There has been an obvious widening of the political divide since President-elect Donald Trump came out victorious last month. That divide is prominent on university campuses, much as it is across the United States, as noted by Amanda Delekta, a sophomore at the University of Michigan who is a Trump supporter.
When Donald J. Trump won the election and Delekta was ready to celebrate, she quickly halted her celebration when students on campus held a vigil to mourn the results. In addition, the student states that her biology professor even suspended class following the results under the assumption that students would be too upset to focus.
— Official Team Trump (@TeamTrump) December 2, 2016
Amanda was furious at this response and shared her opinion with the New York Times, stating “Nobody has died. The United States has not died. Democracy is more alive than ever. Simply put, the American people voted and Trump won.”
The publication shares what Delekta did next.
“She circulated an online petition and accused the university president of catering to the liberal majority by suggesting that ‘their ideology was superior to the ideology of their peers,’ as she put it, when he sent out an email publicizing the vigil and listing counseling resources for students upset by the election. Three days later, she was invited to meet with the president in his office.”
The sophomore shares that she was “completely shocked” that the president of the university had even read her letter and admits that “It was very exciting.”
Throughout the campaign, conservatives and liberals naturally clashed on campuses across the nation. Since the results of the election, however, the intensity and the divide has become greater. Students and faculty admit that they are expecting the tensions to continue and worsen when the baton is passed at the Inauguration Day event in January.
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) December 4, 2016
Although Trump won, conservative supporters on campuses collectively feel that their views are not respected. Conservative supporters such as Delekta find that the messages from officials of the university, which seem to assume that everyone on campus is upset about the election, have been somewhat offensive.
In another example, at Columbia University, John H. Coatsworth, the provost, sent a message on November 21 clearly demonstrating his concern over the election results.
“The presidential election has prompted intense concern for the values we hold dear and for members of our community who are apprehensive about what the future holds.”
Although the president of Amherst College in Massachusetts called for tolerance and reminded that some may be celebrating Trump’s victory, Biddy Martin also spoke on campus, demonstrating her true view on the election results. The NY Times shares her words.
“In the mirror we see virulent forms of racism, misogyny, homophobia and other ills; and we see them celebrated by some as though the expression of our worst impulses were the definition of human freedom.”
There was also controversy that surrounded a professor at Amherst, who was singled out for particular views. Hadley Arkes, an emeritus professor of political science, celebrated in his political science class with a bottle of champagne following Trump’s victory. The student newspaper first criticized Arkes for bringing alcohol to class and then suggested that college officials seek to hold him “accountable” for showing support for the president-elect that the board of the paper believed to be a bigot, homophobic, and a misogynist.
“There are students on this campus whose lives and civil liberties will be compromised in the next four years,” the editorial said. “Not only does Amherst’s nonpartisan stance invalidate their struggles, but brash and insensitive political partisanship creates irreparable scars.”
The professor defended himself by stating he had offered all students in class a way to express feelings following the election, and has pretty well stated that people just can’t take a joke, saying, “There is no urbanity or humor — or the wit to deal with challenge, grave or light,” he wrote in an email. “They can respond only in ‘boilerplate,’ quite predictable reflexes — so predictable that I did predict it easily.”
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]