In the aftermath of what happened last week at the Trump rally, it is clear that there are many opinions of what happened. While I only speak for myself, I would like to say that it obviously was a huge mistake to have allowed someone with such politics to be allowed to use a facility on our campus. At the time he was granted permission, it might not have been clear how racist Trump is or what type of people he would attract to his rally, but it is obvious that our campus is not the place where such a thing should happen or be allowed to pass without comment.
In the vernacular of Higher Education, VSU is a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), but we are also, more importantly, an MSI (Minority Serving Institution) with by definition, well over 25 percent of our student body made up of students of color. While Trump’s people and the secret service may have had the right to remove people from the rally, there is no question that this was racist behavior. I had an older student in one of my classes say that he was standing near the Secret Service when Trump’s people came over and told them to, “Remove those n*****s from the building.” The same word was yelled by Trump supporters at various other students who attended the rally simply to learn more about American politics.
How in this postmodern era can that treatment be described as anything less than racist? Two white students in the group of more than 30 does not change the color of that situation. Other African American students said that they were escorted out for no reason. VSU used to be a place where the parents of African American students felt their children could get a fair education, but after something like this we jeopardize that credibility. I can only offer my own personal apology to every student on this campus who was offended by what happened. If nothing else takes place to address the matter, you are certainly invited to attend the next “Courageous Conversation about “Race” on Thursday, March 24, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in 1111 Jennett Hall. This series of talks was initiated to be a forum for discussion of something like this.
Dr. Leslie S. Jones
Associate Professor of Biology