Pro-Trump messages popped up at campuses all over the country this weekend as part of a movement dubbed “The Chalkening.”
Inspired by the outrage over similar messages discovered at Emory University in late March, The Chalkening was encouraged to strike back against college political correctness, according to the frat site that helped encourage the effort. (RELATED: Is It Now A Hate Crime To Support Donald Trump On A College Campus?)
Old Row, a self-described “lifestyle brand that incorporates comedy, sports and culture in the southern college and post grad scene,” offered a $100 gift card for the the best chalk message last Thursday, and fans enthusiastically took up the challenge. (RELATED: #TheChalkening: American Campuses Covered With Pro-Trump Chalk)
But the site didn’t want to take all the credit for The Chalkening.
“We can’t really take credit for The Chalkening,” an Old Row staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Daily Caller. “It was really started by several political commentators including Lauren Southern after the ‘outrage’ at Emory and Michigan when student groups chalked Trump 2016 on campus. We simply made a fun contest out of it which seems to have taken off.”
Old Row said that there have been confirmed pro-Trump chalkings at least 106 campuses. Most of the schools — such as Clemson University, Duke University and the University of Florida — that have been marked are in the South, but there’s also reported cases at such far-away bastions of liberalism like the University of California – Berkeley.
The website moderator said that there was no coordination on the effort and it was an entirely grassroots affair.
“There was no coordination other than our initial bounty of gift cards for the best chalk art submitted with the tag #TheChalkening, in fact the chalk didn’t even have to mention Trump. The movement was entirely grassroots after that,” he told TheDC.
The anonymous staffer said that not everyone at Old Row supports Donald Trump, but they all oppose “political correctness and outrage culture.”
“We hope it opens a dialogue about the suppression of ideas on college campuses and gives students the courage to voice their opinions, whatever those may be,” he said of what Old Row hopes to see out of the chalk effort.
While the staffer said submissions in the chalk contest came from a diverse range of college students, there was a pronounced presence of apparent fraternity and sorority members supporting Trump through chalk art.
“Greek life may have taken after Trump so well because of the pressure that the PC Police and administrations have put on Greek life in the last 10 years,” he said of many fraternity and sorority members taking to The Donald. “Students are sick of the PC police on campus telling them what to think, criticizing everything someone does, being offended by everything, and taking away the traditions of their organizations.”
The response to The Chalkening from left-wing college activists has so far amounted to hysterical outrage and calls for administrators at colleges — such as the University of Kansas and the University of Michigan — to investigate the pasty marks. Activists at Emory have even issued extravagant demands in response to the chalk marks, which include urging the school’s president to write “terse” letters to both Trump and Ted Cruz saying they’re not welcome on campus.
The staff at Old Row, however, was unfazed at the response to the effort they spurred.
“We saw lots of comments about transferring schools, a few calls for violence against Trump supporters (which we reported to police), but nothing spectacular,” the unnamed staffer told TheDC. “It seems the Chalkening made a lot of people that were on the fence step back and realize how silly outrage culture has become, and that is really fantastic.”
They particularly found the accusations that the chalk marks were forms of “racial intimidation” particularly egregious. The staffer believes the outrage is unfortunately a part of the larger phenomenon of American colleges no longer tolerating different points of view.
“The fact that writing the name of the front-runner of a major political party during an election season could even be considered ‘racial intimidation’ shows how absurd outrage culture has become. This is simply thought oppression that is happening on campuses all over the country, which is really sad,” he said.
“College is supposed to expose you to a wide variety of ideas, especially ones you disagree with.”