Administrators at Appalachian State University (ASU) would prefer their campus remain free of chalk messages in support of Donald Trump, according to a statement issued to students Friday night.
In the letter obtained by The Daily Caller, ASU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Darrell P. Kruger declared the chalkings — discovered on Tuesday — a “threat to the ideal” of colleges standing as “beacons of acceptance and inclusion.”
“Recently, members of our community employed their power of free speech to create fear, hurt, anxiety and marginalization for fellow community members by chalking areas on campus with language that was divisive, non-inclusive, and in direct opposition to civil discourse,” Kruger wrote.
Though in the next sentence, the administrator said the North Carolina-based public university is all about free speech — within limits.
“Free speech is the bedrock of democracy and a cornerstone of any healthy academic institution; however, we must challenge one another to be respectful in discourse,” he continued.
While apparently reaffirming the school’s support for free expression, Kruger admonished students to make sure that speech “does not demean, vilify or attack the humanity of your fellow community members.”
“In a democratic society, we often experience a clash of ideas, but no one is ‘less than’ anyone else,” the ASU chancellor stated. “To attempt winning an argument by endeavoring to marginalize others kills intelligent discourse and is an affront to true democracy.”
The threat to ASU’s ideals came in the form of standard pro-Trump slogans written on campus Tuesday night by the group “Appalachian State for Donald Trump.” The messages scrawled were typical of #TheChalkening phenomenon in which students are encouraged to write messages such as “Make America Great Again” and “Build That Wall!” to show support for The Donald and/or protest campus political correctness. (RELATED: Trump Drawings Are Now The Great Campus Free Speech Battle)
The only ASU chalk slogan that set this incident apart from previous chalkings was the inclusion of a mark that read, “Bernie Wrote Rape Porn.” In the early 1970s, now Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wrote an essay which argued many women fantasize about getting raped. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders’ 1972 Essay On Sex: ‘A Woman… Fantasizes About Being Raped By 3 Men Simultaneously’)
A member of Applachian State for Donald Trump told The Daily Caller the school’s statement was an example of rank hypocrisy as administrators haven’t scolded protesters against North Carolina’s transgender bathroom bill, HB2.
“I think it’s absurd,” the ASU Trump supporter told TheDC. “The HB2 protestors at App were a threat to civil discourse, blocking streets, yelling profanities… Yet a few political views written in chalk (strongly protected by the First [Amendment]) is frowned upon by the university?”