May 12, 2002


Unknown chalkers spread message of possible hate (Sean Leslie, 5/07/02, The New Hampshire)
More than half a dozen messages written in chalk were discovered over the weekend on buildings, sidewalks and other locations around campus. Student organizations and other groups usually use chalk messages for advertising purposes, but the content of the messages found over the weekend has left some feeling uneasy.

Messages like "Abortion really tickles!" written next to a picture of a coat hanger, along with "It’s not rape if they’re dead," and "Pedophiles are people too" were found. There was also a sketch of a Swastika and "Osama = rad" among others that have been found on the side and back walls of the MUB, sidewalks on the way to the library, Philbrook dining hall and the upper quad.

Students reported seeing the messages as early as Saturday morning but Lt. Paul Dean of the UNH Police Department said that he had not received any complaints about the chalkings as of 11 a.m. Monday.

Dean said that the act of chalking itself was not illegal, and pointed out that many student organizations use chalking as a way to advertise their events.

"The chalking itself certainly isn’t a crime," he said. "You can pour water on it, and it’s gone. If it involves a hateful message, then it’s something [the UNH police department] would be concerned with."

Dean said that if the messages are deemed to be hateful and directed at a certain person or group, the UNH Police Department would begin an investigation.

According to [Vice President of Student Affairs Leila] Moore, the chalkings qualify as defacement of property and harassing and intimidating behavior, both of which are violations of the UNH Student Code of Conduct. She said that if any leads were discovered as to whom is responsible for the messages, UNH would press charges.

One of the defining features of the Political Correctness movement is its complete lack of any sense of humor, not surprising, since comedy is inherently conservative. These slogans sound more like somewhat inappropriate and intentionally inflammatory digs at the PC quality of the academic world than like serious statements of hate. Since UNH has apparently created a tradition of using the chalking of sidewalks as a kind of public forum, it's hard to see how they could prosecute someone just for saying something unpopular.

(via Volokh Brothers)

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2002 9:25 AM
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