A few days ago, I awoke to a mass email from Minjoo Kim, the student body president at Scripps College, condemning a “racist incident” that had taken place the night before. The incident in question? A Mexican-American Scripps student had awoken to find the words “#trump2016” written on the whiteboard on her door. The email claimed that the student was targeted because of her race and described the Trump presidential slogan—nay, hashtag—as an act of violence, and a “testament that racism continues to be an undeniable problem and alarming threat on our campuses.” This email was followed shortly by a message from our Dean of Students, Charlotte Johnson, chastising those students who believed that Kim’s email had been an overreaction to the incident. Johnson pointed out that Scripps (in theory) respects the First Amendment rights of its students and community members, but that in this case, the “circumstances are unique.”

Since the same sort of thing happened a week earlier at Emory University, with great cries of racism and threats against students who advocate for particular presidential candidates, it seems that there may be a special, more flexible version of the First Amendment for college administrators.

Scripps’ need to constantly respond to hurt feelings and incidences of racism—whether real or imaginary—meant that residents of the dorm where this happened had to go to a mandatory meeting in which Resident Advisors gave out instructions on how to behave if you see something offensive written on a student’s whiteboard. We were told that if we see something “offensive,” we should not erase it; that would be like pretending it never happened. Instead, we’re supposed to take a paper towel and tape it over the offensive message so that others walking down the hall need not be affected (see: triggered) by the message, then report it. Indeed the student who experienced this “act of racism” did not simply erase the whiteboard drawing and move on with her day, she wrote a notice calling attention to her status as a victim, hung it next to the #trump2016 message and posted it on Facebook. The takeaway? At a college for independent women, victimhood bequeaths status. But that’s nothing new.

For the past few evenings I have been taking part in an immensely detailed congressional simulation, for a government class at neighboring Claremont McKenna College. For this exercise we are simulating a congressional session taking place during the first year of a Donald J. Trump presidency. The simulation has been labor intensive, extremely informative for the students participating, and lots of fun. It plagues me to think that there are students on my campus who would not only be uncomfortable with the simulation, but deeply offended. How is it possible to teach politics and government in an atmosphere like this? How will my classmates survive the upcoming California primary?

Personally, I am a Cruz supporter. I’m just as perturbed as the next person that Donald Trump is a legitimate candidate for President of the United States. But he is just that, a legitimate candidate. Seeing his name (or a dopey political slogan) should not be enough to send an intelligent college student running for her safe space in tears. Scripps, like most women’s colleges, claims to pride itself on educating and shaping women to bravely go out and face a tough world. Does administrative coddling of behavior like this not devalue the Scripps brand? Surely I cannot be alone in believing this event is an embarrassment, and hopefully not representative of the institution as a whole. I would hate to see my school become another nutty, culturally Marxist institution, pushing this bizarrely weak, fainting couch, victim-feminism. Bizarre and coddled reactions like these legitimize the campaign of someone like Donald J. Trump.


Image Source: Flickr

Categories: Opinion
  • No


  • Brown Lightning

    I’m (relatively) rich, privileged, unapologetic, male, conservative and feminist. Fuck me and Madeleine Albright amirite

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  • Kristine

    I completely agree. I think of the women who came before. Suffragettes being force-fed in prisons; female protesters targeted with water hoses; our mothers and grandmothers refusing to budge from law schools and medical schools.

    If women had been what this Mexican-American person is, we would still not have the vote, contraception, or property in our own names.

    Girls like this one are an embarrassment to our entire gender and set us all back centuries with this need to be coddled and hidden away.

    Utterly disgusting.

  • Happily surprised

    I didn’t expect a reasonable, thoughtful commentary on this nontroversy. Kudos to Sophie Mann and enough with the “Victim Olympics.”

    To everybody else, always question anybody who says “we respect the First Amendment, BUT…”

  • seriously?

    Can someone please explain to me how the Claremont Independent can claim to be a legitimate news source while using a stock photo of a crying baby as the image for this article?

    And if you want to label yourselves as in any way “independent,” please make some sort of effort to acknowledge both sides to the story. Don’t you think it would be in some way upsetting, as someone with Mexican heritage, to have #Trump2016 written uniquely on your door when Trump has said some undeniably racist things against Mexicans? I personally agree that the reaction to this, and similar events across the country was overblown, but your whining about weak students begging to be sheltered is not adding anything of value to the ongoing debate about free speech and political correctness.

    • Fwo

      Trump has spoken facts about Mexicans. Facts are the new racist.

    • FA

      There’s an important distinction here, though, Trump has said unsavory (and sometimes threatening) things about illegal immigrants from Mexico, but not legal immigrants. Mexicans who came through this country via legal channels do not have anything to fear from Trump (I say this as a first generation Mexican-American myself). Unfortunately, Trump’s claims get blown up out of proportion very often by the media, which leads to overreactions from students.

      Additionally, the way students have reacted is not at all fitting of their supposed level of education. If they disagree with Trump, they can debate him and his followers in a civilized manner befitting their liberal arts education. However, the modern liberal arts institution has failed in its most basic mission, which is to encourage critical and analytical thinking, and instead just panders to whoever “feels” the most victimized. This skewed incentive and hierarchy structure just results in protests fueled by emotion (not reason or logic), the aptly-named “Oppression Olympics”, and lists of demands for increasingly Orwellian measures to silence free speech. The former is the reason why the baby picture is so relevant, as we expect children to argue based solely upon emotion, while adults should be able to calmly reason with others based on logic (that being said, maybe I have unreasonable expectations for my generation).

      On a side note: Of course, these students claim that this is not “protected speech”; however, if you look at the history of fascism and state socialism you will find plenty of examples, such as in Nazi Germany or Maoist China, of a slippery slope into dystopia beginning with censorship of “free speech” for the “greater good” (to clarify, for current students, the “greater good” means the “feelings” of POC).

  • Tabitha

    I was looking forward to a really well thought out article that delivered on its title. I was intrigued, but I’m now left wanting more. How exactly has this incident harmed feminism? I can assume and connect the dots myself, but that shouldn’t be placed on the reader to do so. I was looking forward to reading your argument and position on the matter, not drawing my own. You never completed your thought. I’d consider a new title that reflects the content of your article, and really would like to see what you’d have to say on the topic of political correctness destroying feminism.

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