CMU Republicans receive backlash for painting conservative slogans on fence

The Carnegie Mellon University Republicans have become the target of hateful comments and vandalization after participating in an almost 100-year tradition of Painting the Fence.

The group painted a campus fence, adding conservative slogans, and was met with hundreds of hateful comments on social media.

A Republican club at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) recently faced backlash after participating in the Painting the Fence competition.

This competition is a CMU tradition dating back to 1923 in which student groups compete to seize control of a campus fence by painting on it. 

The CMU Republicans obtained control one day after painting conservative slogans on the fence, such as “Vote Republican” and “Save Our State,” thus sparking backlash from other students. 

Images of the Republican-seized fence were posted on an Instagram account dedicated to showcasing the fence’s current standing. As a result, students filled the comment section with over three hundred hateful comments.

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“Government overreach? How about how republicans are trying to reach into our f[******] uteruses to decide what we can or cannot do with our bodies???” one user commented. 

Another user said “bet they had to camp out for 6 days to force people to see this one.”

The fence was also vandalized after the phrase “the fascist against gay marriage and reproductive rights” was carved into it, according to pictures obtained by Campus Reform.

The carved phrase violates the tradition’s rules, as the fence “must be painted by hand with brushes; otherwise, it is considered vandalism.”

Matthew Kinkead, president of CMU Republicans, criticized the vandalization, saying, “It’s supposed to be a place where students can share messages that are oftentimes political or unpopular.”

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“Rarely does the fence get vandalized but so far it has happened every time CMU Republicans has painted it,” Kinkead told Campus Reform

In response to the hateful comments the club has received, Kinkead said it has been “incredibly disappointing.”

“Our primary goal as a club is to start conversations and promote healthy debate but many people, unfortunately, would rather sit behind their phone and attack us for advocating for our values,” he said. 

CMU Republicans also shared an official statement from CMU Provost Jim Garrett on its Instagram account.

The statement reads, “This instance of graffiti is inconsistent with our commitment to civic discourse and upholding the standards of our community.” 

Garrett’s statement also directed students to attend a live stream webinar called “Bridging the Political Divide” to better understand the “commitment to free expression.”

Carnegie Mellon University is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Campus Reform reached out to Carnegie Mellon University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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