A student senator at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC) is facing calls for her resignation after she participated in an effort to place pro-Trump chalk messages on sidewalk throughout campus.
In their recent election, UTC’s student government was taken over by a progressive student coalition called Empower UTC, which has placed significant pressure on senator Hailey Puckett to resign over her involvement in the campus’ pro-Trump student movement. Empower UTC released a statement calling for Puckett’s resignation that claimed her values are inconsistent with the values established by UTC’s student government association.
“Tonight we’ve asked for Hailey Puckett’s resignation from SGA because we realize that her values do not line up with the pillars we’ve established ourselves on. We do not support bigotry or hatred or the messages spread by Donald Trump’s ignorance,” Empower UTC posted on Twitter.
— Joe Bastow (@BastowJoe) April 6, 2016
UTC’s new student body president, Phillip Stubblefield, tweeted Empower UTC’s support for the call for Puckett’s resignation: “We do not support the mission of those who wish to spread that ignorance. We do not support those who bask in that ignorance. We promised to represent you, and by you we mean everyone,” the statement reads. “We will not, however, represent those who support the oppression of others. We do not ask that you forgive or forget her actions, but that you start conversations…We ask that you spread messages of love and inclusion to everyone you encounter.”
After Stubblefield and the progressive student coalition began to receive backlash their attempts to censor Puckett, Stubblefield offered a retraction on Twitter, claiming that Puckett “was never being kicked out of SGA” and that he “would never ask someone to leave SGA just because we disagree on a topic.” He has switched his Twitter account to protected status, allowing only confirmed followers to see his tweets.
In a statement released by UTC’s student government association, they claimed that they never asked Puckett to leave her position as senator: “To clarify confusion regarding the call for resignation of a newly elected senator, the UTC SGA has not asked the senator-elect to resign from next year’s 2016-2017 senate.”