To Ensure That College is A Safe Environment, Campuses Must Take Action and Listen to Students Who Feel Targeted.
For a candidate who sticks to such vague rhetoric, Donald Trump has a clear reputation in the minds of supporters and detractors alike. He repeatedly insults and scapegoats entire groups of people, including Mexicans, Muslims, women, refugees, Chinese people, disabled people, LGBT people and the poor, which altogether accounts for a majority of people on Earth. Trump’s ideas have no place on college campuses that are trying to increase diversity and empower disadvantaged groups, because his campaign consists mainly of the idea that taking and keeping power away from minorities will make America great again.
Trump’s message evidently resonates with David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, and white supremacist organizations like the American National Super PAC and the American Freedom Party, who have endorsed Trump. Trump responded only with feigned ignorance about their politics, followed eventually by lukewarm disavowal after heavy media criticism.
Supporters absolutely understand the threat a Trump presidency poses to minorities, and use his name and rhetoric to intimidate them. News outlets as varied as NBC and Breitbart have reported various high schools, especially private, predominantly white ones, chanting “Trump” and “Build a Wall” at sporting events against rival, predominantly Hispanic teams. Most of these kids cannot vote, showing it has less to do with the actual election and more with the new acceptability of racist rhetoric in the mainstream.
The sight of security escorting out protesters remains commonplace at Trump rallies. In Las Vegas, Trump stated his desire to hit protesters and has encouraged attendees to do it for him, promising to cover legal fees. An attendee in Fayetteville, North Carolina was charged for assaulting a protester on their way out, and videos at other rallies show similar responses. No other candidate’s rallies facilitate the violence, coercion, and rage that Trump’s do.
Feeling unsafe seems like a reasonable response to anonymous peer support of a man who incites violence, and when students honestly voice these feelings, calling them oversensitive does not fix the problem, it only further disenfranchises them. College is about exposure to new ideas, but bigotry and discrimination are not new ideas to any minority student, and they inevitably learn them their whole lives on campus and off. Constantly making this conversation about free speech derails the actual dialogues that happen in response, like student-organized protests.
— THOMAS FINN Senior Staff Writer
Top-Down Authoritative Measures to Eliminate Trump Protestors Will Not Address Root of National Problem.
The rise of student-led political groups supporting Donald Trump for president has led to a series of counter-protests from students who condemn Trump’s discriminatory policies, such as one at University of Illinois at Chicago that resulted in “fights inside the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion and in the streets outside” after Trump cancelled his appearance due to safety concerns, according to The Guardian. While it is easily arguable that Trump’s policies have encouraged violence and bigotry, it would be ineffective to silence these groups since they will continue to exist in the world outside of college. If education is supposed to prepare students for the real world, then creating a safe space without Trump supporters will ultimately fail to ensure college students can adequately handle ugly truths such as racism and bigotry.
In addition, simply shutting out speech we disagree with is not an effective way to counter political groups. Denying Trump supporters the right to protest ignores the fundamental reason why freedom of speech exists. As Obama noted in a 2015 interview, “free speech is to make sure that we are forced to use argument and reason and words in making our democracy work,” according to nymag. In other words, we should be forced to think critically and rationally as to why we disagree with Trump’s views. We should not just blindly silence Trump supporters without even making an attempt to understand or comprehend them; rather, we need to refine our arguments to counter their views in a comprehensive manner. This means creating student-led protests that peacefully and intelligently refute Trump’s views, not reacting violently or forcefully.
Instead of going to a higher authority figure and convincing them to shut down a rally we find disgusting, we as students should lead the fight in protesting against such bigotry and racism. An administrative solution (such as forbidding any pro-Trump language) would fail to convince any undecided students that pro-Trump sentiment is inherently racist and discriminatory. Furthermore, student-led solutions have consistently had longer-lasting effects, largely because students have protested and convinced many of their peers. The responsibility therefore falls to us as students, not the administration, to protest discrimination and bigotry in whatever form it may take both on and off our campus.
— NATE WALKER Staff Writer