President-elect of SGA at UTC has stepped down

A photograph of the chalk message that started the controversy. It was washed away by some students later in the night.

UPDATE: The president-elect of SGA at UTC has stepped down.


The nastiness that is front and center in the national presidential race is now on UTC's campus.

A UTC student government representative is receiving backlash for publicly showing her support for the GOP front runner.

She's being asked to resign from a political group because of it.

Chalk started this campus controversy.

The original drawings in support of Donald Trump used to be painted around the school's seal.

The drawings read, "Make America Great Again" and "Trump 2016," along with "Build a Wall."

Now, students at UTC are voicing different opinions in response to the chalk drawings.

"I felt like she was just exercising her first amendment right - freedom of speech. But, I think it's really been blown out of proportion. I'm not even a Trump supporter and I think it's kind of ridiculous what's going on here," said Alex Dockery, UTC Freshman.

"We understand that she can say what she wants to say and she can support whoever she wants to support, but as an SGA senator and a representative of your whole campus, you cannot spread messages of divisiveness and drawing a wall is just that," said Alese Taylor, Black Student Alliance Representative.

When Taylor and other members from the group saw the chalk drawing posted to Twitter, they headed straight to campus.

"We came down here pretty much immediately to pour water on it and get it away. We think it spreads just a message of divisiveness on campus and we want our campus to be seen as one of inclusion and acceptance of all races; of all ideas, religions, sexualities - everything," Taylor added.

UTC spokesperson Chuck Cantrell says the campus actually has specific chalking rules.

"We do have a policy where if you're going to chalk, we ask you to register and reserve a space. We don't ask you what you're going to say. We just need to know where you're going to be so the next person who comes along and wants to chalk, we can make sure that that person has a space as well," Cantrell said.

In this case, Cantrell says the member of "Empower UTC" did not have a reservation. But, Cantrell tells NewsChannel 9, he doesn't condone the actions from the Black Student Alliance.

"You're not allowed to deface someone else's chalking. We would prefer that they had asked for reservation spacing and chalked again," he said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the SGA sent an email saying they never asked for the student's resignation.

It was only the political party, "Empower UTC" that the student belonged to, that wanted her kicked out.

State representative Martin Daniel reached out to us after hearing about the chalked-Trump support on UTC's campus.

He says it's absolutely ridiculous and people should have a right to express themselves in any way they wish.

UPDATE: After Wednesday night's heavy rains, some Trump supporters expressed their support for the candidate using chalk on UTC's campus:

As the story spread nationwide, many Trump supporters reacted negatively on Twitter:

And SGA presidential candidate an Empower UTC representative Phillip Stubblefield released a statement:

UPDATE: At about noon on Thursday, reporter Lauren St. Germain caught video of students removing the chalk drawings in support of Donald Trump:

Social media outrage said this chalking calls for resignation and erasing violates freedom of speech.

UTC Political Science Professor, Michelle Deardorff said not so fast: " ... if it's students disregarding other people's freedom of speech or throwing water on something then no. That's just other people giving respect to different ideas."

She said where free speech comes into play is when a government entity like a public university, keeps people from expressing their views. Administrators say while they do have a chalking policy in place, now is not the time to reinforce it.

"Right now is a discussion about ideology among students and as a university we aren't getting directly involved," said Kirk Englehardt, the Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications at UTC.

"We decided that because we had something play out yesterday and today we would let it play out and move forward from there," said Englehardt.

UTC posted about the matter on its Facebook page, too:

Depend on us to bring you new developments as we get them.

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