The incident was simple and easily handled for any college president with a modicum of common sense, respect for free speech, and a comprehension of the needs of basic higher education. Unfortunately for Emory college, its students and stake-holders, James Wagner is not such a college president. He is, instead, a craven incompetent. Harsh? You decide.
At Emory, someone wrote the frightening words “Trump 2016” with chalk on a stair railing. Given that this is an election year and Donald Trump is running for President, such a scribble should be regarded as unremarkable. Oh, if it happened on a campus where I was enrolled, I might think, “Gee, apparently they accept idiots into this institution, and my degree may not be worth spit,” but that would be the extent of my dismay.
Ah, but it’s 2016, and thanks to the pusillanimous campus leadership at the University of Missouri, Duke, Occidental, Princeton, Yale and so many other places, college students nationwide have gotten it into their delicate heads that there is a basic human right to be shielded from any writing, words, slogans, pictures, historical references or sidelong glances that might upset their preconceived views of life in any way. Thus a group of Emory students who gasped with horror at “Trump 2016,” which is not only political speech but, unfortunately, mainstream political speech, went to Wagner and demanded action.
What Wagner should have said, following in the footsteps of the few college presidents who have shown themselves worthy of their jobs, is some version of what Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Dr. Everett Piper, wrote on his school’s website in response to similar student complaints on his campus: Continue reading