Emory University's administration responded to student protests over chalkings on campus this week
Charging that the drawings, which said things like “Trump for Pres” and “Vote For Trump,” left them feeling attacked, students demanded the university’s administration take action, reported the student newspaper, The Emory Wheel.
The Wheel says that 40 students gathered in an outdoor space on campus holding signs that included messages like “Stop Trump,” and chanted to the administration, “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!”
One of the protestors told the newspaper, “I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here]. But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school.”
University President James W. Wagner met with the students, answering questions about what actions he can take to appease their fears. Later, he told the student newspaper that the protests were a “mechanism for interaction.”
Wagner further outlined steps that he and the administrators planned to take to address the protestors’ issues in a campus-wide email, according to the paper, suggesting “immediate refinements to certain policies and procedural deficiencies; regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues; a formal process to institutionalize identification, review and addressing of social justice opportunities and issues; and commitment to an annual retreat to renew [their] efforts.”
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“This wasn’t ordinary campaigning,” Jonathan Peraza, a freshman student and a member of student minority group LatinAction told The Daily Beast of the drawings. “It was deliberate intimidation. Some of us were expecting shootings. We feared walking alone.”
The university further clarified, despite standing behind the anti-Trump protesters, that students are allowed to chalk on campus in limited areas, as it is a “protected form of expression.”
Students were still dissappointed by Wagner’s response, with Lolade Oshin, a junior at Emory, charging that the chalkings were “an act of violence.”
“Emory likes to sell itself as a school that is really devoted to diversity and inclusion, and it’s not,” Oshin told The Daily Beast. “If I’d known it would be this way, I would have gone to the University of Maryland and paid a quarter of the price to deal with the exact same issues I deal with here.”
Other professors on campus said students were being overly sensitive in regard to the messages.
“The administration doesn’t want some kind of explosion and they think they’ll avoid that by placating these students and patting them on the head,” political science professor Harvey Klehr told the site. “They’re living in a cocoon bubble, and the university is validating their fears. If these students are frightened by someone writing ‘Trump 2016’ on campus, they need to see a psychiatrist. I despise Trump, but Emory is not some fundamentalist school where white supremacists send their children.”
It’s no question that Trump’s rallies have inspired violence, with supporters physically attacking protestors at some of the GOP front-runner’s campaign events, and vice versa.
Of the protests, Trump charged that police should begin arresting defectors because they’re “violating all of us.”