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Student op-ed: Ban ‘incredibly upsetting’ pro-Trump booths at campus ‘Welcome Week’ event

A student at North Carolina State University wants pro-Trump political booths banned from its Packapalooza festival, the climax of the school’s “Wolfpack Welcome Week.”

The specter of a Trump booth is “not good” according to Cat Cobb in her Technician column, because such would “violate the very principles that NC State upholds.”

Cobb unpacks all the usual progressive complaints to justify her stance: The president has “openly demonstrated hate” and “committed acts of discrimination towards nearly every marginalized group” in the country. Examples include family separations, “minimal regard” for Latinx (that’s academese for “Latino”) people, attempting to “criminalize” abortion, and, of course, espousing white supremacist sentiments.

The campus resident advisor cites university demographics to make her case:

Last fall (the most recent data), roughly 6% of freshmen students and 9% of transfer students at NC State were Hispanic. With this disregard for human life and the threat of ICE raids — which are becoming a terrifying reality in North Carolina — how are the cumulative 411 new students possibly supposed to feel welcome when they see a booth supporting the administration? …

NC State has been making strides towards gender equality, with the 2022 class hitting an even number of men and women, a first in NC State history. However, the 2,387 new freshmen in 2018 who identified as female may not realize this accomplishment if one of their first interactions on campus is with a booth advocating for Trump. …

There were 1,261 non-white freshmen in the fall of 2018, plus 427 new non-white transfer students. Cumulatively, those particular comments would have attacked roughly 1,688 NC State freshmen, not accounting for the 241 students who marked “two or more” regarding race.

With all that in mind, it would be “incredibly upsetting” and “hardly welcoming” for Packapalooza to host a Trump booth, Cobb concludes.

However, the First Amendment doesn’t have an “incredibly upsetting” or “hardly welcoming” exception to it. As a public institution, NC State cannot ban pro-Trump set-ups if other political booths are permitted. Thankfully, one of Cobb’s peers understands this.

Perhaps Ms. Cobb could make and inquiry as to whether these rap acts, recently signed up to do a concert at NC State (and for whom a student group is lobbying to keep), conform to the campus’s “principles” (see here).

Read the op-ed.

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IMAGE: Gage Skidmore / Flickr.com

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.