As students take to the Internet armed with cursors and enter keys to vote for the next class of Michigan Student Assembly and LSA-Student Government representatives, many candidates said they hope their chalk design will shine brightest on walkways throughout the Diag.

Paul Wong
Chalk advertising candidates for the Michigan Student Assembly covers the ground in front of the Michigan Union yesterday, two days before elections begin.

University students have learned a lesson in reading while walking during the past two weeks as their attention has been drawn to the chalkboard that once was their pathway to class.

Many students said that they knew the names of some of the candidates, but did not know what the candidates stand for.

The chalk ads on the sidewalks are a good way to get a candidate’s name out, but no actual information is being presented, some students said.

“Just because I see their name on the sidewalk, it doesn’t make me want to vote for them,” Engineering sophomore Krishna Putchakayala said.

Students said that the names of the candidates are mostly all that students receive from the chalking.

Yesterday afternoon there were more than 130 campaign ads chalked on the sidewalks between the Modern Languages Building and the Michigan Union – all with the names of only four candidates.

The chalk brightly displays instructions to “vote Blue,” “vote Student’s First” or even “vote for Dante, the disco inferno.”

In response to concerns by some students of the triviality of all the chalk talk, MSA candidate Stacie Perez said the ads in chalk are meant to spark the interest of those who want to learn more about the party’s platform.

Perez said most of her campaigning time is spent going door to door, where she said she gets a chance to explain her goals in detail and on a personal level. Chalk advertising is something she and other students do at night as a way of making their names well known, Perez said.

The University has very little regulations on the ways in which students may use chalk on University property, said Susan Wilson, director of the Office of Student Activities and Leadership.

The “Diag Policy” indicates that students are allowed to use water-soluble chalk on all University sidewalks and that the University is not responsible to remove anything, even if students report offensive markings.

The University upheld its free speech policy during one incident last semester when offensive slang toward blacks was chalked on University property. The University spoke out against the act, but did not make any action to have the offensive message removed, Wilson said.

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