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Pro-Donald Trump graffiti at UC San Diego sparks debate

Donal Trump

Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Rome, N.Y.

(Mark DiOrio / Observer-Dispatch)

Some students at UC San Diego expressed outrage this week after finding anti-Mexico and pro-Donald Trump sidewalk graffiti on campus on the eve of a schoolwide celebration.

The chalk writing was discovered Friday night close to the Raza Resource Centro, where Latino student groups hold meetings and events. The incident was the latest in a number of pro-Trump graffiti episodes at universities around the country.

Included were messages like “Build the wall,” “Deport them all,” “Mexico will pay” and “Trump 2016.”

On Monday, a statement from UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and other top administrators was posted on the university’s website.

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“This graffiti runs counter to our campus values of equity and inclusion,” the statement read. “We value diversity and respect for all cultures. UC San Diego is steadfast in the commitment to our Principles of Community, which reflect a collective dedication to a campus where we uphold each individual’s right to dignity, justice and respect.”

According to the UCSD College Democrats Facebook page, the graffiti was the work of three to five men on the night before the university’s annual Triton Day, when new students are welcomed for a campus visit.

On Tuesday, the group posted a message of unity.

“Efforts to divide us as a campus and community are a disgrace, and they will fail,” the post read. “We condemn the graffiti scrawled on the ground of UC San Diego this weekend — the hateful, harmful speech of a few — and stand united with all San Diego communities in support of opportunity for all young people.”

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The Facebook page for College Republicans at UCSD also posted a comment Tuesday, stating it was not involved in the incident.

“While our club does not support any candidate in particular, we believe that freedom of expression is an integral part of our democratic process as it fosters the free exchange of ideas and allows individuals to develop their own views,” the post read. “While our club as a whole may not agree with the views expressed this past weekend, we support everyone’s First Amendment right to speak their mind.”

Patrick Velasquez — co-chairman of the San Diego Chicano/Latino Concilio on Higher Education — a coalition of faculty, staff and students from higher education facilities throughout the county — said UCSD’s statement did not go far enough.

“Our organization feels that it’s a symptom of a larger problem, of a negative campus climate,” Velasquez said of the incident. The chancellor, he added, should have committed to examining that climate and the role it may have played in the incident.

Similar pro-Trump graffiti has appeared at 100 college and university campuses, according to media reports.

The Twitter hashtag #TheChalking collects photos and stories about pro-Trump graffiti, which has been found at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Emory University in Atlanta and many other campuses.

At Ohio University, several Greek Week activities planned for April were canceled after “Build the wall” and “Trump 2016" were painted on a wall.

gary.warth@sduniontribune.com

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debbi.baker@sduniontribune.com

Warth and Baker write for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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