The Tulane University Police Department raided a Broadway Avenue duplex overnight, arresting six students and seizing more than 30 pieces of chalk – including 18 pieces of the large Crayola ‘Sidewalk Chalk’ that police described as “high-capacity assault chalk.” Police also confiscated three Lee Greenwood CDs, a CD labeled ‘The Wall,’ an American flag, and a Bass-Pro baseball cap.
The arrested students will face charges of “possession with the intent to perform unapproved expressions,” a felony in the Tulane Handbook of Student Conduct. They are being held in Lubyanka Hall, the new Department of Student Life headquarters, pending trial and conviction.
The possession of high-capacity assault chalk carries a minimum sentence of 5 years jail time, a $3,000 fine, the attendance of 288 New Orleans Zephyrs baseball games, and 2 years of sensitivity training.
Valerie Blokhin, the Director of Student Life who identifies as a gay Irish-Asian male lumberjack from Namibia, issued the following statement today:
“Last night, we were able to prevent a potential terrorist attack on our beloved campus. Freedom of speech is our most basic right, and we must protect that right from racist, homophobic, capitalist, heteronormative, misogynist, meat-eater expressions that would do great harm to everyone on campus. We do not want an emotional, textual bloodbath on Tulane’s campus on par with what happened in Paris or Brussels.”
Blokhin said that classes have been cancelled this week for all students who feel traumatized by the bust and the potential that the event could have occurred.
Campus Police also sent out a text message reminding students to stay vigilant and to download Student Life’s new ‘Cheka Your Privilege’ app, which Blokhin described as “a great leap forward for safety.”
The app lets students report suspicious behavior, update their gender identities on the go, find the closest ‘safe space,’ and receive up-to-the-minute trigger warnings. It also allows Student Life to continuously monitor a student through the GPS, microphone, and camera on his, her, his-her or her-his smartphone.
– Winston Smith contributed to this article