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July 28, 2016 Comments (0) Education News

Emory Students Protest Pro-Trump Chalk Markings

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(Photo: The Tab)

(Photo: The Tab)

Students at Emory University have been rankled by pro-Donald Trump chalkings peppered across campus. Around 40 students protested the administration building, arguing the university has not done enough to distance itself from all of these markings.

\”I\’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe. However this man [Trump] is being supported by our students on our campus and our administration implies that they, by their silence, support it too,\” one student said.

A writer for that website Decaturish, Dena Mellick, writes that some students compared the pro-Trump drawings to a previous incident when Emory students were jarred by swastika markings found on campus.

The university\’s president, James W. Wagner, initially said he\’d not release a campus-wide statement about the issue, but he changed his mind after ending up in upset students for an hour. \”I cannot dismiss their [students\’] 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 rather about values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory\’s own.\”

The episode has elicited backlash from critics who decry college students\’ increasingly hostile attitudes toward differing, often right-of-center points of view. Additionally, the incident bespeaks the overly fragile culture of political correctness that has taken root on college campuses, in which students expect not just to be educated, but resistant to opinions that may offend their worldview.

Clay Travis of FoxSports wrote a scathing piece denouncing Emory\’s students to get so riled up through the chalkings, and he mocked the creation of emergency counseling for students triggered by the pro-Trump scrawlings. Similarly, Robby Soave of Reason wrote a piece, albeit inside a more measured tone, criticizing the university\’s response and questioning the need for college campuses discouraging political speech, whatever its message. Any kind of political activity, after all, is inherently educational, he argues.

\”Still, if it\’s inappropriate to create \’Trump 2016\’ on the sidewalk of the university, surely it must be inappropriate to write the name of any candidate or major politician. And if that\’s the case, the straightforward fact should be that political expression is discouraged at Emory,\” Soave concludes.

Nonetheless, others characterize the pro-Trump etchings as an act of vandalism made to intimidate students of color, who view Trump like a kind of modern-day George Wallace. The Civil Rights-era Alabama Governor and eventual Democratic Presidential candidate?employed demagoguery, bombast, and fear tactics to whip up the American electorate in the wake of the civil rights movement. Indeed, a student newspaper reported that folks who wished to write messages on sidewalks must obtain prior approval in the administration prior to doing so.

The controversy at Emory isn\’t the only incident lately in which young people made headlines for clashing using the Trump campaign. Recently, university students, claiming their right to free speech, protested a Trump rally in Illinois, precipitating its cancelation. The activists invited a firestorm from critics who asserted these students do not have a right to shut down others\’ to free speech within the expression of their own.

The Trump campaign is increasingly a flashpoint for American students, and as?Trump’s delegate counts mount?toward a?Republican nomination, the?tensions seem poised to increase.

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