MEChA & MiRA Host Meeting to Discuss Triton Day Chalking

Photo courtesy of an anonymous student.

A meeting on the racist graffiti written on the UCSD campus over the weekend was held Monday evening, co-hosted by Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) and Migrant Rights Action (MiRA). Held at the Cross-Cultural Center, the meeting drew approximately 200 students and faculty. The event aimed to “provid[e] a space for folks to come together, disccuss [sic], vent and learn about the incident” according to the Facebook event page.

Messages by supporters of Donald Trump appeared across campus starting around 10 p.m. Friday night, shortly before Triton Day was set to begin. Most notably, a provocative call for a border wall and mass deportations was chalked in front of the Raza Resource Centro. At the meeting, MEChA stated that some messages were washed off but then later reapplied. Multiple students shared stories of encountering the chalkers while volunteering at the Overnight Program for high school seniors.

Due to community guidelines established at the meeting, audio and video recording was not allowed, and those attending and speaking are not to be named.

Three main themes ran throughout the first portion of the meeting, which was a general discussion. Attendees discussed how the lack of diversity at UCSD affects both students of color and contributes to racist events of the past and present, as well as whether free speech is an acceptable defense, and its implications. Many in the room expressed their concern that the messages outside the Raza Centro were not regular political advertising, but written with the intent to create fear and discourage underrepresented students from attending next year. Attendees also discussed the tactics that should be used by campus activists–through the administration or outside it–to adequately and positively respond to the chalkings. The question of compassion, anger, and tolerance in the face of hate ran through many of the perspectives shared.

Chalk messages supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump for President began appearing on college campuses in late March. Early actions were encouraged by Trump campaign social media director Dan Scavino on Twitter, with the actions collectively dubbed “The Chalkening.”

The Cross Cultural Center hosted a similarly packed town hall meeting November 2015, when high-profile campaigns against campus racism at the University of Missouri and elsewhere gained national attention.

The UCSD incident has received both local and national news coverage. The message in front of Raza Centro was featured in a story about chalking incidents on Salon, published Monday morning.