Sidewalk chalk creates a stir on campus

The derogatory chalk writings took place by this statue outside of Nazareth Student Center. Photo credit Jeremy Barket.

Jeremy Barket
Staff Writer

During the week follow­ing Marywood University’s fall break, a derogatory phrase poten­tially offending certain groups of people was found written in side­walk chalk near a statue by the Nazareth Student Center.
A campus wide e-mail was sent out to all students, mentioning the incident and how it goes against the values of respect that Mary­wood University teaches.

Essentially, the e-mail stated :‘Anonymous, hateful expression demeans our educational expe­rience and undercuts our Uni­versity’s core values of respect, empowerment, service, commit­ment to excellence, and Catholic Identity.’

Furthermore, nobody should just stand idle as it happens. You are urged to take an active role in being civil, respectful, and appre­ciating differences of others. The e-mail was sent out by Dean of Students, Amy Paciej-Woodruff.

The sidewalks were being decorated with chalk for Home­coming 2010. Because it was so close to John Lennon’s birthday, there were also writing of song lyrics by the late musician. Ad­ditionally, there were a few writ­ings relating to the most recent baseball season. Unfortunately, someone who is still anonymous, wrote the offensive phrase amidst the other writings. There were no witnesses as to the perpetrator of the crime.

A possibility of the incident is that while the sidewalks were being written on for homecom­ing, a piece of chalk that broken off could have been used to write the phrase. The phrase was writ­ten in approximately a one by one foot space and was found the next morning.

Although any advertisement used on campus must be approved before they can be posted, there are currently no policies for what could be written on the sidewalks in chalk. It only makes sense however that anything which tar­gets a specific group of people in a negative way is not acceptable.

In a recent interview, Mrs. Pa­ciej-Woodruff and the chalk writ­ing incident is not something she is taking lightly, nor should any­body else in the Marywood com­munity. By preserving the core values of Marywood University, we are expected to be “respect­ful of students and welcoming to everyone,” Paciej-Woodruff said.

Marywood University re­sponded quickly and effectively by cleaning off the phrase from the sidewalk shortly after discov­ering it that morning.

The Marywood Community is saddened by the incident. If you were offended by the phrase, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Amy Paciej-Woodruff.

Enhanced by Zemanta