The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election 2016 emerged as a result of overwhelming support from some of the states across America. Among them was Indiana, which may be considered as the state that owes the president his triumph. Indiana, however, has come into the limelight once again as the state’s Butler University has introduced an anti-Trump course in its latest curriculum.
“Trumpism & U.S. Democracy” is the course that Butler University has introduced under the “special topics” category. According to the description, the course has been designed to help students understand “strategies for resistance” against the Donald Trump administration. The course will also try and help students understand how Donald Trump won the 2016 election, the formal university description stated. It is expected that the new course structure with anti-Trump topics will be available to students during the fall 2017 semester that will run from August to December.
“Donald J. Trump won the U.S. Presidency despite perpetuating sexism, white supremacy, xenophobia, nationalism, nativism, and imperialism,” the Butler University officially defined the course. “This course explores why and how this happened, how Trump’s rhetoric is contrary to the foundation of the U.S. democracy, and what his win means for the future. The course will also discuss, and potentially engage in, strategies for resistance.”
Though the Butler University has been very clear in defining its course on Donald Trump, the language that was used seemed quite controversial. As a result, the university had to face a backlash from Trump supporters. Following the backlash, the university’s official description suddenly took an unexpected turn. The university, following the criticism, described the new Trump course as one that will offer “a broad historical, political, and critical communication studies” which will teach students about the rise of the president as both “a political and social phenomenon.”
“The course will provide context and depth for student citizens as we look to historical and current texts by renowned authors as well as read excerpts from Trump’s own The Art of the Deal,” the new description stated. “Students will potentially attend, as participant observers, campus and community events to witness ongoing responses to Trump’s presidency and campaign. To instill disciplinary diversity, the course will invite faculty from across campus to guest lecture.”
Butler University named the Professor of Communications, Ann Savage, as the faculty member to teach “Trumpism & U.S. Democracy.” According to reports, Savage was honored as a “distinguished faculty” of the college in 2016. While the university received criticism over introducing the course, the phone number and pictures of Savage were also revealed on social media posts. The instructor did not comment on the matter yet. However, college authorities said that the response to the matter on the university’s official website is to be considered final.
Butler University Academic Affairs’ Vice President Kathryn Morris uploaded a letter on the website on behalf of the university. In the letter, she specified that she supported the course. She also wrote that enrolling into the course would not mean that a student needs to participate in activism against Donald Trump.
“The professor has been very transparent about the goals of the course and has provided additional context that clarifies students in the class will not be required to participate in a particular form of activism,” she wrote in a letter uploaded on Butler University website. “They will be asked to engage with classic and contemporary reading, including a text by President Trump, and evaluate the rise of the President as a political and social phenomenon.”
Butler University has tried to cover up its intentions relating to the introduction of the course on Donald Trump following the backlash. However, the initial description of the course by the university cannot be ignored. In this context, it is necessary for the university to understand that youngsters are smart enough to distinguish between right and wrong. Instead of compelling them to believe that the functioning of the Trump administration is inadequate, they should be exposed to all the spheres of an issue and then left to make their own decision.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]