We have some [SATIRE!] deplorable students on our campus, and as I mentioned before, they’ve been putting up ugly anti-trans posters all over. This seems to be their obsession this year, to mock and sneer at any students who don’t fit into their very narrow tolerance of how boys and girls (and only boys, and only girls) should look and act. Yesterday, I sighted one of our College Republicans working his way through the tunnel between the science building and the student union trying to paper every available spot with these signs:
Never afraid of being right…more like, never afraid of always being wrong, because none of that is correct.
Well, that’s not good news. This is.
I walked through that tunnel this morning, and everyone of those signs was gone. Torn down and not replaced. Instead, there were a lot of signs affirming gender identity. The only one I could find is the one above, which has a red date stamp, as is required for any flyers posted in the student union. Other places on campus are more of a free-for-all, but apparently whoever was taking out the trash was careful to obey the informal regulations on signage.
Good. Throw ’em all out.
Next bit of good news is that our chancellor has noticed, and sent out a message to students and faculty.
Students and colleagues,
I have heard your concerns regarding language and images being used on our campus that inflame and divide. The University of Minnesota Morris does not condone messaging that is meant to be divisive. That messaging does not support the welcoming community we seek to be.
When we say we support our students and that we value every member of this community, we mean it. While we embrace free expression, we also recognize that exercising this right comes with responsibility. Use of intentionally provocative speech impacts our campus and those targeted in the messaging, leading to individuals and student communities feeling invalidated, isolated, and unsafe. It isn’t acceptable to treat one another that way.
Let me assure you campus leaders take building an inclusive and respectful campus seriously and are taking action in this area. A group is already working on a campus climate evaluation and plan. There will be opportunities to share your thoughts on these issues throughout the year. I encourage each of you to participate.
With details about additional programming to come, we are offering opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to engage in this topic, either by reaching out to me or by contacting any of the following individuals:
For students: Adrienne Conley and Elizabeth (liz) Thomson, Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural Programs
That message came out before the Great Hate Sign Extinction, so maybe some of our students were emboldened…or better yet, some of our staff were authorized to do a clean-up. It just goes to show that leadership matters — you can either enable the worst in our community, or you can inspire the best.