Opinion: College Failing Students After the Election through Safe Spaces

In the aftermath of the election, classes have been canceled. Professors have moved due dates on projects. We have had quizzes that ask us to reflect upon why this election makes us feel unsafe and community places that provide us the opportunity to talk about our feelings.

My news-feed is filled with students who feel unsafe because our rock is painted “Trump.” I have friends, sisters and colleagues who are posting paragraphs saying they will not look at me the same way because I support racism, sexism and hate.

I can sit here and say I have been personally victimized on my campus. I have felt “unsafe” in my classroom. In my public policy class I asked a question regarding minimum wage and the girl next to me whispered under her breath, “If you didn’t wear Lululemon and drink coconut water instead of normal water, we would be able to afford a $25 minimum wage.”

What happened when I turned around to respond to the girl behind me? My professor started sweating and told me to drop the issue.

I can look back and say that students, professors, faculty and staff have suppressed my freedom of speech. I have not had the opportunity to express my political views, or ask questions about others’ because minorities on this campus might feel offended, and I would most definitely be identified as a racist.

Conservatives on many college campuses find their place very quickly. In a culture of safe spaces and sensitivity, asking a question regarding race in class can lead to false accusations being made to campus safety and unity rallies on a quad.

I expected more from college. I expected more from my professors and more from my colleagues. The leaders on college campuses have cultivated an environment of divide and excessive sensitivity in the attempt to make people feel “safe.”

For those of you expressing your beliefs on social media, I ask you one thing; at what point during this presidential campaign did you make an attempt to have an open conversation with someone who held a different perspective, a conversation in which you listened to understand, not to respond?

I am not a racist, sexist, I do not hate the gay community or want all immigrants thrown out of our country because I voted for President-elect Donald Trump. I voted for him because I am sick of the corrupt politics the Clinton family embodies.

I am sick of sitting in a classroom that requires me to read a book about all the great work the Clinton Foundation does, and everyone in the room ignores the fact she has been accepting donations from countries that treat women as property.

I am tired of everyone justifying Secretary Clinton’s actions with no consequences. You can say the Wikileaks were simply fake information provided by the Russians. Or you could read the leaks, do some research and realize that in 10 years Wikileaks has not released a single falsified document, but you choose to ignore reality.

Secretary Clinton should have never been nominated in the first place. She was under FBI investigation and stole the people’s choice, Bernie Sanders.

If more liberals took the time to do research, and not only listen to the lies the media was feeding our country, they would have realized that Donald Trump won a Republican ticket with historically Democratic views.

President-elect Trump does not symbolize the racial and cultural divide Democrats want him to represent. Trump beat the best, well-funded political machine in history. The odds were not in his favor. The people did not vote for him out of hate for minority groups. They voted for him because they are sick of the political lies the Clintons represent.

Many people sit in class with me and categorize me as the “privileged white girl,” but they do not consider the fact that I am also a first generation Middle Eastern woman.

I will never know what it is like to be a black man in this country or a member of the LBGT+ community. I believe acknowledging that difference is the first step in understanding another human’s perspective.

But what I do know is that colleges are not only failing me, but the minorities around me. Instead of creating a space for different perspectives to communicate, they are creating a wedge.

They are not empowering minorities to spread their beliefs. They are enabling them to create a cultural divide on campuses, which is rooted in fear, hate and misunderstanding.

I challenge the leaders on college campuses to evaluate their role in their communities. Are you perpetuating divide or creating a space for different opinions to come together to understand, not simply respond?

Do not let fear tear us apart. Let love question our reactions and bring us together as one free nation.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of several upcoming staff Opinion pieces about this year’s elections. We also welcome guest Opinion pieces which can be submitted to pleiad@albion.edu.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Wikicommons

About Morgan Garmo 7 Articles
Morgan is a sophomore student from West Bloomfield, Michigan, majoring in Finance and Professional Writing. She loves working with non-profits, and is currently the CFO for a non-profit called Fleece & Thank You, which provides pediatric inpatients with no sew fleece blankets. She is also on the strategy team for the non-profit Give Young, who strives to help the millennial generation learn about different non-profits. Morgan is also a member of the Ford Institute and Alpha Chi Omega at Albion.

26 Comments

  1. This has to be the best article I have seen written post-election. It doesn’t sound like much has changed since I was on campus 11 years ago in regards to how a more conservative view was treated. Heaven forbid you have any other opinion than that of the liberal college student! We don’t all have to agree on everything but it would be nice to have a conversation about difference of opinions without the temper tantrums.

  2. Thank you for your honest opinion about colleges today and how they are failing our youth in not preparing them for the real world. This election is the perfect example of this. People aren’t going to care about your feelings especially in a bigger city setting. No one should have their beliefs, way of life, or opinions trampled on ever. But you do have to learn how to accept criticism, others opinions and most importantly life isn’t always fair or the way you want it to be. It seems to me, colleges have become in some cases, really expensive day cares. Let kids make their own choices and then let them deal with the consequences, good or bad. I totally agree with everything you said and I pray people have learned one thing through all of this…everyone’s opinions matter and should be heard with RESPECT to one another.

  3. First of all you saying that “I am not a racist, sexist, I do not hate the gay community or want all immigrants thrown out of our country” you might not be, but you voted and supported a person who does. Second, I am all for freedom of speech and you might think your speech is being suppressed, but it’s not, it’s being challenged. You can’t worry about people thinking you might be a racist or a sexist, you have to own up to why you supported Trump. You can’t worry about what people think about you or believe you don’t have a safe space. I am assuming you are a white straight female, you have somewhat an already safe space, no one is going to your dorm room and spray painting hateful things on your door, no one is chanting “build the wall” in Baldwin and telling you that they can’t wait to deport you. No is harassing you and grabbing you by the crotch. You are only worried about how people might perceive you because you don’t share the same viewpoint as them. This is what its feels like to be in the minority.

  4. I thought Morgan Garmos article in the school paper was very well written and had a lot of substance She did her parents proud I believe she is on her way to a great career and will will go far in her chosen field. Way to go Morgan You Make a Great Uncle and Aunt feel very proud I know you will be very successful in life surrounded by a crazy world

  5. Judging from the title, I thought I was not going to enjoy reading this. However, I think there are some agreeable points in here as well as some points I don’t agree with. First of all, it is well written so I respect that.

    One thing I’ve learned from this election is that yes, there should be open discussions. I believe that is how we break this divide we currently have in many places across the nation. Should you be allowed to ask an unbiased question when trying to educate yourself? Absolutely. We should all talk to each other to listen and respect each other’s views and learn from each other.

    However, I also think it is important to step into a minority’s shoes. President-elect Donald Trump has made comments that are threatening to minorities in themselves, and on top of that, the actions that a (small) portion of his followers have taken to terrorize minorities is something we should all be concerned about.

    Also, using terms such as “the liberals” or “the conservatives” divides us even more. We should all try to avoid this, almost all of us are guilty of it.

    I would say opinions on Clinton can vary because many people have different beliefs. On one hand, she was the most qualified candidate to ever run for the presidency. On the other, you bring up some facts that may be concerning to voters. However, it is also important to note that some (I would say especially minorities) would say the attacks Trump has made verbally about women and other minorities is enough to vote Democratic.

    In theory, should Donald Trump represent sexism, racism, exc? Well, from the things he’s said about minorities…I would say yes. His policies are a different aspect and maybe people could wage an argument about his policies that would be worthy of not considering him a symbol of hate. However, Trump voters should not be represented as hateful. A lot of people voted for him because of his fiscal policies. But still, in my opinion, choosing trade policies over minorities’ rights and safety is not right in my book.

    The ultimate purpose of a “safe space” is being used incorrectly in this article. The purpose is to say that hate towards minorities and everyone will not be tolerated in an area. Unfortunately, many places are not safe for minorities, hence the term “safe space.” I could see where someone could take advantage of “safe space” and try to stop you from voicing your opinions, but I honestly think the media is portraying safe spaces as if it’s a bunch of whiney millenials who don’t want to hear other’s opinions when in most cases that isn’t true.

    Speaking of the media, it fed lies to all of us. Lies about Clinton, sure, but there were just as many about Trump. We all need to learn to fact check because we are all guilty of falling victim to the media.

    All in all, its food for thought. I could learn from your perspective, and you could learn from mine. What we need to do is work to create a safer environment where we come to each other to learn with open minds and love for one another.

  6. Morgan…..I can’t tell you how proud I am of you. You are an exceptionally smart…beautiful young woman. I so totally agree with you. We are living in a very bad place right now. But we will get thru it. The Clinton’s time has finally ended. THANK GOD…..

  7. In response to other comments: this is not an “article”, but an opinion piece.
    The author, of course, can share her perspective on her vote. But overall, I find her essay’s tone divisive & lacking empathy with the many members of the campus community–faculty, staff, students–and the nation who feel palpable anxiety at this time.
    Undoubtedly we are all, for different reasons, going to experience awkward moments in our classes. But really: why fan the flames?

  8. Beautifully written Morgan. Your insight and intellect really shines through on this topic that many don’t know how to talk about. Good for you girl!

  9. This was great, Morgan! A refreshing article that doesn’t spew hate for either party, and instead talks about how the divide is only being fostered rather than disrupted. No one should feel fear regarding their opinion, especially on college campuses! It is the job of the leaders on campus to encourage all opinions to be heard and respected. Kudos to you. Loved it.

  10. Andy wrote above:

    “First of all you saying that “I am not a racist, sexist, I do not hate the gay community or want all immigrants thrown out of our country” you might not be, but you voted and supported a person who does.”

    Reason #274 that Trump won. Andy actually believes the caricature of Trump that the media portrayed.

    Not gonna work, buddy.

  11. I hope that your time at Albion will allow you to broaden your mind beyond the confines of your current beliefs. This opinion piece not only lacked empathy for your peers, but also put in to question your ability to have your beliefs challenged – cornerstones of adulthood and meaningful discourse. You are entitled to your opinion. Others are entitled to judge your character based on that opinion.

    Wishing you the best in the rest of your college career.

  12. “If more liberals took the time to do research, and not only listen to the lies the media was feeding our country-”

    And that’s where I stopped reading. There was a chance here for a decent assessment of the campus political environment, and you dropped it to spout party rhetoric. How terribly presumptive of you, assuming liberal opinion’s to be derived from Clinton propaganda and ignorance. How can “an open conversation” be had, how can understanding be reached, if you’re willing to write off someones opinions and fears as invalid or unfounded by default. You deride safe spaces for being exclusive of viewpoints, and then in the same breath act exclusive towards viewpoints opposing your own? Do you not see the irony here?

  13. “If more liberals took the time to do research, and not only listen to the lies the media was feeding our country-”

    And that’s where I stopped reading. There was a chance here for a decent assessment of the campus political environment, and you dropped it to spout party rhetoric. How terribly presumptive of you, assuming the liberal mindset a result of Clinton propaganda and willful ignorance. How is an “open conversation” to occur, how can understanding be reached, if you’re willing to write off someone’s opinion as unfounded, invalid by default? You deride safe spaces for being exclusive towards viewpoints, and in the same breath exclude viewpoints opposing your own? Do you not see the irony here?

  14. This was an excellent well written article by Morgan Garmo.
    It is so refreshing to read such an honest response by a young college student
    who has it all together and speaks the truth.

  15. The problem with asking questions in your classes is not the issue. The issue is you didn’t ask those questions BEFORE the election. BEFORE you marked your ballot Trump before researching and fully understanding. If you would have done your research on BOTH candidates (rather than automatically dismissing one) you would have seen the harmful, scary consequences of voting for Donald Trump.

  16. With that said, never stop asking questions. Make a list of issues that are most important to you (gun control, climate change, women’s rights, etc.) and research Trumps position on them. That way for the re-election you will vote for the candidate that is YOUR voice and that best represents YOU for presidency, It’s hard for me to see why a millennial who is in school would support Trump other than their parents beliefs. I can certainly see why some of the older generations vote for Trump, why CEO’s of large companies would vote for Trump. But you are an individual who has a responsibility to vote and to educate yourself on behalf of everyone who is impacted by your vote.

  17. I see from some of the comments that you “triggered” some liberals who shyly crawled out of their safe spaces with their diaper pins on their jackets to cry about how intolerant you are.

    I laugh because it’s not like Clinton called Latinos the ‘taco vote’, use the term ‘super predator’ to describe a group of black people, was against gay marriage not even 8 years ago, and attacked and attempted to discredit her husbands sexual accusers, while also at one time openly laughing about defending and winning a case where a guy raped a 14 year old. But Trumps the racist, sexist, bigot. Sorry but being a horrible public servant for 30 years where you put services as SoS up to the highest bidder to pad your own wallet and letting an Ambassator and former and current American soldiers die only to late state “what does it matter at this point” doesn’t make you the most qualified candidate ever.

  18. Very well written Morgan! I heard you on WJR this morning, and couldn’t agree more with what you said. Keep fighting the good fight.

  19. Wonderful article, Morgan! Your courage in expressing your minority opinion on a campus where the majority is outspoken and differs from your opinion is commendable. Many people cannot get beyond the words of Trump while totally ignoring the actions of Clinton.

    I graduated from Albion several years ago. During my years, diversity discussions were not only welcomed but encouraged. Each student, no matter what the belief, was encouraged to express their beliefs to promote discussion. With discussion came understanding for all sides. It’s sad that one side (no matter which side that is) cannot openly discuss an opinion for fear of being maligned.

    I’m saddened that Albion has fallen into the “safe space” trap which doesn’t allow for free expression of opinion or discussion of all sides of an issue. Lacking that, it’s no surprise that students were devastated by the election results. Students need to be prepared for the world where you win some, you lose some. I have voted for both Republican and Democrat candidates and have felt both the elation of victory and the devastation of defeat. It’s called the real world! I select my candidate based upon policy and actions, not because the person is male, female, or other, black, white, or pink with purple polka dots. Both liberals and conservatives have won elections. But America still stands as a beacon of freedom for ALL: young, old, black, white, urban and rural citizens, natural born and naturalized citizens.

    If those in the Albion community are suppressing your right to speak out and express your opinions freely and without fear, then they are practicing exactly what they are preaching against!

  20. What you should be bemoaning is that BOTH political parties and the corporate media left you with such awful choices.

    For corporate media their bottom line, as well as their fudiciary responsibility, is profit, which is money. It’s not America or its citizens or even God for that matter. Violence and hate bring more viewers which translates to more advertising sales. This last point is the where the worst of humanity is demonstrated.

    We need, deserve and should demand truly fair and rational discussions that delve deeply into the issues. Not sensational sound bites. Nothing can be fixed properly if you don’t understand what is really wrong.
    I wish you and all your young peers can do a better job than we did. And to that end I wish for you curiosity for all knowledge, courage to stand up for your beliefs and the strength to maintain that throughout your life.

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