Trump 2016 Chalkings Were “Triggering” for Students
Emory University is offering emotional support for students offended by “Trump 2016” written in chalk on campus sidewalks, cementing this generation of college students’ place as the most sensitive in U.S. history.
Protests erupted last week after a series of messages in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump were chalked across campus. According to The Emory Wheel, student groups were outraged by chalkings such as “Vote Trump” and “Trump 2016.” Around 40 students gathered to protest the graffiti, marching in front of the university’s administration building. (Source: “Emory Students Express Discontent With Administrative Response to Trump Chalkings,” The Emory Wheel, March 22, 2016.)
“Come speak to us, we are in pain!” The protesters chanted. “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
The chalkings have sparked a debate of free speech on campus. These messages, the students argued, are “triggering.” Such microaggressions can be mentally traumatizing and violated their right to a “safe space.”
“How can you not [disavow Trump] when Trump’s platform and his values undermine Emory’s values that I believe are diversity and inclusivity when they are obviously not [something that Trump supports],” one student told the campus paper.
“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” another student explained. “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.”
Reaction to the students’ concern, though, has been less than kind.
“There are unconfirmed reports that a FEMA caravan was spotted traveling South on Interstate 75—with piles of baby blankets and crates of pacifiers,” Conservative commentator Todd Starnes wrote in a column for Fox News. (Source: “Students terrified by ‘Trump 2016’ chalk drawings,” Fox News, March 24, 2016.)
“[…] If the Republicans nominate Donald Trump—it could spawn an epidemic of micro-aggressions on university campuses across the United States,” writes Starnes. (Source: Ibid.)
“I so badly want to dropkick these kids into a place where there is actual pain and suffering,” Comedian Bill Maher told the audience on his hit HBO show Real Time. “What happened in this country?” (Source: “Maher Blasts Emory Students ‘Triggered’ by Trump: I ‘Want to Dropkick These Kids’,” Mediaite, March 25, 2016.)
The reaction on Twitter was even harsher.
— Neal Boortz (@Talkmaster) March 25, 2016
I should visit @EmoryUniversity. If the snowflakes were triggered by CHALK, imagine reaction to me! Students, get in touch if you’re keen.
— Milo Yiannopoulos ✘ (@Nero) March 25, 2016
Emory University President Jim Wagner later acknowledged the “genuine concern” expressed by the protestors.
“I cannot dismiss their expression of feelings and concern as motivated only by political preference or over-sensitivity,” he wrote in an e-mail to students. “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.” (Source: “Emory President James Wagner responds to campus chalkings,” Emory University, March 22, 2016.)
President Wagner vowed to launch an investigation and round up the pro-Trump graffiti artists, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, the university’s student government association is providing emergency counseling for students triggered by the “Trump 2016” campus chalkings. (Source: “Emory University Offers ‘Emergency Counseling’ After ‘Triggering’ Donald Trump Chalking,” Mediaite, March 23, 2016.)