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July 28, 2016 Comments (0) Educational institutions

Univ of Michigan Students Decry Pro-Trump Chalk Messages

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(Photo: Grant Hardy, Daily)

(Photo: Grant Hardy, Daily)

Students in the University of Michigan are showing their anger over chalk messages found on campus through the week in support of Donald Trump, inducing the police being contacted to handle the situation because?students reported feeling unsafe at school.

The chalk?writings,?based in the diag, a public square frequently being used by activists of many causes, included messages such as “Trump 2016,” “Build the Wall,” and “Stop Islam.”

\”This is really reflective of our student campus and the depths of racism and also the things that students of color need to endure which the administration is continuously silent on,\” Michigan student Banen Al-Sheemary told the Daily.

Al-Sheemary went on to state the university’s Division of Public Security and safety had not taken care of immediately the issue available, saying that nobody could be reached when called. ?The suggestion is made that a separate emergency number be made available to students other than the police, because?many students of color don\’t feel comfortable enough to make contact with local authorities such situations.

A number of students did contact the?American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee\’s Michigan Regional Office concerning “racist symbols and phrases” in the school. ?The advocacy group happens to be investigating the situation. ?Fatina Abdrabboh, ADC Michigan\’s director, said the group stands in defense of students everywhere, and they expect university officials to do this to ensure the campus is protected for all students.

She continued to say that her group had contacted UM officials in regards to the issue, writes Niraj Warikoo for The Detroit Free Press.

The statements had mostly been washed away by students after the week. ?Al-Sheemary said it was irresponsible from the administration not to take care of the situation themselves, adding that ignoring the messages perpetuates racism and stereotypes that result in violence occurring on campus, which cause students of color to feel unsafe.

The school’s administration issued an argument in response to the controversy, saying that while freedom of speech exists and students are allowed to write messages in chalk on campus sidewalks, “We\’re fully committed to fostering an atmosphere that is welcoming and inclusive of everyone. Tonight we\’re reminded there is much work yet to be done.”

As a public university, students have increased protection of freedom of speech underneath the First Amendment, reports Mark Hicks for The Detroit News.

School?President Mark Schlissel also spoke?to criticize?the vandalism, saying he was committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

\”Racial, ethnic or religious discrimination have no place at the University of Michigan. Targeted attacks against categories of people are hateful and serve only to tear apart our university community.\”

Officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations\’ Michigan chapter are disturbed at the trend that incidents such as this one seem to be reflecting. ?CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid said the audience is concerned these situations appear to creating an atmosphere in which students feel unsafe. ?The group is encouraging those who have information pertaining to the events to make contact with the university’s Department of Public Safety.

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