Good thing today’s college students aren’t frequenting America’s suburban driveways or playground blacktops. Fanciful chalk drawings and scribbles are routinely found there — the handiwork, in most American towns, of the happy-go-lucky pre-K set.
But words or scribblings in colorful chalk are too much to take today, apparently. Last week, a group of college students at Emory University reported feeling “threatened” by a few chalk messages that were lightly scrawled on campus sidewalks. The messages said, “Trump 2016” and “Vote Trump.”
“We are in pain,” a student at the Atlanta, Georgia, college said at a March 21 protest rally, according to student newspaper The Emory Wheel. “I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school,” another student reportedly said.
[lz_infobox]Estimated cost of attending Emory for one year: $63,058
“I legitimately feared for my life,” a Latino freshman told The Daily Beast. Said another student, “Some of us were expecting shootings. We feared walking alone.”
And what do highly offended and pampered college kids do when they’re upset by colorful markings with benign messages? They skip class and protest — then get patted on the back for it.
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One student told Newsweek that during the rally, a university administration employee invited protesters inside to meet with President James Wagner. The student said, “President Wagner was very receptive. He listened very carefully.”
“The students shared with me their concern that these messages were meant to intimidate rather than merely to advocate for a particular candidate,” Wagner said in a statement March 22. “During our conversation, they voiced their genuine concern and pain in the face of this perceived intimidation … I cannot dismiss their expression of feelings and concern as motivated only by political preference or over-sensitivity.”
He said the school — apparently like other institutions of higher learning that are kowtowing to imaginary offenses — would be “taking a number of significant steps” to respond to the aggrieved students, including refining school policy and “creating opportunities for dialogue.”
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(At Emory last year, aggrieved black students came up with a list of demands, which included counseling for black students and an increase in the number of black staff, faculty, and administrators.)
Wagner told students during the meeting about the chalkings that the university would review security camera footage to try to spot the pernicious violators, The Wheel reported. The person or persons who scrawled the chalk messages could face conduct violations or even charges of trespassing.
Wagner addressed several questions in the meeting, including, “Why did the swastikas [on the AEPi frat house in fall 2014] receive a quick response while these chalkings did not?”
As if “Trump 2016” is on a par with swastikas?
[lz_bulleted_list title=”Political Leanings of College Freshmen” source=”Analyses of 141,189 full-time freshmen attending 199 U.S. colleges and universities http://www.heri.ucla.edu/”]33.5% liberal or far left|21.6% conservative or far right[/lz_bulleted_list]
A draft of a student letter to the administration obtained by the Washington Post says, “For some students, simply seeing the word ‘Trump’ plastered across campus brings to mind his many offensive quotes and hateful actions.”
Others, however, rightly question this. “They feel threatened or are in pain because someone supports Trump?” said Iowa resident John Brubaker, who has two grown children in their 20s. “You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m guessing they have no idea what real pain and threats are. This is what I take from it — they’re probably coddled, and definitely narrow minded. Trying to stifle opposing views by using the fear/victim card is cowardly.”
The Democratic socialists on campus beg to differ.
“This didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Maria Svart, national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, told Newsweek. “The context is that students at Emory have been protesting for months because they feel the administration and the institution — it is basically creating a hostile environment for students of color.”
[lz_bulleted_list title=”U.S. College Freshmen Say…” source=”2015 analyses of 141,189 full-time freshmen attending 199 U.S. colleges and universities http://www.heri.ucla.edu/”]They tolerate different beliefs: 80.6%|They’re open to having views challenged: 63.7%|Colleges should ban extreme speakers: 43.2%|Colleges should prohibit racist/sexist speech: 70.9%[/lz_bulleted_list]
College students will have no ability to handle the real world if colleges keep bowing to all their perceived slights. And American colleges look foolish — and less interested in providing the education they are being paid to provide — and more interested in student appeasement.
“Emory’s academic standards must be slipping,” noted Bill Melley, who lives outside Boston and is putting two kids through college.
The chalks wars, apparently, are not over. In the latest development, students from Emory’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter responded to all the agony on campus by creating a bigger and better pro-Trump message, Inside Higher Ed reported. The newest chalking at Emory shows a likeness of the GOP front-runner in his familiar baseball cap. And scribbled on the cap (in chalk)? “Make Emory Great Again.”