Last Friday, I noted the ludicrous whining of some Emory University students over the fact that pro-Trump messages had been written, in chalk, at several places on campus. This, we were told, made said students uncomfortable and unsafe.
Resisting (and not by much) the urge to respond to this infantilism by just writing “WAAAAAAHHHHH, WAAAAAAAHHHH” and leaving it at that – confident most readers would agree with me, I mentioned, among other things, that:
The world is exploding, terrorism threatens western civilization, inner city crime is rampant. And these pampered little brats are having an apoplexy because someone likes Donald Trump?
Pathetic does not even begin to describe them.
But now there is more.
Ajay Nair, Emory’s senior vice president and dean of campus life (no, I didn’t make up that title) has put out a dissertation on the chalkings and what they mean to the university.
I thought you might like to see it – in rust, with my comments in blue. So here goes:
The Emory University community awoke on March 21 to “Trump 2016” and related messages chalked on walkways, stairways, building walls and other places across our campus. Anti-Trump protests followed. Free and open expression is strongly encouraged at Emory, so the chalked endorsements normally would not cause anyone to blink an eye. But, in this case, a particular set of circumstances created a flash point. Translation: 40 people demonstrated against Trump, and this caused us not to tell them to grow up and study for their tests, but to pretend their whining was meaningful in some way.
News media coverage and even our own campus dialogues have largely essentialized this incident into the right to free speech versus the need for students to be more resilient in coping with an often harsh world. Essentialized? Pure Ivory Tower BS. Some argue for the primacy of open expression at any cost, while others insist on the right to feel safe and unthreatened by certain expressions of free speech. In fact, the issues are much more complex, especially with the incident at Emory. No they aren’t. They are very simple: if you offend the left wing at a school like Emory you reign supreme. Freedom of speech is no match for PC.
Although the phrase “Trump 2016” in and of itself may seem innocuous to many, in the context of the important work happening on our campus to ensure that every student experiences a sense of belonging, the recent chalkings spurred students to enunciate their claim to an institution in which they can feel like invited guests. Did you ever see such convoluted BS in your life? Tell us Dean Nair, how do you figure students who support Trump feel about what you said here? A sense of belonging? Emory students from many backgrounds work hard to make our community better for all by raising our social and political consciousness around the many pressing issues of social justice. No they do not. Not if 40 loudmouth students can cause you to contort logic and common sense the way this nonsense does.
First, protest movements are encouraged and are alive and well on university campuses. Although we have much work ahead at Emory, we have made significant progress by coming together as a university community to address last fall’s demands by the Black Students at Emory movement. Having identified shared concerns, values and passions, we are now positioned to create a more racially just campus community. Ok, now we understand your idea of shared concerns, values and passions is to cave in to the Black activists.
The intensity, timing and anonymity of the “Trump 2016” chalking incident produced a tipping point. In the context of a college campus, we thrive on open and civil dialogue, inviting even the most controversial perspectives and remarks. The college setting is a laboratory where students may, for the first time, grapple with such issues. Those conversations by their very nature can be difficult and must take place in a safe environment that is inclusive and guided by mutual respect and civility. Amazing. This genius thinks that chalking “Trump 2016” is a tipping point for “the most controversial perspectives and remarks”. Simple support of a presidential candidate does this? How do you feel about the BDS movement against Israel, Dean Nair? Did you put out anything on that, or do you consider it far less significant that a few chalked slogans? Never mind, we already have your answer, don’t we.
This is where I get off. But trust me when I tell you there is a lot more mindless PC, couched in contorted clichès and garbled wordsmithing, where that came from.
Emory University is a far different place now than it used to be. And, sad to say, this is all too typical of today’s so-called institutions of higher learning.
With great sadness, I note that Emory is an example – again, I emphasize, one of a great many across the country – demonstrating how far the college experience has fallen.
With no bottom in sight.