On election day, students at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, MN received an email from their Dean of Students JoNes Vanhecke. The email put students on notice over messages that were found written in chalk around campus the night before the election. They explained to the students that these messages could be considered “hate speech” or “bias language.” The email warned students that the writings are “being reviewed” by the “College’s Bias Response Team” (Seriously? What the heck is that?) to determine what, if any actions would be taken by the college to punish the responsible parties. Pictures of the chalkings were sent to us by a student. The student who provided the photos believes these were the only chalkings that were found on the Gustavus campus.
Here is the Dean’s letter:
The Dean of Students Office received numerous complaints today regarding language used in sidewalk chalking political campaigns which were written last night. Campus community members have described some of the language used as “offensive,” “inappropriate,” “demeaning,” and “hostile.” Others have reported that chalkings were damaged or erased.
Gustavus Adolphus affirms a commitment to civil discourse and a free exchange of ideas on our campus. Political campaigning is allowed and encouraged on campus. With that said, words have impact and legal protections on speech do not excuse Gusties from an expectation of communicating messages (even controversial ideas or messages) with dignity and respect.
The College’s Bias Response Team will be reviewing the complaints to determine if they violate any college policies related to bias language or hate speech. Student Life staff are available to respond to students who have been affected by these messages, to listen, and to provide options for redress if appropriate. Gustavus prizes a pervasive sense of concern for every member of the College community. Civility, mutual respect, cooperation, shared governance, and caring have long been hallmarks of the College.
Here are some of the “offensive” chalkings, that include phrases like, “Vote Red”…”Crooked Hillary”…”Trump 2016″…”Lock her up”…”Make America Great Again” and “NRA”…VERY Scary!
“Lock Her Up” appears to have been partially erased…
OOPS! The only message that could be considered “offensive” is the “Republicans are racists” comment.
“Make America great Again”…YIKES!
Wow! “Crooked Hillary” was written, but fortunately, someone was able to rub “Crooked” off before things got too out of hand…
OUCH! “VOTE RED” That’s gonna leave a mark…
Defending the NRA, which is likely more a statement about defending our Second Amendment is so offensive!
But what about these violent and hateful messages from Professor Sean Cobb who works in the English Department at Gustavus Adolphus? Here are a few examples of tweets found on Sean Cobb’s Twitter account. The dates on these tweets are from April 19 – September 26, 2016. Apparently, free speech is okay at Gustavus as long as you’re not offending liberals.
Is it really okay with Gustavus to have a professor saying, “My motto from here on out will be: burn everything to the ground.”?
Where is the outrage over Professor Sean Cobb, who teaches in the English Department at Gustavus Adolphus? The schools website states that the college is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, yet Cobb regularly mocks Christians on his Twitter account.