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Will chalking be allowed at Texas A&M in the future?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TAMU chapter.

In August 2020, amid the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, George Floyd protests, and Covid-19, Texas A&M University banned chalking on campus. Now, almost two and a half years later, the conversations surrounding the colorful markings on campus have dissipated.

According to Texas A&M Today, chalking is “the use of a water-soluble substance, washable by water or rain, to write or draw on campus surfaces such as sidewalks or other areas.” It is a creative form of expression and is often used as a form of activism. People tend to artistically write activism hashtags in busy public places to spread the word about movements. Some popular activism hashtags include #BlackLivesMatter, #StopAsianHate, and #MeToo.

At Texas A&M, students previously turned to chalk art as a form of activism but also as a way to get the word out about events and share their support for Aggie sports teams. Campus locations, like the walkway under Wellborn, were known for being covered in chalk messages before the ban.

Texas A&M attributed the ban to the personnel and cost required to clean up chalk that wasn’t water-soluble. They also said, “During COVID-19 especially, the need to avoid diverting personnel from priority cleaning of classrooms and buildings is critical.” Despite this, some students speculated the ban was in response to the increased number of chalk art referencing the Sul Ross statue on Academic Plaza.

Sul Ross, whose full name is Lawrence Sullivan Ross, was a Confederate Army General, meaning he fought for the preservation of slavery. His history, combined with the recent police brutality against African Americans and Black people, sparked protests and chalking about the removal of the statue. So, when chalking was banned, some students felt like the timing was more than a coincidence.

The initial ban was made under former Texas A&M President Michael Young. Now that Covid-19 precautions have subsided, will current President Kathy Banks revisit the policy? Or will the ban on chalking reign permanent?

Howdy! My name is Sydnie Harrell, and I served as President and Campus Correspondent of Her Campus at TAMU for the 2022-2023 school year. Feel free to get in touch with me on social media.