The Leftists going nuts over #TheChalkening really need to chillax and remember the benefits of free speech. #TheChalkening is a bunch of college students putting up pro-Donald Trump messages on college campuses because they know it makes the skin crawl of those who don’t support him. It all started after Emory University students started flipping out over the Trump 2016 messages being scrawled on multiple sidewalks and walls on campus. Via The Emory Wheel (emphasis mine):
“I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here],” one student said. “But this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well … I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school,” she added…
University President James W. Wagner, who had been standing just inside the threshold of the door, had been called into the board room by students and listened at the head of the table while they described how the appearance of the chalkings made them feel. He addressed several questions throughout the time in the board room, including “Why did the swastikas [on the AEPi house in Fall 2014] receive a quick response while these chalkings did not?” to which Wagner replied that they “represented an outside threat” and clarified that it was a second set of swastikas that received a swift response from the University. “What do we have to do for you to listen to us?” students asked Wagner directly, to which he asked, “What actions should I take?”
One student asked if Emory would send out a University-wide email to “decry the support for this fascist, racist candidate” to which Wagner replied, “No, we will not.” One student clarified that “the University doesn’t have to say they don’t support Trump, but just to acknowledge that there are students on this campus who feel this way about what’s happening … to acknowledge all of us here.”
The backlash over people supporting Trump is now moving on to other campuses with some Trump supporters telling New York Post they’re worried about being attacked by others or seeing their grades go down.
“Supporters generally try to keep it hidden from the rest of the student body,” said junior Dylan Perera, 22. “They’re afraid of losing friends, being ridiculed in class, getting worse grades and are even afraid of being assaulted and physically hurt.”
The computer-science major from LA said he was verbally accosted by a student who had asked about his affiliation.
“She freaked out and started yelling and screaming in my face, calling me a racist and a fascist. It was impossible to even have a conversation,” he said.
One student was so freaked out he refused to let the Post publish his name and even had a private room reserved to talk to the reporter. That might be a little too paranoid, but it shows just how ridiculous this debate over safe spaces has gotten. I wrote last year how Yale students asked for a “safe space” during Halloween because they didn’t want to offend anyone. Peggy Noonan and Kevin D. Williamson have also written about how perilous the First Amendment has gotten because the Left seems to be hellbent on making sure it applies only in certain situations.
This is ridiculous and sad on more than a few levels. Yes, private universities can set up their own rules on free speech but public universities can’t. People should be allowed to speak their own mind, without fear of retribution on college campuses. Could they lose friends? Sure, but that’s a risk people take whenever they decide to support a candidate or philosophy which goes against “normal college thought.” But their grades shouldn’t be affected, nor should their safety, and nor should their ability to proselytize for the candidate they want to be president. Emory University President James Walker probably had the best response to #TheChalkening (h/t FIRE)
There are probably going to be people who suggest those who participate in #TheChalkening should be charged with vandalism. But this isn’t the case at all. These people aren’t using paint to deface a building or breaking into someone’s dorm room to damage their stuff. It’s chalk. It can be washed away without a problem, doesn’t really add anything to a water bill, and only costs time. There’s no case for vandalism because, again, it’s chalk.
Free speech is important on college campuses, even if it’s promoting something I personally disagree with. College is supposed to prepare students for “real life,” meaning they’ll face challenging and uncomfortable situations. There’s no reason to create a “safe space” for students because life isn’t a safe space. The best way for students to respond to #TheChalkening is to either come up with their own version of it or just ignore it. Trying to stamp out free speech doesn’t work and it’s disgusting to see students try to get others silenced.