Alabama Atheists and Agnostics Get Publicity for Chalking Incident

Last month, the Alabama Atheists and Agnostics group chalked their university with info about upcoming meetings… only to have it all erased by some unknown culprits.

They re-chalked. It got re-erased.

This cycle and the reaction to it earned the group lots of great publicity. And now, they’re able to spread their message to a larger audience:

[AAA president Sam] Arnold said AAA’s mission has two parts.

“We want to create a social hub for secular students,” Arnold said. “We also want to increase awareness and acceptance of nonreligious worldviews in the UA community.”

Caitlin McClusky, a sophomore majoring in anthropology and a member of AAA, said she joined to be with people with similar views.

“I’ve been agnostic all my life, and I’ve been in Alabama all my life, and it’s been pretty hard,” McClusky said. “It’s really important to have something like this in a university setting and have discourse on this. People need to know it’s okay.”

AAA’s first speaker of the year — Professor Kevin Kukla summarizing the history of Creationist arguments — is this Sunday.

Here’s hoping they draw a capacity crowd.

  • Daniel

    So.. if someone who wants to say something about an upcoming religious event gets their info erased, it’s religious discrimination. But if someone who wants to publish something about an atheist event does the same thing, it can be erased and no one can protest..
    Who would say.. in the land of the free..

  • Ferk

    Real life example of the Streisand effect.

  • http://oscargecko.blogspot.com Oscar Gecko

    Freedom to express yourself is a good thing. So long as it is done right. The chalking was a publicity stunt to begin with. It was not allowed by the university. However, it worked.. it has gotten them on the news.

    But, is this any worse than the “hard core Christians” (for lack of a better word) that defaced the FFRF’s billboards? I think, in both cases, they were wrong for their actions. But, kudos goes out for the publicity stunt working.

    The chalking was erased the second time by Ferguson Center housekeeping, according to Donna Lake, the event coordinator for the Ferguson Center.

    Lake said the chalking was erased the second time because of failure to follow the chalking rules outlined on the Ferguson Center Web site.

    “Every day somebody chalks out on the plaza, and we have to hunt them down and tell them to come and clean it up,” Lake said. “No chalking is allowed on that area, not at all.”

  • Edmond

    What the…? Oscar Gecko, how is chalking anything like defacing a billboard? Vandalism does not wash away in the next rain!

  • Mark C.

    The Kansas State University freethought group, of which I’m a member, has also had some vandalism of our chalkings. It’s a shame… we don’t go around doing the same to those of other groups.

    As far as guest speakers go, we had Dan Barker last semester, and for sometime this school year, I and maybe a couple other members are going to try to generate interest in having Matt Dillahunty, of the Atheist Community of Austin, come.

  • http://oscargecko.blogspot.com Oscar Gecko

    @Edmond
    Chalking is not permanent, but it was against school policy. (Or at least, that was what the university web site said…)

    Right or wrong, it was a publicity stunt that worked.

  • muggle

    If this chalking is against school policy, then what’s the gripe about it’s being erased? Really, I think it was wrong to make an issue of it.

    Yes, publicity, but, frankly, pubicity that taints our images and reinforces certain negative stereotypes…

    Not a good thing. Seriously, I don’t think they thought this one through.


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