The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse College Republicans president Megan Pauley resigned last week after photos of chalkings made by members of the group were posted on social media. The post has since been deleted, as well as the post announcing the resignation.
Four of the chalkings included offensive phrasings, including “Where’s our straight/cis night” and “Kanye is right deaf-con III” in reference to Kanye West’s recent antisemitic remarks, which had West blocked from Twitter. Remarks on vaccines and gun control were also among the chalkings.
After the original posts were deleted, UW-La Crosse College Democrats responded in a tweet with photos of the four chalkings
“The UWL College Republicans proudly showed off [the] chalking[s] they did on campus last night. But we have to ask WHY? What purpose do these hateful chalkings serve but to offend others?” the post read. “Students should not have to tolerate offensive racist and anti-semitic hate speech on campus!”
UW-La Crosse leadership released a statement supporting students’ right to free speech, but also acknowledged the right to speak in opposition to ideas campus community members find offensive.
“[UW-La Crosse’s] leadership team and I are deeply disappointed to see students abandoning civil discourse and engaging in speech that promotes hate, is threatening, or that alludes to violence,” UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Row said in the university response.
The College Democrats of Wisconsin tweeted their stance and said, “Hate speech of any kind will not be tolerated and has no place on our campuses and within our society.”
In the tweet, the organization urged the students to be held accountable for the messages and for the university to take action against those behind the messages.
“Yesterday's antisemitic chalking at UW-La Crosse by our students is wholly disappointing and wrong. They may have the right to do this, but we should expect better,” said UW-System President Jay Rothman.
The news of these chalkings comes over a month after UW-Madison’s own instance of graffiti targeting the Jewish campus community.
The chalkings labeled Jewish student groups as “racist,” “genocidal” and “having blood on their hands,” according to a university release. It’s unknown who drew the messages found across campus on the first day of classes.
Chancellor Mnookin said she was “tremendously disappointed” to learn of the messages and how it is “critical that we refrain from targeting each other based on identity.”