Type to search

Opinion Top News

Chalk should not be used to share opinions

Netley is a sophomore pre-pharmacy major and can be reached at jared.netley@drake.edu

We’ve all seen them around campus; they’re kind of hard to miss. No, I am not talking about the new street signs, but rather the chalk wars that cover the sidewalks. Before I continue, let me make clear that the intent of this article is not to voice an opinion on abortion, but rather to explain the inappropriateness of using the sidewalks as a medium to debate the issue. Just the other day as I walked from Cline Hall to Cowles Library, I counted seven incidents of this chalky feud.

Why is this matter such a pressing issue that it should be addressed in the school paper? We are not fifth graders anymore. If you want to have a debate on a subject then hold a meeting! Don’t fight it out over chalk. I haven’t had recess since fifth grade, so playground time is over. Secondly, Drake is a nationally recognized university that plays host to a wide variety of important guests. Last Thursday afternoon we had Robert Reich on our campus. It isn’t professional to see “graffiti” lining the pavement that he had to walk on. Lastly, think about when you visited campus for the first time and what you were personally looking for in a university. Weren’t you looking for a community-like atmosphere? Should we really give off the impression to guests and prospective students that Drake plays host to a hostile community in which everyone is compelled to stress over personal beliefs?  There are many more pressing issues first at hand, like studying for your first chemistry exam.

Let’s be a little more mindful of what we say before we say it, or write it in this case. And think about how from an outside perspective this immaturity could be viewed.

Let’s keep the chalking for publicly announcing events on campus and not sharing personal opinions. The sidewalk isn’t any different than the “posting areas” we have around the buildings on campus.

Sure the rain will wash it all way soon, but will Dr. Seuss ever forgive us for using the “Who’s” as a metaphor for an embryo? Let’s keep it classy Drake and leave the chalk at the playground.

Previous Article
Next Article

You Might also Like


  1. Nicole September 13, 2011

    Yes, you are very mature. Voicing your opinions and views on an editorial page is much more reasonable. I bet a whole 50 people might read it! However, I bet thousands of people read their message.

    Maturity isn’t always effective. Sometimes, you have to yell to have a voice.

  2. drake respect for life September 13, 2011

    You are very right, what happened was immature. I think your ideas are great, however I would like to show you how it was meant to go. Drake has a registered organization called Drake Respect for LIfe, and we are affiliated with state and national groups.We collaborated with Drake’s St. Kates students to do the chalking. As a registered group we are allowed, and even encouraged to share our group’s beliefs’. One form of this is through chalking; we chalk our ideas just as the other specialized groups on campus. There are messages about racism, homosexual rights, and religion written on campus in chalk from time to time. We took the opportunity and RIGHT that we were given to spread our messages, just as other groups have done. We had permission to chalk, however the naive, and rude, person who rebuttled in chalk form did not. They are the immature ones, becuase they have access to any of our email’s, and I would be MORE than glad to meet with them and discuss any issues they have regarding our chalking. I am willing to discuss abortion, and women’s rights, thats why I am a part of this group! You see, that’s the thing about Drake’s student body. No one is courageous enough to come to the source of the problem. No one has enough guts to just TALK about things. All the students just demoralize whatever they don’t like on campus, go on face book and make a derogatory statement about it, or they just talk crap about it. No one wants to get anything done! I openly welcome debate and argument, but what this person did was beyond that. They sought to make a mockery of other’s views which not only violates our personal rights, but our constitutional. The Drake Respect for Life group and St. Kates organization are not the immature ones; its the others who are afraid to face the issue in person.

    1. Interesting September 15, 2011

      We have to be a registered group to have first amendment rights? I’m not sure a response is any more or less cowardly than any original post, particularly if they’re expressing their opinion, just as you were. If you want chalked responses, chalk quotes on the sidewalk. If you want an honest discussion, host a forum.

      P.S. Pointing out that Dr. Seuss was pro-choice does not violate your personal or constitutional rights.

      1. drake respect for life September 19, 2011

        We have hosted forums, and even had one already this year. Somehow I didn’t see you there voicing your opinions, nor the person who wrote all the prochoice messages back. There was ONE pro choice member in that room and he was not a student, faculty, or alumini. He had the guts to come to talk about his views, no one else does, including our infamous pro choice chalker. I would love to see them there and voice their opinions in person, but I know the pro-choice people are all too cowardous, and have never come to any of our forums.

  3. Drake Alum September 13, 2011

    I always think it’s interesting how this issue brings out such strong reactions in people. Pro-life chalkings are graffiti? Out of curiosity, are the pro-choice chalkings also graffiti? How about chalked statements from Drake Dems or College Republicans? Or what about Rainbow Union’s Parade of Doors? Those are all campus-wide statements made by organizations with an agenda. These chalked phrases are no different.

    They were meant to engage the entire Drake community and get people talking and thinking about an issue that’s uncomfortable. It looks to me like it was a success. And if I were a visitor or prospective student, to me, those chalked dialogues would look like the work of a group of “engaged citizens,” not immature graffiti artists.

  4. Kate September 13, 2011

    Shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t we use chalk to express our beliefs? More people saw the chalked quotes and rebuttals around campus than likely even read the Times-Delphic. There were more conversations heard around campus started by that than by any event or class discussion in recent memory. I haven’t before seen students take pictures of posters espousing a view, but last week people were taking pictures of the sidewalk. Chalking the sidewalks at Drake, like at many universities, is an incredible way to spread messages and, apparently, start discussions.

    Drake does not exist for prospective students, and the day we begin to cater to them over the education of current students, we should no longer be a university. The purpose of Drake is not mainly to impress “important guests” or future potential Bulldogs. Education does not stop at the classroom door, and we cannot become responsible global citizens unless we are willing to host and engage in challenging dialogues, in any medium. And for the record, as a prospective student I would have loved the chalk quotes. It proves we have a campus that cares.

  5. This School Must be amazing! September 13, 2011

    Hey Jarrod,

    Is this really the issue that the Journalists write about at Drake University? Do you have nothing else to talk about so you tell people they shouldn’t use a lawful way to present their beliefs because your poor soul was forced to look at them and maybe others might have to walk by people’s beliefs? If anything I think it’s awesome that it was so visible and forced many students all around campus to engage in talks about the issue.

    Sure there are many other ways to make thoughts public but I think it’s pretty obvious that this is what captured the student body attention. So if it took writing on the sidewalks to do so then bravo!

    I’d also like to point out the contradiction with the article –
    “It isn’t professional to see “graffiti” lining the pavement that he had to walk on”
    later on you say –
    “Let’s keep the chalking for publicly announcing events on campus…”

    All in all, this article seems to be simply attacking someone who decided to voice their opinion most likely because you disagreed with it so you resorted to low blows, such as personal attacks, and called chalking “graffiti” and later said it should be used for advertising.

    I just love the irony of a journalist trying to quiet down someone voicing their opinion in a way that obviously caught a ton of attention.

    I also will be surprised if this comment is even approved but if a journalist is truly a journalist they would let anyone’s opinion be voiced, including this one.

    Concerned Student

Skip to content