UTC student government leader asked to resign over Trump chalking

A UTC student was asked to resign her student government association post after making pro-Trump chalk drawings on the ground.

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UTC whiners next in line to walk the chalk

photo An SGA leader at UTC was asked to resign after she allegedly created chalk drawings in support of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.

A senator-elect in UTC's 2016-2017 student government was asked to resign after she made chalk drawings in support of presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.

The move follows a similar kerfuffle at Emory University that began a national debate over increasing U.S. student demands for "safe spaces" at the expense of free political expression.

A group that calls itself Empower UTC released a statement on Twitter saying that it had asked for Hailey Puckett's resignation because "we realize that her values do not line up with the pillars we've established ourselves on."

Photos and videos on Twitter showed a group of students using water to erase the Trump drawings, then replacing them with messages espousing unity and diversity, while using the hashtag #BlackUTC.

Puckett's Twitter account was no longer available on Wednesday afternoon, but a screenshot posted by others showed her taking credit for the artwork.

Students' attempts to erase the pro-Trump chalkings and force Puckett's resignation drew both support and condemnation from around the U.S., with some decrying students' apparent attempts to censor the political views of another student, while others cheered the stand against what they see as a candidate who represents bigoted viewpoints.

A statement released by the UTC Student Government Association clarified that the school's student government was not itself calling for Puckett's resignation, rather it was the coalition of which she is a member that has asked for her to step down.

Chuck Cantrell, UTC's associate vice chancellor of marketing and communication, said though the university's administration is staying out of the debate, neither the student who created the original Trump chalkings nor those who later erased and replaced her chalkings with their own messages followed the school's rules, which require a reservation. However, "nobody's in trouble," he said.

"Clearly, we want our students to feel free to exercise freedom of expression, freedom of speech in a civil, respectful way, and that's really what we're hoping students will come around to," Cantrell said. "We're hoping that our students will recognize this as a teachable moment."

The next morning, the pro-Trump chalkings had returned, with bigger and more detailed drawings than the day before.

photo UTC students washed away pro-Trump chalk drawings and replaced them with messages that said "Black UTC supports unity."
photo UTC students incensed at pro-Trump chalk drawings washed them away and replaced them with messages that said "Black UTC supports unity."