Trump chalking strikes again at Michigan
One week after students at the University of Michigan called campus police to report pro-Trump chalk messages, another round of chalkings has taken place, but this time with both sides taking part.
MLive reports that students awoke Thursday morning to find messages including “No Turkey, Qatar, Saudi, Pakistan,” “No more Muslim violence,” “Fuck SJWs,” and “Trump 16” written in white chalk on several concrete benches on campus. In response, anti-Trump students engaged in some chalking of their own, expressing support for Muslim students as well as crossing out the “Trump” in one message and replacing it with “Drumf.”
The original chalkings—which featured slogans such as “Stop Islam,” “Trump 2016,” and “Build the Wall”—were washed away by offended students after police declined to intervene, though university President Mark Schlissel later issued a statement condemning the chalkers for making some students “feel threatened and unwelcome.”
“I want everyone at the University of Michigan—those hurt by yesterday’s message and others who have expressed similar concerns in association with other events—to know that I am committed to fostering an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of everyone, free from threat or intimidation,” Schlissel said in response to the first incident.
“The right of free speech, especially speech that wounds, will sometimes create pathways that seem almost impossible to navigate … [but] I am convinced that we have the ability to come together to engage in meaningful dialogue on difficult topics that is enabled by our deep commitment to respect for all.”
The school’s Central Student Government also addressed the issue, according to The Michigan Daily, passing two resolutions Tuesday night affirming students’ right to religious expression and declaring the campus a “safe space” for immigrant students.
“A lot of the students I’ve talked to have been traumatized by this event. They don’t even want to leave their homes to go to class,” explained student representative Samer Alkhalili, who introduced the measure. “At an institution like the University of Michigan, which prides itself in the core tenets of diversity, it’s unacceptable that we’re choosing to abstain from taking part in this conversation.”
The Muslim Students’ Association contributed an op-ed in The Michigan Daily Thursday thanking those who have supported them through the ordeal, but added that the latest round of chalkings shows that “there is a lot of work yet to be done … [as] we seek to root out actions, both internal and external, that center around excluding groups on campus and turning them against one other [sic].”
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