The UWL College Republican’s Chair resigns over chalking backlash


Image retrieved from @uwldems Twitter.

Morgan Hose, Executive Editor

On Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 6:00 p.m., the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse College Republicans met at the Hoeschler Tower to write in chalk on campus sidewalks. In an email sent out to the UWL College Republicans members, it said, “We want to encourage you all to come and write about issues that are important to you.”

However, it was quickly made known through social media that members of the organization had written anti-semitic and homophobic messages in chalk on campus, and posted photos of these messages to the group’s Instagram account.

In a tweet on Twitter posted today, Oct. 12 at 4:03 p.m., by the UWL College Democrats, they said, “The UWL College Republicans proudly showed off chalking they did on campus last night. But we have to ask WHY? What purpose do these hateful chalkings serve but to offend others? Students should not have to tolerate offensive racist and anti-semitic hate speech on campus!”

In photos provided by the UWL College Democrats via Twitter, some of the chalkings contained statements that said, “Where’s our straight/cis night?” and “If gun control worked, explain Chicago.”

Soon after, Wisconsin State Representative Francesca Hong (@FrancescaHongWI) quoted back at the tweet and said, “Inciting violence and threatening vulnerable students is fucking cowardly. No one should be subject to hateful, racist or antisemitic threats on campus. UWL College Republicans must be held accountable for celebrating and encouraging violence. I urge @UWLaCrosse to act swiftly.”

The Wisconsin Democrats (@WisDems) tweeted today, Oct. 12 at 4:47 p.m., “Kanye West made a violently antisemitic social media post this week and now graffiti saying ‘Kanye is right’ has shown up on one of Wisconsin’s college campuses.”

The chalking in question was based on a tweet by rapper Kanye West that said, “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” To read more on this, click here.

The Racquet Press reached out to both the UWL College Democrats and the UWL College Republicans for a statement regarding the chalking and tweets.

The UWL College Democrats President, Grace Florence, said, “The chalkings on campus reflect hateful racist messaging that is dangerous and harmful to our community. Unfortunately, the leaders of the Republican Party in Wisconsin encourage this type of rhetoric and now are bringing this fear to our campus.  UWL Democrats feel offensive speech should not be tolerated, and we are very concerned with the recent events at UW LaCrosse.”

Today at 6:42 p.m., the UWL College Republicans Chair, Megan Pauley, sent out an email to all of the organization’s members that said:

“UWL College Republican Members:

As Chair of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse College Republicans, I was disgusted and appalled to see the actions some of our members took and then posted to the organization’s social media. I had no knowledge of the antisemitic chalk, nor of the social media post. I am resigning effective immediately because the Republican Party is a big tent, open to all who believe in liberty and freedom, and I will not stand by while others are ostracized. Antisemitism and hate speech have no place in the College Republicans, and I hope my gesture tonight will send a message to the remaining membership that actions like these are unacceptable.

-Megan Pauley”

The UWL College Republicans’ Instagram account has since been made private.

In an email to The Racquet Press, the UWL College Republicans and College Democrats Faculty Advisor, Anthony Chergosky, said, “It is not the role of a faculty advisor to micromanage a student organization, as the management responsibilities are those of the student leaders. As the faculty advisor, I believe the remaining members of the College Republicans should apologize and ensure that the person who wrote the message in question will no longer be involved in the organization. If they fail to take those actions, I will not continue in my role as faculty advisor for this group.”

In a statement sent out to the UWL community by UWL Chancellor Joe Gow, he said:

Dear UW-La Crosse community, 

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse leadership team and I are aware of the public conversation regarding recent chalking on campus and social media posts by and about student organizations; these messages have since been shared widely online.

It is UWL policy to provide all members of the university community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn. However, UWL’s leadership team and I are deeply disappointed to see students abandoning civil discourse and engaging in speech that promotes hate, is threatening, or that alludes to violence. Rather, it is the viewpoints that are reflective of critical thinking and intellectual honesty that are most becoming of the university community, and we expect no less from every individual in our community. 

While we support and uphold our students’ right to free speech, we also acknowledge the right of every member of the campus community to speak out in opposition to ideas they find offensive or harmful. We may disagree with one another, but we do so without harassment, intimidation, disruption of learning or other university activities, and discrimination. This is part of the robust and vigorous public debate, which is central to the purpose of the university. Encountering new, different or opposing perspectives can be challenging and uncomfortable, but should always be respectful.

If you are experiencing incidents of bias or hate, please reach out for support from the Bias Education and Support Team, and we encourage everyone to learn more about our First Amendment considerations.

For more information on our policy on civil discourse and free speech, visit 


Joe Gow, Chancellor

Dina Zavala, Interim Vice Chancellor of Diversity & InclusionKara Ostlund, Dean of Students”

The Racquet Press will be updating the UWL community as the story progresses.