He campaigned on a promise to end political correctness and bring pride back to the United States.
And yet in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, American universities have taken political correctness to the extreme — with one removing the U.S. flag from their campus, and another speaking out against a “party in the USA” themed celebration, in case students were offended.
Trump’s campaign and his surprise victory has undoubtedly energized extreme elements. The Southern Poverty Law Center said that it has received over 700 reports of hate crimes since the election, with 40 per cent of them in schools and universities.
But on the other end of the spectrum, American educational establishments have found themselves being ridiculed.
The day after the election students began calling for the removal of the Stars and Stripes from their campus, saying it was a symbol of racism and hatred. It was lowered that night, and then a day later someone set fire to it. The flag was replaced, but the college board announced that it would be flown at half-mast, “to acknowledge the grief and pain experienced by so many.”
But veterans said it made a mockery of the tradition of flying a flag at half-mast to symbolize mourning.
Jonathan Lash, the president of the college, then announced the flag would temporarily be removed to “enable us to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours.” He added: “Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election – this, unequivocally, was not our intent.”
His decision was met with derision, however. Twitter users described themselves as “disgusted” by the move, with many pointing out that the college received federal funding.
Meanwhile, student leaders at Loyola University in Maryland apologized for the theme — “Party in the USA.” The party went ahead as planned — but not without much hand-wringing about the “divisive” theme.
Rev Brian Linnane, president of the university, said the student leaders were right to be concerned.
“We heard from members of our community who were concerned that some students intended to manipulate the theme to create an unwelcoming environment at the event,” he said. He said they suggested postponing it, until a later date when the country would be “less politically charged.”