Some students are expressing their political opinions by chalking university property.
The chalk appeared earlier this month on the concrete wall outside Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center. There was also chalk on the north side of the pavilion, the sidewalk between Draper Hall and Cokesbury Court Apartments, and by Loeffler Science and Mathematics Center. The chalk focused on presidential candidates Donald Trump, R–NY, and Bernie Sanders, I–Vt.
The university’s chalking policy requires that LaVetra Ray, assistant director of student activities, approve all chalking. Chalk is only allowed on sidewalks and is prohibited on all other surfaces, including building exteriors, furniture, patio cobblestones, and outside dormitories.
Students may not chalk anywhere within 20 feet of building entrances.
“It’s unfortunate,” Ray said. “It’s vandalism. We can police these groups, but we don’t know who it is.”
Ray said she encourages any students who know who is doing it to inform the students they shouldn’t because there are consequences.
Individuals or organizations who break the policy are subject to a $200 fine and are required to clean the area with power washers provided by the facilities department. Ray also said it’s a dean of students issue if they get caught because it would be disciplinary.
Dr. Amy Ayres, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, was unavailable Friday for comment.
Ray works with housekeeping to get the chalk cleaned up in a timely manner.
“A lot of new students are coming on campus, and it’s a bad impression of the university,” Ray said. “It’s the last thing we want them to think OCU is like.”
One student said the chalking is disrespectful.
“Even though it’s freedom of speech and whatnot, there should be a limit, and chalking the university itself should be the limit,” said Evie Simons, political science junior. “You don’t know how people are going to respond to things like that.
By chalking with the purpose of expressing your political beliefs, it’s disrespectful not only to the university but to those who have to read it, especially if they disagree with it.”