Messages written in sidewalk chalk are common on colleges across the country, but students at Emory University in Georgia were ripped painfully from their “safe spaces” when pro-Trump chalkings appeared all over campus one morning this week.
Yes. Seriously. University students in the United States of America reported that they didn’t feel “comfortable and safe” upon being confronted with the handwritten name of a mainstream, popular candidate for president.
The Emory Wheel reported:
“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” one student said. “But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well … I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school,” she added. …
“What are we feeling?” Peraza asked those assembled. Responses of “frustration” and “fear” came from around the room, but individual students soon began to offer more detailed, personal reactions to feelings of racial tension that Trump and his ideology bring to the fore.
“How can you not [disavow Trump] when Trump’s platform and his values undermine Emory’s values that I believe are diversity and inclusivity when they are obviously not [something that Trump supports]” one student said tearfully. “Banning Muslims? How is that something Emory supports?” asked yet another.
Now, I dislike Trump as much as the next conservative, but for students to go crying to the administration and demand action when faced with seeing his name written on campus is insane!
The President of Emory, Jim Wagner, listened to the group of protesters and his response to the university community only indulged these coddled students’ craziness!
Yesterday I received a visit from 40 to 50 student protesters upset by the unexpected chalkings on campus sidewalks and some buildings yesterday morning, in this case referencing Donald Trump. The students shared with me their concern that these messages were meant to intimidate rather than merely to advocate for a particular candidate, having appeared outside of the context of a Georgia election or campus campaign activity. During our conversation, they voiced their genuine concern and pain in the face of this perceived intimidation.
After meeting with our students, I cannot dismiss their expression of feelings and concern as motivated only by political preference or over-sensitivity. Instead, the students with whom I spoke heard a message, not about political process or candidate choice, but instead about values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory’s own.
As an academic community, we must value and encourage the expression of ideas, vigorous debate, speech, dissent, and protest. At the same time, our commitment to respect, civility, and inclusion calls us to provide a safe environment that inspires and supports courageous inquiry. It is important that we recognize, listen to, and honor the concerns of these students, as well as faculty and staff who may feel similarly. …
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American college campuses are becoming so anti-free speech it’s scary. Case in point, watch this video of Yale University students signing a petition to repeal the First Amendment:
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