Last week, Emory University students were shaken to their very core when someone wrote “TRUMP” on the ground in chalk. After much wailing, the school is now struggling to prove to the world that is not afraid of chalk—though it will be an uphill battle.
Chalk is dusty menace and could ruin a white shirt or float into your eyeballs on the wind. Nevertheless, our young adults must learn to deal with this reality: chalk exists in the world. Denying that fact will simply postpone the inevitable. Sooner or later, in America, you can be sure that you will be faced with a piece of chalk.
Will you survive that challenge?
Though Emory students seemed to fail last week’s sidewalk chalk challenge by loudly proclaiming how scared it made them and thereby drawing ridicule upon their university from far and wide, others in the Emory community are now standing up for the cause of Bravery in the Face of Chalk. Inside Higher Ed reports that a student group named “Emory Young Americans for Liberty” made their own sidewalk chalk art of political candidates to prove a very important point: “This was about the right to chalk and the right to express opinions,” one of the chalk leaders told Inside Higher Ed, saying that the new political chalkings “show that students are capable of handling chalk and that we stand for freedom of expression.”
Emory students say they are capable of handling chalk. But is “the system” ready for it? In a groveling essay today that does its best to pander to all sides, Emory’s dean of campus life writes that “some of the chalkings on Emory’s campus were a violation of university policies, certainly not because of the content, but because the chalkings were done in unacceptable locations and without reserving the space.”
Okay—so “the man” doesn’t want you to chalk—big surprise.
Emory’s tuition is more than $45,000 per year. Is that enough money to teach a young person how to survive in a world in which chalk may appear in any location at any time—even without reservation? Only time will tell.
There is, however, reason to be skeptical that the task will be accomplished.