Trump antics reflect negative campus climate

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March 8, 2016

For college students, the presidential    campaign seems like a far-off land where a rich bigot and two career politicians are in a street brawl for the GOP nomination, and the two Democratic candidates, one an “email-deleter” and the other a “socialist,” are politely disagreeing over the path to the same goals.

Column by  Kimberly Wethal News Editor

Column by
Kimberly Wethal
News Editor

At first glance, one might think these campaigns won’t impact college students until the first Tuesday of November.

I’d like to argue that assumption is dead wrong – especially in the case of Donald J. Trump.

Sorry, Donald Drumpf. (I’ll get it right next time, John Oliver. I promise).

Most notably, I can see his words and his beliefs reflected in our own UW-Whitewater students through numerous issues with campus climate.

Side note: I usually try to level off my position in my opinion pieces by saying I can see both sides, but as an American, I don’t think I can morally do that. I can’t say I understand where Trump is coming from because it’s a place of hatred.

Second side note: come and get me with the plans you have to “open libel laws” to sue me, Drumpf. I’m waiting.

Working in news, I can’t pretend it’s not happening in an effort to stroke my privileged white and able-bodied ego.

We’ve had people dropping the n-word on Snapchat and residence hall bulletin boards like they’ve suddenly been possessed by racist ghosts of our country’s past.

Outrageous.

Now we have more people taking to Snapchat to record someone using a mobility device, struggling to get around snow-covered walkways. It’s obviously a funny joke to whoever posted it, as they place the “crying-and-laughing” emoji over the video.

Since when is someone having a difficult time getting around a joke?

Since Trump decided to throw his toupee (or whatever his hair is) in the ring for presidency, that’s when.

In the past nine months, he has attacked individuals of the black, Latino and Asian ethnicities. He has proposed a ban of all Muslims from entering the United States. He has gone after women, most notably Megyn Kelly, for having “blood coming out of everywhere” when she challenged him on his answer in a debate.

He said on ABC’s “the View” he’d date his daughter Ivanka if she wasn’t, you know, half of his DNA.

A few months ago, he mocked a journalist with a disability. Last month, he refused to condemn the KKK on “Meet the Press,” until receiving national pressure to later do so.

Think about our own campus climate now. Is any of this starting to hit home just a little too hard? Might Trump’s behavior be rubbing off onto a country, one that was formerly known for freedom and righteousness?

As I watched former News Editor Alexandria Zamecnik write her stories about campus, she never had to write about UW-W students mocking the disabled, or racism to the point where the Huffington Post wrote about our discrimination. We as a staff never had to write about the campus climate. Granted, it was happening because microaggression is everywhere, but not at this rate.

I don’t even think the news editor before the two of us, Michael Riley, had to sift through issues like this. While Zamecnik and Riley both had continual controversies they wrote about that defined their careers as news editor, mine is going to be defined by campus-wide political unrest and bigotry.

And I think Trump is to blame for that. He’s proven to the country that one can still rise to the top of the polls while being an “everything-ist” pig.

He’s proven this to the country and Whitewater students. It leads people to think it’s acceptable to mock others and deepen divisions.

Last month, UW-Madison students were punished for taping swastikas and photos of Adolf Hitler to the door of a Jewish student’s dorm room.

Enough is enough. As a campus, we need to decide that, no matter our race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or ability, we don’t approve of this campus climate – and this national climate.

We need to go out to the polls on April 5 for the primary election, and vote for a candidate – from either side of the aisle – who doesn’t act like a schoolyard bully, encouraging others to act just like him.

That’s not who we are as individuals, and certainly not who we are as a campus. Knock it off with the discrimination already.