A letter from the national organizations obtained and published Monday by the university's student newspaper, The Post, stated that members of OU Greek life were responsible for writing "Trump 2016" and "Build The Wall" on a wall meant for student graffiti. The students were not identified.
“This phrase is offensive and hurtful to many individuals as it is directly tied to the Hispanic/Latino/a community, makes them feel marginalized, and the message was interpreted that they do not belong at Ohio University,” the letter stated.
The letter, signed by the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Women’s Panhellenic Association, also said that the students involved would not face punishments because they were within their rights of free speech.
The Hispanic and Latino Student Union at Ohio University also held an emergency meeting to respond to the controversy, which the university's president attended.
"Indeed, this wall is a place of free speech and expression," Ohio University President Roderick McDavis told The Post. "However, the words painted were troubling because they had a very different meaning to some than they may have to others viewing the message or even to those who painted the message."
The Ohio University dustup follows incidents at other college campuses, including Emory University, where students said chalk writings of “Trump 2016” on campus sidewalks made them feel unsafe.