Emory University’s student government has announced that it is deploying “emergency” student funds in response to an outbreak of pro-Donald Trump chalk around campus, which many students claimed was “triggering” and damaging to their psychological wellbeing.
The announcement came one day after several dozen student protesters demonstrated outside Emory’s administration building, asking why the school had responded quickly after swastikas were drawn on a Jewish house but hadn’t reacted similarly to support for Trump. They called on James Wagner, the university’s president, to have the school officially denounce Trump and his on-campus supporters. Wagner declined to do so, but did send out a campus-wide email pledging to improve social justice work on campus.
Now, the student government is getting in on the action, pledging to provide much-needed assistance to students offended by the chalk markings, which included phrases such as “Build the wall” and “Accept the inevitable: Trump 2016.”
In a campus-wide email, Emory’s Student Government Association (SGA) initially stated that “we do not endorse any particular candidate or political philosophy,” but then proceeded to do exactly that by explicitly denouncing the Trump chalk.
“[B]y nature of the fact that for a significant portion of our student population, the messages represent particularly bigoted opinions, policies, and rhetoric directed at populations represented at Emory University, we would like to express our concern regarding the values espoused by the messages displayed, and our sympathy for the pain experienced by members of our community,” the message said.
It then went on to suggest the chalk marks had imperiled by the basic safety of Emory students.
“We remain unapologetically dedicated to inclusion, diversity, and equity, but even more so, we remain unwavering in the premium we place on the safety, physical and emotional, of the students we represent.”
As a solution, then, SGA said it was allocating “emergency funds” to support the activities of any student group that wanted to host an event in response to the chalks’s discrimination.
“It is clear to us that these statements are triggering for many of you,” it said. “As a result, both College Council and the Student Government Association pledge to stand in solidarity with those communities who feel threatened … To that end, Emergency Funds within the College Council monetary policy were created to provide time-sensitive funds during circumstances involving discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and such funds are available to any student organization looking to sponsor events in response to this incident.”
It bears repeating that, thus far, the “discrimination” in question consists solely of advocating the election of Trump as president.
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