After a rash of hate speech complaints to a Student Senate official and an allegation of a note left under a faculty member’s door, there have not been any more reports of hate speech on campus after the presidential election.
“Initially, when President Trump was elected, there was a lot of different things going on, and there still is but…I’m not hearing about that stuff on campus,” said Curt Schmidt, director of Public Safety.
After the election, nine students reported to Jacquelyn Roosevelt, director of Policy and Legislative Affairs in the Student Senate, incidents of hate speech regarding student’s religion, country of origin or sexual orientation.
A note, which urged a faculty member to go back to North America, signed “The Confederate States of America,” was slid under their door according to an email sent by Jay Williams, Interim Director of Diversity.
The sharp decline in hate speech, according to Williams, might be because “…the bubble has burst…some people felt emboldened, maybe because of some of the language used in the campaign. I think on the progressive side people were, like, in a state of shock…I think we’re returning to a normalcy. That’s not to say unprecedented things aren’t happening, but people are adjusting to the new reality.”
The normalcy has come to almost daily protests around the country, including some in Minneapolis, which MCTC students and faculty have participated in.
“There’s still a lot of tension and turmoil in the country,” said Schmidt. “I think there’s a lot of unease and unknowing about what’s going on.”
The challenge MCTC’s administration faces when presented with the decisive language from Trump and his administration is problematic.
According to Williams, the left is having trouble coming to terms with a new administration in the Executive Branch, “I think for the American progressive, they’re confronted. I think, for the left, a lot of their language of inclusion, the ideas about gender equity …a lot of the people of the left see [Trump’s administration] as a threat to progression.”
This issue, compounded with what Williams called a “mixed-bag on the right” is where the tension across the country is coming from.
“Let’s be honest,” said Williams, “Trump isn’t just an answer to liberal elites, he’s an answer to paternalism from both parties. When Jeb Bush says, ‘I’m the adult candidate’, Trump is the answer to that. When Obama says they cling to their guns and religion, and Hillary [Clinton] says they’re a basket of deplorables.”
Former President Obama made his, “guns and religion” comment in 2008 when speaking at a San Francisco fundraising saying,
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,”
Clinton made her “basket of deplorables” comment during an LGBT gala in New York on Sept. 9, 2016 saying,
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”
Both Obama and Clinton faced a political backlash for their perceived indifference to small town America.
“People are tired,” said Williams. “Many people that voted for [Trump] are just tired of folks looking down their nose at them. At the end of the day, much of what [Trump supporters are] subjected to is similar to the stuff we’re trying to take on for a more inclusive campus for everyone.”
This sense of certain people on the right feeling marginalized is something Williams would like to correct by inviting other viewpoints to be voiced on campus.
“Everyone has to feel reflected in our programming, in our curriculum, in the way the school operates,” said Willaims. “If we don’t validate everyone we invite the kind of behaviors, the disengagement, the relationship resistance,” said Williams.