Trump’s name strikes fear into Emory students
By NBP Staff | March 23, 2016, 14:08 EDT
ATLANTA – Donald Trump so upsets some students at Emory University that just the sight of his name scrawled all over the campus in chalk sent dozens to the office of President James Wagner on Monday, protesting that they felt intimidated and fearful, according to an email he sent out Tuesday.
The students, some carrying signs that read “Stop Trump” or “Stop Hate,” chanted: “Come speak to us, we are in pain,” according to the Emory Wheel, a student newspaper. “I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe,” the paper quoted one student as saying. The student added that because there was apparently a supporter of the Republican presidential contender on campus, she felt “afraid.” Some were reportedly in tears.
“After meeting with our students, I cannot dismiss their expression of feelings and concern as motivated only by political preference or over-sensitivity,” Wagner said in the message he subsequently sent to the entire Emory community. “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.”
Wagner promptly moved from the need to encourage the expression of ideas and debate to the need “to provide a safe environment” for those on campus. The students had cited “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.”
That prompted local columnist Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution to pen a “note” to Wagner and his students:
“Yes, Georgia’s presidential primary is over. Yet, while it might sometimes appear so, Georgia is not hermetically sealed from a discussion that continues elsewhere,” Galloway wrote on Tuesday. “Hillary Clinton has turned her head to the general election, and so has Donald Trump. Many others have as well. This is what happens when the field narrows to two likely candidates. You have an excellent political science department that will vouch for me on this.”
Writing for Reason.com, editor Robbie Soave chided both the thin-skinned students and Wagner:
“Some Emory students are so fragile, and terrified of innocuous political speech they dislike, that they immediately sought comfort from campus authority figures,” Soave wrote. “These figures, of course, were more than willing to coddle them.”
“No wonder so many non-liberal students are cheering for Trump – not because they like him, but because he represents glorious resistance to the noxious political correctness and censorship that has come to define the modern college experience,” Soave concluded.
In their response to the chalkings, the College Council and Student Government Association both vowed to “stand in solidarity with any Emory students who have encountered a lack of safety and support,” the Wheel reported. To that end, both campus organizations plan to open their offices Thursday to students who want to discuss the appearance of Trump’s name in so many places on campus.
As for Wagner, who earlier announced plans to step down in August, he intends to prosecute whoever was responsible for the chalkings, according to the Wheel. The paper said security camera footage is being reviewed to identify any suspects.
The school has a rule that requires students to get permission before writing on exposed surfaces in chalk, a procedure that apparently wasn’t followed in this case.
New York Magazine Daily Intelligencer described the investigation as a bad sign:
Referring to the school “using security-camera footage to track down and possibly punish students who expressed political speech,” the magazine said, is “a sign that something has gone seriously wrong.”