Professor destroys pro-Trump chalkings, brags on social media
- A professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington erased pro-Trump chalkings written by students on the campus, then bragged about it on social media.
- Prof. Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams received wide-ranging feedback to her posts, with some commenters thanking her for erasing the "hateful" messages, while others chastised her for censoring student speech.
- Abrams has claimed that several of the messages constituted "hate speech," but only provided pictures of standard "Vote Trump" messages.
A professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington erased pro-Trump chalkings written by students on the campus, then bragged about it on social media.
Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, an English professor at UNCW, took to Facebook to publicly brag about erasing the chalkings, posting photos of the messages after dousing them with water and bragging that she would continue to do so.
According to the photos, one of the messages that Abrams erased said “Vote Trump/Crooked Hillary is the establishment!!” while another simply read “Vote Trump.”
Several commenters on the posts questioned her reasoning, though others thanked her profusely for sparing them from the “hateful” messages.
“I understand that vote Trump is likely a cipher for more hateful statements,” one comment said, “but expressing a political opinion on a university campus is something we want, right?”
When another commenter questioned if anyone was countering her actions, Abrams responded that she “just defaced them all” and that she was “looking for chalk to add on if you’re a racist.”
Abrams stated that she would continue to carry water bottles around campus in order to “get rid of as many as possible.”
Another commenter, who said she is also a teacher, criticized Abrams’ methods as a missed opportunity, suggesting that she should instead have written her own messages in response.
“I don't think it’s a teacher’s job to censor,” the post asserted. “It’s your job to carry a piece of chalk to write questions/facts in response so that you can engage in a dialogue and educate.”
In response to those who accused her of censoring legitimate political speech, Abrams claimed that several of the chalk messages rose to the level of “hate speech,” erroneously implying that this constitutes an exception to freedom of speech.
According to Abrams, the phrase “Make America White Again” was included in some of the chalkings, as was “a representation of the Pepe the Frog meme which is synonymous with online white supremacist groups,” though she neglected to provide any photographs of either message.
Jessica Ortiz, Vice President of the UNCW College Republicans, told Campus Reform that she found Abrams’ actions both unprofessional and disrespectful, asserting that nobody from the CR chapter would ever consider their own freedom of speech to supercede someone else’s.
“I promote freedom of speech. However, as a professor on a college campus, to be...putting down and defaming the work of a certain student organization and certain political group of students is unprofessional,” she observed, reiterating that “to be washing away anyone’s work, regardless of status, is unprofessional.”
“[Neither] I, nor the UNCW College Republicans, would ever wash away pro-Hillary chalkings, because we respect different opinions,” Ortiz added, saying, “we demand the same respect on our campus from our fellow students, and especially from our professors and administration.”
Abrams, however, drew a distinction between traditional academic discourse and what she deemed the "racist content" of the Trump chalkings.
"I welcome intellectual discourse and work hard to foster dialogue between opposing points of view," she told Campus Reform. "But the racist content is in violation of the university's tolerance policy."
Campus Reform reached out to UNCW for comment, but was merely referred back to Abrams, who was described as "acting on her own behalf and not on behalf of the university."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice