The Snowflake Students have now metastasized to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where a group of students has been deeply traumatized by seeing pro-Donald Trump slogans written in chalk in various places on campus. The multiple microaggressions occurred on Monday.
Here’s a screenshot of one taken from the New York Post:
And another from The Washington Post:
Well, all hell broke loose. As the Emory Wheel (the student newspaper reports):
Roughly 40 students gathered shortly after 4:30 p.m. in the outdoors space between the Administration Building and Goodrich C. White Hall; many students carried signs featuring slogans such as “Stop Trump” or “Stop Hate” and an antiphonal chant addressed to University administration, led by College sophomore Jonathan Peraza, resounded “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” throughout the Quad. Peraza opened the door to the Administration Building and students moved forward towards the door, shouting “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
They’re in pain! In pain! OMG, somebody soothe them!
It goes on, of course:
After approximately ten minutes outside from the start of the demonstration, the gathered students were ushered into the Quad-facing entrance to the Administration Building and quickly filled a staircase to continue their demonstration. Pausing in the staircase, a few students shared their initial, personal reactions to the chalkings.
“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” one student said. “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,” she added.
Let’s put it this way: if they’re going to feel afraid at seeing a simple political slogan—or even a name—no matter how heinous the candidate, scrawled on a sidewalk, then they don’t deserve to be in a decent college. And who ever told students that college is supposed to make you feel “comfortable and safe”? (“Unsafe,” of course, is the latest college euphemism for “hearing something I don’t like”).
The President of the University noted that the chalking was against university regulations (though similar chalkings for more liberal causes have not been punished), and that the perpetrators would be tracked down and fined. He also caved in to the students a bit:
Jim Wagner, the president of the university in Atlanta, met with the protesters and later sent an email to the campus community, explaining, in part, “During our conversation, they voiced their genuine concern and pain in the face of this perceived intimidation.
“After meeting with our students, I cannot dismiss their expression of feelings and concern as motivated only by political preference or over-sensitivity. 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.”
This is a president who is a master of euphemisms but not of the truth. Of course the students are expressing political preference and oversensitivity! And by claiming that Trump’s values clash with those of Emory, he’s feeding directly into the students’ feelings of entitlement. He should have just shut up and said that if students defaced school property illegally, they’d be punished, as would students who wrote “Bernie Sanders 2016” on the same spots.
Of course the President Wagner’s make-nice message wasn’t good enough. The students need (and will probably soon demand) institutional change to prevent this kind of freedom of speech:
Other students asked for improving diversity in the “higher positions” of the University, including the Board of Trustees and the faculty in general who should not be simply “diversity sprinkles” to improve statistics, as one student described it.
Grievances were not restricted to shortcomings of the administration. “[Faculty] are supporting this rhetoric by not ending it,” said one student, who went on to say that “people of color are struggling academically because they are so focused on trying to have a safe community and focus on these issues [related to having safe spaces on campus].”
“Faculty are supporting this rhetoric by not ending it.” Think about that. If you don’t censor speech, you are tacitly supporting it.
I used to think these students are going to have a hard time when they collide with the real world after graduation. But now I’m starting to think that they’ll eventually constitute the real world, at least in the US and UK. And if they do, then it truly will be an unsafe space.