Some secret supporters of Donald Trump made their presence known at Winthrop University overnight.
Chalked messages in support of the Republican presidential frontrunner popped up around campus Wednesday morning, but were quickly removed by the Winthrop administration as unauthorized.
Several messages appeared on sidewalks, steps and walls, around Byrnes Auditorium and Scholars Walk. “Build the wall!” was written on the side of the Leitner Wall near Byrnes. Another punned “Trumpet Your Success” or, mockingly “Safe Space Here.”
A statue on Scholars Walk also had one of Trump’s signature red “Make America Great Again” hat.
Similar chalkings have sparked a strong reaction on other college campuses. Students at Emory University in Atlanta staged protests last month and called for administrative action after “Trump 2016” and similar messages were chalked on surfaces around campus.
Winthrop removed the messages, because chalked messages on campus must be authorized by the Office of Student Activities, said Ellen Wilder-Byrd, associate vice president for university communications and marketing.
“When students come to Winthrop, the expect to be exposed to different viewpoints, and we encourage and exchange of ideas,” Wilder-Byrd said. “But they also have to follow the rules.”
The university didn’t receive any formal complaints about the chalk, although Wilder-Byrd said it had generated a lot of social media chatter among students.
“One said, ‘I’m not going to react. That’s what they want,’” she said.