclusive and safe learning environment, and we believe this is a practice all of us should contribute to.”

Clark also urged students who felt threatened by these messages to CAPs at 541-737-2131 or submit a report to the Bias Response Team at http://biasincidentreport.oregonstate.edu.

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