And so the UA chalking rebellion of 2009 comes to an end — we hope.
The University of Arizona Police Department is in the process of dismissing charges against two students arrested and cited for drawing in chalk on campus in two separate protests.
Yesterday, Desert Lamp blogger and former Daily Wildcat columnist Evan Lisull was cited, detained and released by UAPD on criminal damage charges for his chalk art. Lisull was protesting similar charges against Jacob Miller, the graduate student arrested and fined for drawing in chalk in protest of the UA budget cuts and transformation at Thursday's Arizona for Education rally.
The Daily Wildcat supported Miller's initial protest right to free speech, and we fully back Lisull for making his own statement about the lack of accepted free speech at this university.
We believe these two chalk incidents and the general uproar that followed led President Robert Shelton to direct UAPD to ""avoid citing individuals for criminal damage for similar future incidents, and to refer students who appear to have committed similar acts to the Dean of Students Office,"" as reported in a statement by Paul G. Allvin, associate vice president of communications.
The Wildcat applauds the UA for dismissing the charges. It's clear that further arrests for something as innocuous as chalk art would have made the university appear not only petty and vindictive, but also downright hostile to peaceful and appropriate forms of dissent.
Furthermore, our university needs more students, such as Miller and Lisull, who truly care about the issues facing all Arizona students. What are our universities if not open forums for the exchange of ideas and information? Students with the guts to make their voices heard should be commended, not punished.
While we hope the free speech battle on the UA campus is really over for now, it's ridiculous that two students had to be arrested before the administration realized officials were out of line in the first place.
We hope the UA learns from this incident and realizes it's not constructive to detain or arrest a student every time he has something negative to say about the way this institution is run. Given the selective nature of these arrests, it truly seemed like students were being arrested for their opinions rather than vandalism.
UAPD was smart to drop charges against Lisull and Miller before UA students chalked up this entire campus.
— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Alex Dalenberg, Justyn Dillingham, Laura Donovan, Heather Price-Wright, Dan Sotelo, and Anna Swenson.