The president of Emory University has spoken to demonstrators who said they were frightened after someone wrote ‘Trump 2016’ in chalk around campus.
Students at the Atlanta school, which has an enrollment of more than 14,000 claim their ‘safe space’ was violated when the messages appeared on sidewalks and buildings.
Jim Wagner, president of the Atlanta university, wrote Tuesday that the students viewed the messages as intimidation, and they voiced ‘genuine concern and pain’ as a result.
He acted after student government wrote to him and slammed the university’s response, prompting a meeting that led to protests.
Now administrators want to track down those responsible for the controversial markings.
But some commentators on the university’s student newspaper website told the students to grow up and accused them of being babies.
As a result student organizations offered counselling to anyone who may have been impacted by what they had seen.
Emory on Wednesday provided The Associated Press with a copy of Wagner’s letter, in which he said students confronted by Trump’s name in chalk ‘heard a message about values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory’s own.’
Emory’s student newspaper, The Wheel, said Wagner outlined four steps that administrators plan to take in order to address the issues raised by the protesters who said they were in pain in a campus-wide email.
He proposed ‘immediate refinements to certain policies and procedural deficiencies; regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues; a formal process to institutionalize identification, review and addressing of social justice opportunities and issues; and commitment to an annual retreat to renew [their] efforts.’
Wagner added that the Freedom of Expression Committee is meeting to address whether the person or people responsible for the chalking were in compliance with Emory’s policy.
He said that they would debate technical issues, such as whether or not the chalkings were done on an appropriate surface.
However, he believes that the broader concern motivating the protests had to do more with the ideas the chalkings stood for than how they were done.