Who is Responsible for the Chalk and Why it was Done

If you are on UNCG’s campus right now, you’ve noticed that there are a variety of messages, written in chalk on the ground. The authors of the individual messages vary. Anybody can write anything they want. Free the Campus did not write, nor do we endorse any particular message written on the ground, but the initiative to have free speech expressed through chalk was our doing. We asked many students if they wanted to write in large letters “FREE SPEECH” and underneath that “Write Anything” “freethecampus.com” Many of the students wanted to participate, so at 4:00 AM they met on campus to write whatever they felt like writing.

The opportunity to write is open to more than just those students to participate; in each area, sticks of chalk were left behind so that absolutely anybody is able to write whatever they feel like saying. The purpose is to give everybody a way of expressing themselves and speak freely on the college campus. Free the Campus does not stand behind any particular view written down, rather is in support of exercising free speech. Around 450 sticks of chalk were left behind scattered in the various areas, to give everyone plenty of opportunity to express themselves.

As I’ve said, Free the Campus did not control or instruct any individual to write any particular message. We believe that all voices should be heard, and instead of silencing those who disagree or those you find offensive, we believe in giving everyone a chance to argue their points of view. If you think an idea is bad, then instead of silencing it, engage in it and show why you think it is false. This website gives you an opportunity to do just that. Anybody can write an argument for any view here, and as long as it is well-written, does not contain personal attacks, vulgarities, or adult material, we will post it!

The goal is to allow all voices to be heard, and to engage in ideas instead of attacking or rejecting people. Free speech is not an idea that belongs to liberals, conservatives, libertarians, or any other group of people, but rather free speech is a human right that we can all support. So instead of getting upset or silencing others, take the chalk for yourself and write what you want to say. Write an argument for why your position is right, and publish it here so that others can see why they should agree.

Put your email on this site, to follow when new arguments are posted! Also, be sure to check out our free-speech t-shirts! We have something for everybody, and are coming up with more designs to post as time goes on! Be a part of the movement!

Author: Ryan Scarbel

Ryan Scarbel is the founder and Executive Director of Free the Campus, Inc. Ryan is a student at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who's passion is to promote free speech and challenge all ideas in search of truth.

4 thoughts

  1. I really appreciate your reply! I love the purpose of this organization – it’s important that people are able to express themselves freely. I agree that partnering with campus organizations and having face-to-face discussions would be incredibly valuable. Is there a way we could get this off the ground? It’s at least something really cool to consider!

    1. Thank you for your support! I was hoping to email some of the campus groups and see if we could collaborate. Some of the chalk messages gave Free the Campus a shaky start, but I think once people see what we’re actually about, they’ll be on board.

  2. Although this is a great idea on paper, in practice it doesn’t work so well. The people who are really interested in sitting at the table, so to speak, and having a conversation are the ones doing just that. They’re not the ones using the chalk. The people using the chalk are using it to write anonymous statements that they know will make people angry. Even if division and tension wasn’t the original purpose of the Free the Campus, that’s what’s happening on UNCG’s campus right now.

    The chalk is a vehicle for graffiti, which isn’t conducive to a conversation. Writing “Mental health is important!” is not going to get a point across, because there’s no one standing there to explain. At the most, someone will ignore it or be angered or confused by it. Writing “All Lives Matter” is not going to get a point across, because there’s no one standing there to explain. At the most, someone will ignore it or be angered or confused by it.

    If we want free speech on campuses, we need to foster actual conversation between actual students so we can all understand each other and the world we live in. 4am chalk graffiti is not how those conversations happen.

    1. Thank you for your input! We really value hearing how you think the conversation is best moved forward. Keep in mind, that in organizing this event, those who volunteered to participate were not told what to write, and all acted on their own accord. I have not personally read all that was written, however I would like to say that the event was open to all people, so that absolutely anybody could write anything. If there are views that seem to divide this campus when expressed, then I am in complete agreement with you that it is important to find a way to foster more actual dialogue. The purpose behind the creation of this site is to do that exact thing.

      I think it would be of great value to partner with various campus organizations, and host face-to-face meetings, where we can discuss important issues and our differences using reasoned conversation. We are not all as different as we tend to think; all of us want to see the world become a better place, we just don’t all agree on how to do that.

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