The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse’s Hate Response Team is responding to several reported incidents of Trump 2016 chalkings. Yes, you read that right. No, this is not The Onion.
On April 4, 2016, Donald Trump held a rally at the LaCrosse Center in LaCrosse, Wisconsin; the following day was the presidential primary that Trump would go on to lose. According to the UW LaCrosse student newspaper, The Racquet, the rally was a source of worry and concern for many students.
One student, Whitney Storvick, told the paper, “[Trump] has promoted and perpetuated hatred of Mexican Americans, African Americans, Muslim Americans, refugees, and women. I don’t want a president that stands for a small portion of the population.”
Yesterday, the university’s Hate Response Team posted the following on their Facebook page:
The Hate Response Team is aware of several chalkings across campus that promote Trump 2016, including messages like “Build the Wall,” “All Lives Matter,” and “Stop Illegal Immigration.” While we respect peoples’ right to express their opinions, we also recognize that some communities on campus experience these messages as discriminatory or hostile.
All manifestations of prejudice and intolerance are contradictory to our mission as a university. If you experience any bigotry on or off campus, please turn to trusted friends and/or campus resources for support. You can also file a hate/bias incident report here: https://uwlacrosse.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3WrBm5pLjwohB7C
Again, please remember that members of our Hate Response Team are here to support the individual and collective impacted by hate/bias and to stand up against all forms of oppression. In fact, we believe the university and all people of conscience must raise their voices in support of our university’s shared values of civility, inclusion and acceptance.
Although the university felt that phrases like “Build the Wall,” “All Lives Matter,” and “Stop Illegal Immigration,” are racist, none of these phrases are particularly discriminatory or hostile unless someone chooses to be offended by them. Border security and the ending of illegal immigration have been discussed or mentioned by presidential candidates in both major political parties.
Remarkably, the Hate Response Team encouraged students who feel threatened by statements such as those found in the allegedly pro-Trump chalkings to fill out a hate/bias incident report. Just what happens after such a report is filed is unclear.