Students returned from spring break Monday to graffiti urging them to support #buildthewall, vote for Trump and send presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to prison.
Chalk lined the sidewalks in addition to the walls of buildings, on trash cans and under covered walkways — all locations where chalk messages and drawings are prohibited.
“My first instinct was whenever I was walking around seeing it that it wasn’t a joke,” said Ethan Bruce, a sophomore computer science major. “But seeing some ones like ‘Trump is our lord and savior’ or ‘Trump for pres for life’ makes me think that it’s possible this is all some sort of elaborate practical joke.”
Here are some examples:
However, Bruce said he wouldn’t fully dismiss the chalk messages as a joke.
“There’s not a lot of Trump support on campus, but there’s a little bit,” he said. “On the other hand, if this isn’t a joke, then that means, assuming all the same people made all of these, they want him to be a dictator and think of him like some sort of God or demigod.”
On Monday, the university said it would clean the chalk:
@kelsi_duhon This was not approved through the Dean of Students’ office. Facilities has been informed and are working to clean it.
— UL Lafayette (@ULLafayette) April 4, 2016
However, the chalk remained. Students and passersby posed by the drawings, poured water on them and smudged the messages. Damaron Londo, a business major from Houma, said he believed Trump’s policies would damage the country as he rubbed “No Islam. No refugees. No terrorism” from the concrete.
“I don’t think it should be here,” he said.
On Tuesday, students discovered responses from another group. These messages accused Trump supporters of supporting racism, misogyny, homophobia and “bogus hair,” and ranged from simply adding “don’t” in front of “vote Trump” to drawing penises around the drawings.
A senior history major who helped with the response drawings and asked not to be named said this was a way of getting the drawings erased from walkways.
“Basically, we just thought the best way to combat hate would be with humor,” she said.
It all started with a simple request from Old Row, a website that prides itself as being “the authority on Southern Collegiate/Post-Grad Life” for fraternity/sorority members, following Emory University students’ dismay towards Trump chalk. A normal submission to Old Row is usually a picture of a girl sitting on a Yeti cooler or pictures of beer by the beach.
Whoever sends in the best campus chalking tomorrow gets a $100 Old Row gift card. Together we can Make Trolling Great Again.
— Old Row (@OldRowOfficial) April 1, 2016
And so the pictures flew from phone to social media. Cases were photographed at schools including but not limited to Mississippi State University, the University of Missouri, Bowling Green State University and Emory.
A photo posted by Old Row (@oldrowofficial) on
Louisiana universities where this has happened include Southeastern Louisiana University, Louisiana Tech University, Northwestern State University and Louisiana State University — in addition to UL Lafayette.
The university is quiet now, save for a few chalked arrows towards trash cans proclaiming the cans as “Hillary Clinton” and the occasional “Vote Bernie Sanders.” But what does this mean for college campuses — particularly UL Lafayette? Joe Shamp, the president of the university’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, said students should embrace their right to talk about controversial issues.
“We need more activism groups like Young Americans for Liberty, but not just right-wing groups like us. We need more left-wing group students for Bernie,” said Shamp, a sophomore pre-med and economics major. “We need more people doing stuff like this; like free speech where we’re talking about controversial stuff because we have the right as Americans to talk about this.”
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