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Augustana Designates Sidewalk as "Free Expression Zone"

A sidewalk at Augustana College in Rock Island is now a "free expression zone." This morning, students used chalk to write "make America safe again" and "black lives are human lives," on the campus Quad. 

It was in response to an incident that happened earlier this week, when someone wrote offensive statements on several locations around campus. President of the Student Government Association, Charlie Bentley, says while the messages can be considered free speech, they can also be considered threatening and disrespectful.  

Augustana responded to the incident by designating a specific portion of campus as a "free expression zone." Secretary of the Student Government Association, Caitlin Slone, says students are allowed to write political statements, but not if they go against campus policy. 

She says there's a fine line between free speech and hate speech.

Slone says the "free expression zone" will be open through the rest of the campaign season, for Augustana students to write political or social statements.

Augustana College's new sidewalk chalk policy comes one month after the University of Iowa responded to a similar incident. Iowa changed its chalk policy after an anti-abortion group drew images on several campus walk-ways.