Students at Emory University claim they were frightened and ‘in pain’ after someone wrote ‘Trump 2016′ in chalk around campus.
Officials at the Atlanta school, which has an enrollment of more than 14,000, were forced to act after the youngsters claimed their ‘safe space’ was violated when the messages of ‘hate’ appeared on sidewalks and buildings.
Jim Wagner, president of the university, wrote Tuesday that the students viewed the scrawling as intimidation, and they voiced ‘genuine concern and pain’ as a result.
He set up an investigation after members of the student government wrote to him and slammed the university’s response, prompting a meeting that was shrouded in protests.
Now administrators want to track down those responsible for the controversial markings, as they admitted they went against the university’s ‘values regarding diversity’.
But some commentators on the university’s student newspaper website told those affected by the so-called ‘hateful’ graffiti to grow up and accused them of being babies.
After the chalk markings started to appear, student organizations offered counselling to anyone who may have been impacted by what they had seen.
Wagner sent a letter to the student body earlier this week, in which he said students confronted by Trump’s name in chalk ‘heard a message about values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory’s own.’
Emory’s student newspaper, The Wheel, said Wagner outlined four steps that administrators plan to take in order to address the issues raised by the protesters.
They reported that the students this week chanted, ‘You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!’ shortly before Wagner agreed to meet with them.
In a campus-wide email, he proposed ‘immediate refinements to certain policies and procedural deficiencies’ that he hoped would improve diversity.
He wrote that he wanted to bring in ‘regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues; a formal process to institutionalize identification.
Wagner also said there was a need to address ‘social justice opportunities’ and commitment to an annual retreat to renew [their] efforts.’
Wagner added that the Freedom of Expression Committee is meeting to address whether the person or people responsible for the chalking were in compliance with Emory’s policy.
He said that they would debate technical issues, such as whether or not the chalkings were done on an appropriate surface.
However, he believes that the broader concern motivating the protests had to do more with the ideas the chalkings stood for than how they were done.
Some students were upset as they do not support Trump and are against some of his political values.
The student newspaper’s editor, Zak Hudak, posted an editorial addressing what had happened.
He wrote: I do not take lightly the fears and pains of those students who felt victimized by the ‘Trump 2016′ chalkings around campus, and I try my best to support oppressed groups on campus.
‘The duty of a newspaper to give a voice to the voiceless surpasses that of echoing those in power. I acknowledge again that Donald Trump is unlike any recent candidate who has lasted to this stage of a presidential election and that, for many Emory students, support of him holds a different connotation than support for Hillary Clinton or John Kasich.
‘It is nonetheless necessary to ask those protesters what would happen should the tables be turned. Suppose we had a different administration.
‘Suppose it was ruled that protests, such as the one on Tuesday, made Trump supporters feel threatened on campus. Freedom of speech works both ways, and its hindrance affects both sides.
‘It is not the role of an institution that is devoted to the critical education of its students to tell those students which opinions they are allowed to have.’
It drew a handful of scathing comments, including one which read: ‘While this response is inadequate in countering the anti-democratic impulses of the students frightened by chalk, it is at least better than limp, coddling responses from administrators, who are letting students with the maturity of 10-year-olds drive the conversation and campus policy.
‘Mr. Hudak–in this context, you shouldn’t even engage in the question of whether Trump is ‘an offensive man.’
‘The crybaby students forfeited any expectation of an open discussion with their demands that any talk or chalk of Trump should be banished from their fantasyland.’
Another read: ‘I have no idea how you kids will survive once you get out into the real world. People have different opinions than you. You need to grow up, and fast.’
One person also wrote: ‘Within a year I am ashamed of both my undergraduate college (Yale) and my graduate university (Emory Law, ’77).
‘I am a liberal supporter of Clinton and Sanders (the former by a shade) and I want to shout at the thin-skinned crybabies on these campuses who are so obsessed with ‘safe spaces’ and so dismissive of free speech values: ‘GROW THE F*** UP !”
They were also mocked by media commentators such as Reason.com, who wrote: ‘Some Emory students are so fragile, and terrified of innocuous political speech they dislike, that they immediately sought comfort from campus authority figures. These figures, of course, were more than willing to coddle them.’
On Wednesday, the scrawlings were swapped with messages of anti-hate including: ‘Hate not love’ and ‘Stand against hatred’.
Trump won the Georgia Republican primary earlier this month.
One student organization who condemned the actions of the ‘vandals’ was The Emory Latino Student Organization. They posted a statement on Facebook which has since been removed.
‘Yesterday, the Emory community was witness to an act of cowardice, when someone decided to plaster pro-Donald Trump slogans all over campus.
‘The people who did this knew that what they were doing was wrong, because why else would they do so in the dead of night when no one else could witness them?
‘They did not do this merely to support the presidential candidate, but to promote the hate and discrimination that goes along with him. While some students only see the name of a potential nominee, others see hostility and venom which promises to destroy lives.
‘The Emory Latino Student Organization condemns this as an act meant to instigate division on our campus. We have the freedom of speech in this country to express different ideas. But it is un-American to support hatred against others, and that is exactly what Donald Trump is doing.
‘Rather than use censorship and retaliation, we know that Emory has the courage to stand firm. Not with fear, but with confidence. Not with hate, but with love. This act which was meant to create discord among the Emory community ultimately serves to further unite us.’
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.