Remember when colleges were concerned about emotional well-being of McCain and Romney supporters? Neither do I.
Election Day and the day after were mostly travel days for me, so I was not in Ithaca when news broke that Donald Trump was elected President of these United States of America.
What is living in Ithaca like? Here’s how I described the directions to my house just after Obama was elected in 2008:
To live in Ithaca is to live in a city alive with anti-Bush, anti-war protest. I often joke that the directions to my house in Ithaca read as follows: Take a right at the fifth Obama sign, a left at the third “Impeach Bush” placard, bear right at the “Support Our Troops, End the War” poster, and we are the house just after the “There’s a Village in Texas Missing its Idiot” banner.
I was in Ithaca in 2008 when Obama defeated John McCain. Cornell students ran through the Collegetown section next to campus shouting, dancing and setting off fireworks.
Although it’s been a while, I don’t recall anyone expressing concern about the emotional well-being of McCain supporters. Ditto 2012, when Obama beat Romney.
My, my, how times have changed. All across the country some students are in total emotional meltdown that their candidate lost an election. Because that has never happened in the history of the Republic.
And administrators and professors are reacting with group therapy sessions and special accommodations to help ease the emotional burden.
Columbia U now offering students extra drop-in counseling/therapy hours for students struggling to cope with the election.
— Toni Airaksinen (@Toni_Airaksinen) November 9, 2016
Cornell University, where I teach at the law school, is no exception. According to the student daily newspaper, The Cornell Sun, Trump Wins; Cornellians Aghast at Shocking Upset:
As midnight approached and a series of swing states turned red, disproving countless polls and shocking the nation, Cornellians expressed horror that Donald Trump could actually become president.
“How the fuck is he winning? What the fuck?” said a student early on in the night, at an election-watching gathering in Flora Rose House, as Trump took the state of Ohio….
“We should’ve died in 2012 while we still had the chance,” added Mitch Laski ’17, echoing several students who said they fear a Trump presidency will be the end of equal rights for minorities and free speech in the United States.
Students reacted with shock after Donald Trump won several swing states to be elected president of the United States.
Shayra Kamal ’17 said she is genuinely concerned about her future in the United States.
“I’m looking into flights back to Bangladesh right now, so I can remove myself before Trump repatriates me,” she said. “Liberty and freedom are dead.” ….
“I feel as if many of my peers are in shock — at a time that is so critical to our identity development, this invalidates who we are,” said Dustin Liu ’19. “Many feel this as a personal attack, and I can only think of how we can support one another in the days moving forward.”
Apparently even professors who study politics didn’t see it coming, the Sun further notes:
Prof. Elizabeth Sanders, government, called the results of the election “stunning.”
“How could this happen?” she asked. “Clinton outspent him two to one, had a united party and abundant help from the president, first lady, vice president, her former opponent Bernie Sanders and scores of political and cultural celebrities, in addition to the best ground game money could buy.”
Students organized a “cry-in”:
Over 50 Cornellians gathered on Ho Plaza this afternoon for a cry in to “mourn” in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shocking presidential victory.
Braving the cold, wind and occasional rain, Cornellians sat in a circle to share stories and console each other, organizers encouraging attendees to gather closer together and “include each other.”
Willard Straight Hall Resource Center employees gave out blankets, tissues and hot chocolate to keep participants warm, while students signed posters with words of encouragement and protest, including “Donald Trump is not my president.”
I think a lot of this emotional reaction is a product of a campus and academic culture where opinion is homogeneous and anti-Republican and anti-conservative. Republican and conservative students, by contrast, live in a politically hostile environment, and can’t afford to be so tender or they’d not be able to get out of bed in the morning.
I made this point when the Cornell Sun published Cornell Faculty Donations Flood Left, Filings Show:
Prof. William Jacobson, law, one of the 15 Republican donors, said that he found the statistics “completely predictable.”
“Academia in general leans heavily liberal, and that likely is compounded at Cornell because Ithaca itself is a progressive bubble, surrounded by reality, as the saying goes,” he said….
Jacobson said he believes this lack of diversity is actually most damaging to liberal students, who leave college without having to defend their views and enter a world where “Republicans control both houses of Congress and most state legislatures and governorships.”
“Such homogeneity in thought process at the professorial level is not conducive to intellectual rigor. That harms liberal students more than anyone, because they have a comfort zone of political acceptance which does not exist in a real world,” he said. “Over the years, I have observed that openly conservative students have to be better prepared for argument than their liberal counterparts and that process prepares them for life better than being intellectually coddled.”
A friend posted a screenshot of a local liberal’s Facebook post, indicating that at least one local just realized she lived in a bubble:
Rather than addressing the intellectual and emotional bubbles students live in, some professors have cancelled classes to allow students to adjust emotionally to the election result, Professors Cancel Class, Responding To ‘Shocking’ Election Results:
Responding to Donald Trump’s shocking presidential victory, several Cornell professors across departments cancelled class Wednesday, citing personal distress and concern for students’ emotional well-being.
Prof. Jane-Marie Law, Asian, Near Eastern and religious studies, said she cancelled her “Introduction to Japan and Religion” lecture, because she was “so upset and worried I would break down, thinking about how dangerous the move the American electorate — half of them — made last night is.” ….
Prof. Mukoma Wa Ngugi, English, also cancelled his second class of the day, “Africa in Hollywood,” after recognizing that students in his first class were clearly distracted by the election results.
“We tried to discuss the day’s assignment but after a few minutes it occurred to me that they were feeling what I was feeling as well, that a seismic shift had happened in U.S. domestic and international politics — an earthquake was happening and there was no use carrying on as if it was business as usual,” he said.
Maybe administrators and professors should consider getting rid of the intellectual and emotional bubbles they have created for students. Because reality happens.