Update to Chalking Policy

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dear Members of the Appalachian Community:

Last week, the Board of Trustees and Faculty Senate passed resolutions in support of underrepresented students on our campus. Both bodies did so in response to recent incidents on campus related to chalking on sidewalks, including near-physical altercations and expressions of worry about possible physical attacks. These incidents raised questions about what the university can do to increase student safety.

I am pleased to see strong demonstrations of support for our underrepresented students. The adoption of these resolutions sends a strong signal from our top leadership that Appalachian values diversity of thought, belief and community, and is committed to fostering an environment that is supportive to all.

It is clear from meetings and conversations that have taken place in the past two weeks in particular, that our university community wants meaningful, engaged dialogue around matters of race and inclusivity. It is within the context of these meetings and strong statements of support from our leadership boards that my cabinet has made the decision to revise the chalking policy, effective immediately. This policy supports our commitment to a safe and inclusive campus, and encourages interpersonal communication, which is key to moving our campus forward with meaningful dialogue.

This policy change applies only to chalking, and as such, is included in the facilities use policy. Violations of this policy will be consistent with all other policy violations. Students in violation may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. The university Physical Plant staff is charged with washing away chalked messages that violate policy.

It is important to note that free speech is encouraged on our campus, but not all speech that may be considered protected under state or federal laws is consistent with the university’s values and mission. University administrators can support free speech while also taking a stand against content that is in opposition to Appalachian’s values and mission. This policy change reflects our desire to do both.

You can read the revised policy on chalking here.

You can read the Board of Trustees resolution here.

You can read the Faculty Senate resolution here.


/s/ Sheri N. Everts

Sheri N. Everts