Emory Panel: Trump Chalkings Didn't Violate Rules

May 11, 2016

The Emory University Senate Standing Committee for Open Expression has issued an analysis of the recent incidents in which "Trump 2016" and similar statements were chalked on campus, angering many minority students and setting off a debate on free speech. The panel found that the chalkings were free expression. Further, the panel said that the complaints of some students that the chalkings were intimidating was not relevant.

"[A] statement like 'Trump 2016' is core political expression," the analysis said. "If any expression is protected under the [university's] policy, clearly this includes expressions of support for or opposition to candidates or their policies. This is true whether the statement is made honestly, ironically (e.g., 'Billionaires for Bush'), or with any other subjective intent. Therefore, whether the chalkings were made to intimidate or 'merely to advocate for a particular candidate' is not relevant to whether they are protected expression under the policy."

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