One of our readers sent this along to us. His name is Daniel. It’s a letter he wrote to his college president regarding the anti-Trump post-election campus atmosphere and policies that protect those who have been “traumatized” by the election outcome. What about those who weren’t traumatized by the results? Do they have First Amendment rights, or are those reserved only for those who hate Trump? He also included the president’s response to him.
My letter to Dr. Gitenstein – the president of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). I hope all college students who support the president-elect read this and share it as well.
I am contacting you regarding the overall reaction this school has clearly presented to the election of Donald Trump. I understand you and many other people may be disappointed, but this is a democratic society, and the result is what it is. What I find unfortunate is that you aren’t putting your efforts to try to bring together students who may hate or may love the president-elect and to move forward. There seems to be only events targeted towards those who feel they will be harmed by this election. Yet, Donald Trump isn’t even president yet, and therefore I find it extremely disrespectful to people who voted for him, and I find it extremely disrespectful to this democracy as a whole, because it is implying that because the election didn’t go a certain way you can depict an individual who hasn’t physically done anything yet, regardless of whether what he said during his campaign was stupid and unnecessary.
I’m almost certain that if Hillary Clinton were elected, the school would have sent no email even though I – like many people -are afraid of a President Clinton because of her past actions, which has harmed our military, which we honor today (Veterans Day).
Furthermore, the previous emails the school has sent as well as posts in school-related groups as well as classes, have made me and a large number of individuals who are often seen as the silent majority, because they are too scared to speak up – because they know they will likely get shut down by liberal values on campus (I do respect those values). It’s wrong that I have to be nervous to show my support for President-elect Donald Trump even though it’s my constitutional right to vote for whomever I want and support any policy I want. Yet, if you show support for liberal or non-Trump policies you are protected by the school. I disagree with how Donald Trump has spoken about certain groups of people, certain groups which I am a part of. But I shouldn’t be generalized as being a racist or a bigot. I have my own reasons for supporting him, the President of this county. This school and other students have presented the belief that everyone on campus is appalled and hurt by the results of the election, yet they forget that half of the voters in this country voted for him .
Events like the ones going on to discuss the election should certainly be allowed and protected. But these events lead me to feel ostracized on campus because as I said I proudly support the President-Elect. I am all for expressing rights and assembly, as it is The First Amendment, but it seems completely one-sided and I am worried it will divide people on campus or lead others to feel ostracized.
Would this event be hosted had Hillary Clinton won the election? I assume by the tone of this campus the answer is no. I personally am scared for being a Trump supporter because there have been numerous attacks including extremely violent attacks on those who are suspected to be supporters of the 45th President, and in fact, I haven’t seen any attacks on people who are presumed to be “Trump’s targets.” Yet people are sympathetic to those who hate Trump and not those people like myself who are scared to walk around campus without covering their face, because they don’t want to be generalized as being a Trump supporter who everyone assumes to be a racist and overall bigot.
I believe if this event is to be hosted, then the event should also be targeted towards those happy with the outcome of the election as to not divide the campus.
My main belief is unity and fairness for all, and I truly hope this can be achieved on campus regardless of political backing. I should not have to hide my opinion while others make theirs very well known.
In closing, I would like more consideration from the school for different perspectives on this election. I don’t appreciate professors criticizing and blatantly attacking those who voted for the next president of this great nation. I do not want to feel for my life anymore just because I support the future president of this great nation.
Be optimistic about this country; pessimistic views never create progress. The guy hasn’t even become president yet, and you are already jumping to conclusions. What he said during his campaign was undoubtedly wrong and stupid, but he is the president now and that means he is the captain of this plane. We have to work with him so he doesn’t crash the plane.
Thank you, have a great weekend.
A concerned student
Thank you very much for your email below. I do hope that you will use the opportunities provided on the campus to show your concerns and express your opinions because that is precisely what I was hoping would happen on this campus. We must be able to articulate our differences and listen to each other with respect and an open mind.
I am very sorry that you interpreted my email to suggest that I was concerned about feelings on the campus only because of the outcome of the election. I was concerned about the rhetoric from all camps during this election. Indeed, in my email, I asked for the community to listen to one another, particularly to those who see things through a different lens from our own and those who come from backgrounds different from our own. Only by such active listening will we develop a productive path to the future. I for one am a great believer in the American dream and the American political process–both of which depend on such communication. I certainly make no assumptions about your attitudes about people who are different from you simply because of your choice for candidate for the president (which I would only know because you disclose that below). I believe that you agree with me that working together we can make TCNJ and our larger community a better place.
Finally, I would urge you, if you have any evidence of targeted attacks on any community members based on their beliefs or their stances, you simply must bring this to the attention of the police or the appropriate administrative office. We would not countenance any such threats or actions.
Thank you again for taking the time to write me,
R. Barbara Gitenstein
Here was the original campus-wide email that was sent to all TCNJ students:
As this emotional and divisive presidential election process comes to a close, all citizens of the country are faced with a complex of mixed emotions. Whatever our political affiliations, we must be committed to positive action in our lives and in our community. Specifically, we at TCNJ must reaffirm our commitments, including those most recently expressed in the first priority in our Strategic Plan: to “Attract and retain talented students, faculty and staff into a diverse, inclusive and healthy community.” During my welcome back address in August, recognizing the highly charged political rhetoric that surrounded us, I challenged the community to engage in difficult discussions and to do so with special attention to our shared commitment to civil disagreement. We will disagree; we have disagreed; but we must do so in such a way that enhances not discourages communication.
Many of you recently engaged with staff from the Sustained Dialogue Institute as we were preparing to implement plans on the campus for coming together in productive conversation. With a sense of even greater urgency, I hope that in our discussions we express respect and caring for all members of our community and that we genuinely listen to one another. We must be particularly sensitive to those who see the world through a different lens than our own and those whose situation might be less protected/privileged than our own. As I said early this fall, these discussions will be difficult, but little that is worthwhile is accomplished in simplistic formulae. I look forward to being a part of those and other conversations to move our campus and nation forward.
R. Barbara Gitenstein
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com