Trump Drawings Are Now The Great Campus Free Speech Battle

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Scott Greer Contributor
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Colleges across the country continue to bolster their sterling reputation for respecting free speech over pro-Trump artwork.

Just kidding — the hysteria at campuses all across the country has continued unabated since a few terrified Emory University students discovered “Trump 2016” chalkings on campus in March.

This week, the Trump chalk outrage reached its highest crescendo yet.

First there was the case at Ohio University. A few, unidentified fraternity gentlemen took it upon themselves to draw a wall — appropriately sloganed “Build That Wall!” — on a campus structure specifically designed for student artwork. In spite of there being nothing illegal about the wall drawing, it caused an uproar on campus after Latino students said it greatly offended them.

In response, the school punished its entire fraternity and sorority system by scrapping its originally-planned Greek Week and forcing students within that community to attend an open-mic session where those offended by the Trump drawing could berate their peers. OU’s executive councils overseeing Greek Life issued a joint statement on Monday condemning the drawing because it didn’t “promote inclusion.” (RELATED: Student Leaders At Ohio University Condemn Trump Drawing As Racially Offensive)

“The phrase is offensive and hurtful to many individuals as it is directly tied to the Hispanic/Latino/a community, makes them feel marginalized, and the message was interpreted that they don’t belong at Ohio University,” the letter from student leaders read.

The public university’s president followed up with a statement reiterating the school’s commitment to diversity and promised “I believe you” to the students who were so grievously wounded by the Trump wall.

OU, being a public university, was rather limited in what it could do in this situation since the wall was political speech done on a structure which allowed such kinds of messages. However, a private university with its own terrifying tributes to The Donald took a harder line in dealing with its Trump-inspired turmoil.

In early April, DePaul University’s Black Student Union accused the school’s College Republican chapter of perpetuating a “hate crime” by chalking messages in support of Donald Trump on campus. A campus-wide debate shortly ensued with campus administrators taking the logical step this week of banning all political chalkings.

The school’s dubious rationale for the action was to ensure the Catholic university could retain its tax-exempt status.

But the most disturbing action in relation to campus Trump messages comes from Tulane University. The local Kappa Alpha Order fraternity erected a sandbag wall on their own private property emblazoned with The Donald’s famous slogan: “Make America Great Again.” It was built as part of a yearly fraternity tradition and the Trump message was added in the spirit of satire, according to the KA chapter.

That satire, however, didn’t go over well with some of their fellow students. A few of their Hispanic peers labelled the message as “xenophobic” and “racist.” A few African-American members of Tulane’s football team decided to show their disdain for the Trump wall through physical action Tuesday.

Namely, they invaded the fraternity’s private property and destroyed the wall themselves. Video surfaced of the altercation showing KA’s shouting at the Tulane footballers to stop tossing the sandbags because they were on private property — to no avail.

In spite of the evidence a possible crime occurred, Tulane’s Kappa Alpha chapter, through a representative from its national organization, nearly apologized for their ransacked property.

“The comment was written on a makeshift wall on our private property, normally used for a game of capture the flag, to mock the ideologies of a political candidate,” the chapter’s statement read. “This had a unintended negative effect and as such it has been dismantled.”

A major fact left out is that the wall was dismantled involuntarily.

Tulane administrators issued a statement that tried desperately to maintain a non-partial stance, but in the end expressed sympathy for the minority students who were “impacted by this incident.”

Needless to say, the national phenomenon known as the #TheChalkening has now become the cornerstone in the fight for campus free speech. The fact that every time a campus witnesses a marking mentioning Trump’s name, hysterical outrage inevitably follows. Schools react in the most pathetic way possible, and angry activists demonstrate how awful campus political correctness has become. (RELATED: The Frat Site That Helped Ignite #TheChalkening Speaks Out)

In every case, a few students hailing from a protected class complained about the markings and that’s all it took for it to become a serious sensation. Schools have been at pains to chart a middle course to respecting free speech while offering solace to the offended special snowflakes. In the end, the administrators always make it seem like Trump chalkings will not be tolerated, despite platitudes about preserving free expression. (RELATED: Is It Now A Hate Crime To Support Donald Trump On A College Campus?)

It’s hard to say a campus tolerates political speech when a Greek Week has to be cancelled over a Trump wall. Or banning chalk entirely. Or letting football players destroy private property because they were offended by a harmless slogan.

[dcquiz] It’s doubtful colleges would have the same reaction if campuses were suffering a similar epidemic of left-wing political drawings. Imagine the national firestorm if football players dismantled a feminist sandbag wall demanding the eradication of rape culture. Administrators would not be offering their sympathy to all the poor students traumatized by that message.

The most important point to remember about these drawings is that they, in the grand scheme of things, have little to do with showing support for Donald Trump’s campaign. Rather, they represent a symbolic fight on behalf of free speech against campus political correctness and special snowflake syndrome.

Regardless of your thoughts about The Donald, writing the man’s name or one of his slogans on a part of campus is now the best way for students to show their disgust for political correctness. Fortunately, it appears this positive trend is only just getting started.

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