In the article titled, "UW-L student concerned about free speech policy" (Thursday's Tribune), it was mentioned that last spring someone wrote on the sidewalk in chalk pro-Trump messages "Build the Wall," All Lives matter," and "Stop Illegal Immigration."

Eight students out of student body near 10,000 complained about the messages. (I assume the messages were spelled correctly and that wasn't the focus of their complaints.)

I can't think of any other reason that the messages could be offensive. but according to the University Research & Resource Center for Campus Climate, these messages were ... manifestations of prejudice and intolerance and were contradictory to the university's mission. They wrote: "While we respect peoples' rights to express opinions" (no, they don't, obviously) "we also recognize these messages as discriminatory or hostile."

I view that one, and maybe the most important, area of the university's mission is to develop critical thinkers.

Twenty years ago, I would have graded this behavior an F. I have the impression, based on the above evidence, that others now would grade it an A or a B.

I've been retired 20 years. Things change and not always for the better. Seems a lot of people suffer from "stinking thinking and need a checkup from the neck up" (Zig Ziglar). I do have hope.

David J. Gustafson, La Crosse

David J. Gustafson, Ph.D., is a UW-L emeritus professor.