Dear Syracuse University and Related Community Members,
This morning I awoke to an email from one of your staff members, and I could not comprehend how as a university, you allowed such a notice to be sent to the student body. For those of you who did not receive the email, it looked like this:
We, as students, pay nearly 60k a year to attend Syracuse to receive a higher education to avoid, what I believe to be, pitfalls like this. We come to learn about our government and our rights and how to properly communicate with others so as to voice our opinions in the best possible way. I, in particular, chose to come to study at the renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, one of the top communications schools in the country that, so it claims, prides itself on freedom of speech. However, I have never quite found this to be true. Often, I’ve found that I can speak my mind only as long as I’m speaking my mind the right way.
With this being said, the author of this email had every right to say what she said, write what she wrote. But I would like to question if similar services would be offered to students if the election had swung the opposite way? I’d like to hope so, but the realist in me says not. I was told by a close friend this morning that although the email was worded poorly, minorities have every right to be upset- yet, if Clinton had won, would anyone in the SU community agree that I was justified to be upset? Is fear of my brother’s life, who proudly serves our country, under the rule of someone who just let four American soldiers die, not reason enough to worry? My point here is, if the tables were turned, my feelings would not have been as welcomed on this campus, and that hurts as well as disappoints me.
As a conservative student at Syracuse, there is no doubt that I am within the minority on campus when it comes to political ideals. I believe in gun rights, the right to life, and that I would rather have a candidate that says stupid things than does stupid things (since these seem to have been the only two choices we had this election.) I chose what I believed to be the lesser of two evils. But that is besides the point. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I truly believe that. With that being said, I find it absolutely abhorable that on a daily basis, I feel intimidated by my professors, staff members and other students on campus because I do not think the same way they do.
Several of my professors leading up to this election have blatantly made comments in classes referring to the intelligence of their students who are Trump supporters. They have made it clear that this is the “lesser” opinion. Fellow students have questioned my integrity and called me such things as a bigot and racist, and asked me how I can be a woman and still vote for Trump. The hate that I have felt is unbelievable, and yet I am still told that I am the one filled with hatred. These cruel words are not ones that I believe accurately describe me, and yet daily, as I am attacked for my beliefs, I am told that I am not being tolerant.
I don’t know about you, but intimidation has the opposite effect on me.You will not back me into a corner. As a private university with a huge media presence, we have the opportunity to come together as a community and say, you know what, our choices this election were not ideal. But a new president has been chosen (by the people, I might add), and instead of fighting each other or threatening each other into conformity, we should accept each others differences in beliefs and work together to make sure that NO ONES rights are infringed upon- NOT just the rights that we believe in. Did you see how close the election was last night? Our nation is divided nearly 50/50. We will not make any progress as a divided nation- we have to help each other. I’m willing, if you are.
As a student, I was absolutely appalled to wake up this morning to see this email, among other posts on social media from fellow students saying they are no longer proud to be Americans. We still have so many freedoms and liberties that other nations could only dream about, I beg of you to see just how fortunate we are. We all, myself included, need to stop acting so spoiled. Differences in opinion are a good thing. When did this ever change? Differences do not mean we cannot work together for a common good. Stop attacking. Listen, absorb, understand where the other person is coming from before you respond. We are not big bad scary conservatives just as you are not big bad scary liberals. We are all scared in the direction our country is heading, and desperate for change. So let’s make that change happen, together.
Lastly, Syracuse, I must say one more thing. As a university, I have always been proud that we work so strongly to undo injustice and discrimination. But with the email received this morning, you have alienated a section of your student body population, and I hope you can see just how hypocritical that is. Please in the future reconsider all opinions before sending out such material.
As many have been fond of saying this election, “love TRUMPS hate”- so let’s start acting that way. All of us.