U officials may adopt policy to eliminate ‘distasteful chalking’

Emily Ayshford

Pastel chalkings advertising everything from student groups to anti-war messages on campus sometimes seem more prevalent than plain concrete.

“We haven’t really been dealing with it,” said Les Potts, grounds superintendent for Facilities Management. “But in the last few weeks it has gotten bad.”

Colleges across the country are adopting policies to regulate campus chalk use. This year, Minnesota State-Moorhead began requiring students to obtain a permit before chalking.

So far, the University has no policy regulating the use of chalk on campus but might adopt one soon, said Jennifer Rowe, communications specialist for Facilities Management.

“We’ve been directed by the University to come up with a policy,” Rowe said.

She said most chalkings have been appropriate, but the University wants a policy to deal with distasteful chalking. She also said it might include restrictions on where students would be allowed to chalk.

Potts said the University should limit the use of chalk around campus.

“When it gets where it detracts from the appearance or targets certain groups, that’s when it becomes obtrusive,” he said.

Rowe said Facilities Management has met with the Student Activities Office to discuss a policy.

Denny Olsen, student activities associate director, said Facilities Management asked his office to be involved so they could get input from student leaders. He said Facilities Management was more concerned with chalking sides of buildings than chalking sidewalks.

Olsen said the activities office wants to allow some chalking but also wants to support the “Beautiful U” campaign.

Potts said they usually let weather take care of the chalk on sidewalks, but they must use a pressure washer to take chalk off of the side of buildings.

Gregory Oschwald, a member of the Student Organization for Animal Rights, said he thought chalking was a good way for student groups to advertise.

“Chalking has been quite effective for us,” he said. Eight new students have joined the organization since they started using chalk, he said.

Oschwald said he would be upset if the University tried to regulate chalking.

“I think it’s a good way to express your views on a matter,” he said.

Potts said he also thinks students should be able to chalk around campus.

“Students need an opportunity to express their thoughts,” he said. “As long as it’s not offensive.”

Emily Ayshford welcomes comments at [email protected]