Chalk graffiti targeting undocumented, LGBTQ+ communities seen on Sproul Plaza

Jackie Mitchell/Courtesy

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Update 09/20/17: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff.

Phrases written in chalk such as “Illegals, ICE is coming” and “They’re called Dreamers for a reason” were spotted on Sproul Plaza late Monday night.

The graffiti also included included phrases such as “Build a wall, deport them all,” “ANTIFAGS” and “Abortion is genocide,” according to photographs posted to Facebook by ASUC Senator Alexander Wilfert. Chalking on UC Berkeley property is not allowed at any time and is a violation of campus policy, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff.

ASUC Senator Juniperangelica Cordova-Goff said she was not in Berkeley when she was first notified of the graffiti, but she arrived on campus soon after finding out about the messages to help wash the chalk off Sproul Plaza. She was joined by several other students, and the group spent about half an hour early Tuesday morning erasing the graffiti, she said.

Cordova-Goff added that she sent an email to UC Berkeley Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell after midnight Tuesday, alerting him of the presence of the chalk messages on campus.

“I think they were trying to intimidate us. … This was intended to make people uncomfortable,” Cordova-Goff said. “But I’m also really proud of the students that came out (at) 1 a.m. to wash off the chalk.”

UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich said in an email that UCPD received a report about 11:16 p.m. Monday of a hate incident. At the time officers responded, however, there was no hate speech chalking visible, according to Reich. Reich added that the photographs posted online of the graffiti messages do not appear to resemble what was reported to UCPD.

UC Berkeley has seen instances of anti-LGBTQ+ chalking in the past. In August 2016, chalk graffiti advocating the “straight liberation movement” and a “straight-only safe space” appeared on parts of Telegraph Avenue and Sproul Plaza.

“These messages go against everything we stand for as a community,” Ratliff said in an email. “Every member of our community should be treated with respect and should feel safe and valued here.”

Harini Shyamsundar is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hshyamsundar.