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QSU pickets, protests chalkings

Group hopes to reach wider student body with picketing

<p>QSU members and volunteers&nbsp;picketed at various locations around Grounds.</p>

QSU members and volunteers picketed at various locations around Grounds.

Volunteers and members of the University’s Queer Student Union held signs readings “we don’t stand for bigotry” around Grounds and passed out flyers with their message April 22.

The picket was held in reaction to negative phrases written in chalk around Grounds earlier in the week. According to the event’s flyers, after QSU chalked messages of inclusivity the group’s words were later erased, washed out and twisted from their original sentiment.

For example, in the message “we don’t stand for bigotry,” the word “don’t” was erased from the sidewalk by an anonymous person.

Second-year Curry student Brett Curtis volunteered for the event and held a sign on the steps of Old Cabell Hall.

“I was against everything that [the chalkings] said,” Curtis said. “It doesn’t represent what this school stands for and all of it was inaccurate.”

Shannon Khurana, QSU vice president for student activism, second-year College student and organizer of the event, said the majority of picketers were around the Lawn and Amphitheatre. Others were also placed at the scene of the negative chalkings in front of New Cabell Hall, Minor Hall, Thornton Hall and the Chemistry building.

“Our intention was to put people in the places almost exactly where those things were written to quite literally reclaim that space,” Khurana said.

Zoe Pettler, incoming QSU vice president of education and second-year College student, said the organization put out statements in the community following the chalking, but said those actions only reach the people already paying attention.

“We’re hoping that by putting people out in public in a bunch of different places where people can’t miss us that people who wouldn’t necessarily get this information will have access to it,” Pettler said.

Khurana said the QSU wanted to bring a human element and real dialogue to the situation.

“This is more than just chalk, these are more than just words on the ground [and] there are people behind the statements,” Khurana said. “We’re here to come out of the night in broad daylight to tell you here is the network of people to stand up for you if someone is trying to put you down. We don’t stand for bigotry.”

Curtis said it was important to get the correct information out in public and that the negative chalkings don’t represent University ideals.

“Minority students are loud [and] proud to be here, and they can’t continue to be disenfranchised, put down or hidden, so we’re trying to make sure that those voices are heard,” Curtis said.

The QSU’s goal is to create a more inclusive space and home for people at the University, Khurana said.

“We’re proud to come out here and put a face behind our words,” Khurana said. “One of my personal ethics is to always put your name behind what you say and that’s what we’re trying to do out here.”