Two caucasian women visited Howard University on Friday while wearing pro-Trump gear, and caught major flak from Howard University students both in person and on social media.
Many students took to Twitter and other social media platforms to voice their outrage that the high school girls had the nerve to wear hats and T-shirts supporting President Donald Trump.
The girls' side of the story
One of the women shared her story on social media and addressed the hate she and a friend received as a result of their decision to visit the university wearing their Trump-supporting clothing.
Sarah wrote, "Not one to rant on social media about politics in a serious way; however, what happened to my friend and I today was absolutely pathetic."
The open letter continued:
My friend Sarah and I are on a trip to Washington DC with two schools, one being our own, Union City, and the other being Central Tech. We have been able to sight see and visit many historical places in DC without being harassed by anyone for supporting Donald Trump. Today we visited Howard University for lunch. Sarah was wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, I was wearing my new Trump shirt I had just recently purchased, along with my own Trump hat. Walking to the cafe, a man yelled "F*** y'all" to me. While we were waiting in line not knowing that HU is a predominately "black" school, which either way SHOULDN'T MATTER, a man came up and stole Sarah's hat. We had never even engaged with the students. Half of us weren't even through the doors yet. Fortunately one of our supervisors was able to retrieve it. We were harassed continuously. The students took videos and pictures of us saying WE were being "disrespectful" and that "us being Caucasian, we should have known better." After a lot of have, our head supervisors decided it would be a good idea to keep the peace and find somewhere else to eat. When we got on the bus, a girl from Central Tech told us to "remove our hats because we are racist." This is America. These are the people who are racist and disrespectful. It's unfortunate that more Trump supporters have to fear going places than others. I will never be embarrassed for supporting Donald Trump. I will always support OUR president when, and wherever, I please. #MAGA
Howard University students' point of view
Many of the university's students railed against the high school girls' attire, and spoke out against what they perceived as an infraction against their rights to a "safe space" on campus.
See some of the responses below, some of which were insulting, and some of which called for outright violence:
Right here in Annex white people gettin real bold we don't stand w trump pic.twitter.com/zoit7UpC2h
— Brit (@britnianise) August 19, 2017
Howard is a private institution and I've seen folks removed for campus for less. What did campus police do? This is unacceptable. https://t.co/eeiHuQbmyw
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) August 20, 2017
This is an HBCU & they have the nerve to represent Trump
— Brit (@britnianise) August 19, 2017
So you confronted them right?right? Or you just complained to twitter and went about your day. Should've slapped that hat off her head lol
— OGS_9 (@needajump) August 19, 2017
The fact that she wore it to an hbcu...warranted an ass whooping.
— Mikasa Black (@Kiymariah) August 20, 2017
Anyone care to bet this chick plays victim after wearing a symbol of white supremacy to an HBCU?
— Mamí Champu (@CuddleSweet) August 20, 2017
Howard University responds
Howard University, which many of its students referred to on Twitter as a "HBCU," which stands for "historically black college/university," responded in a series of tweets defending the student body.
The university, on Twitter, wrote:
Today, there were visitors on our campus who were wearing paraphernalia that showcased their political support. This occurrence and the responses on social media that followed emphasize the need for and importance of human interaction. The recent events in Charlottesville are the latest examples of the deep divisions that exist in our country. Though this is an institution where freedom of thought, choice, and expression are ever-present, we will never compromise our values or allow others to convince us to do so. We will remain committed to truth and service and boldly affirm who we are and what we stand for. Our campus is a space for educational engagement to occur between both those who do and do not share our values. Thankfully, when visitors set foot on our campus they are met with some of the brightest and best students in our nation. Howard students are not simply academically advanced, political activists, leaders, and mentors. Howard students represent all that is right about America.
Many Twitter users rallied around Howard University's apparent defense of its student body, but just as many were put off by what they perceived to be the institution's free speech censorship.
Discrimination of any kind — whether racial, cultural, sexual, gender-based, politically-oriented or otherwise — has no place in a greater, better United States, and especially not on a college campus. College campuses are for self-exploration, learning, and the acceptance and inclusion of diversity. Setting the precedent that a student — in this case, a group of young high school girls — cannot express their beliefs, despite how popular or unpopular those beliefs are, is just another form of discrimination.