University washes away writing on the wall

Thomas Gleaton
Chief Copy Editor

Unlike the Republican Party, Troy University can wash away mentions of Donald Trump.

On Friday morning, April 8, editors at the Tropolitan discovered the second coming of #TheChalkening, a movement of students supporting Trump at colleges nationwide.

The Delta Chi patio was originally the only location marked by Trump supporters. However, on Friday, the Barnes and Noble patio, adjacent walkway and walls had been covered in multiple messages, such as “Trump for President” and “Hillary (Clinton) 4 Prison.”

However, the writings on the walls, which Trop editors first observed at 8 a.m., had disappeared by 10 a.m.

According to the Oracle student handbook, which outlines various Troy University policies, “Troy does not allow use of its facilities for any political campaigning, fund­raising, or other politically connected events, except those events specifically sponsored by Troy student organizations. Student-sponsored events must be approved by the Student Involvement and Leadership Office prior to activities being held in Troy’s facilities or on Troy’s campus grounds.”

Furthermore, organizations are not allowed to advertise on walls, “building exteriors, windows,” or have advertisements “put up in any place in a manner that defaces the surface used or makes the removal of the material difficult.” This includes vertical surfaces.

“According to our Oracle, in regards to advertising of events on campus, students are not allowed to use vertical walls, or any walls around campus,” said Derrick Brewster, assistant dean of student services. “We prefer them to use sidewalks.”

In fact, there is a punishment for chalking any walls. In February 2015, Sadaris Williams, assistant coordinator of student involvement and leadership, sent an email to student organizations instituting a $50 fine for the responsible party.

“The email to the student organization presidents was sent to merely educate our student body on the proper way to advertise their events on campus without defacing university property,” Williams said in an interview with the Tropolitan last year. “We are not looking to punish any organization or anyone.”

According to the email, organizations responsible for the wall chalking would also be required to clean it up within 24 hours of notification.

On Friday, however, one Tropolitan photographer noticed two employees of the physical plant washing “something” off of the sidewalk in front of Bibb Graves.

“I walked down to the bookstore and took several pictures on my phone of the Trump chalk,” said Holly Ammons, a senior graphic design major from Geneva. “While I was taking pictures, the two men, along with a golf cart and their cleaning supplies, drove up to the bookstore.

“They were looking at the Trump chalk on the brick divider where the ground level is split between the bookstore and Bibb Graves. I overheard one of them say something about not washing it off yet and coming back later, but I couldn’t make out exactly what was said.”

Ammons said that the men left when she left, but when she returned around 11 a.m., the chalk was gone.

Herbert Reeves, dean of student services, confirmed that the physical plant washed the chalk away and that this is not new procedure.

“The SGA had passed a resolution requesting that groups not write on the brick walls,” Reeves said. “The physical plant came through and cleaned the wall the day that it was apparently written on, as they have done for the last couple of years since the request was made.”

In the 2013-2014 year, the Student Government Association passed a resolution banning chalk from “brick surfaces” and presented it to university administration. According to SGA president Olivia Melton, Reeves was part of the approval process that led to Williams’ email outlining the repercussions.

Josh Slaven, grounds manager for Troy’s physical plant, said university police called them Friday morning.

“Our staff were sent to erase (the chalk) soon after, to clean up due to the language used,” Slaven said.

Both Brewster and Williams had not heard about the chalk before the Tropolitan contacted them. Williams said that they had not looked into the incident.

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