- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2016

Emory University President James W. Wagner chalked his own free speech message onto a campus sidewalk after students protested over pro-Donald Trump messages that they said threatened their safety.

Students had petitioned the administration to denounce the pro-Trump chalkings that began appearing throughout the Atlanta campus last week, saying the possibility that fellow students could support Mr. Trump made them feel unsafe at school.

Roughly 40 students carrying signs such as “Stop Trump” and “Stop Hate” protested outside of the Administrative Building last week, chanting “You are not listening! Come speak with us, we are in pain!”

Some students went so far as to disrupt a board meeting to ask that Mr. Wagner “decry the support for this fascist, racist candidate,” Campus Reform reported.

On Friday afternoon, however, Mr. Wagner gathered on the quad with students from Emory’s Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) to discuss the university’s commitment to the First Amendment. A video posted on YouTube showed the university president using a piece of chalk to write, “Emory stands for free expression!” on the very same sidewalks where “Trump 2016” was written, Campus Reform reported.



Mr. Wagner had initially said the school would review security-tape footage and potentially discipline the students found to have written the pro-Trump messages. The Emory administration also issued an official response condemning the chalkings as representing “values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory’s own.”

Alex Reibman, YAL chapter president, said he appreciated that Mr. Wagner came out on the side of free speech.

“We [were] doing this to reaffirm Emory’s commitment to freedom of speech and expression,” Mr. Reibman told Campus Reform. “By no means would writing Trump in chalk ever be considered so severe that it could be considered harassment.”

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