Want to see how a peaceful protest ought to look like? Welcome to Texas Christian University! We have students who exercise their First Amendment without bashing people with poles or setting off fire alarms. What a concept!
In light of the recent Executive Order signed by President Trump, backlash to banning particular types of immigration have been seen in major cities, airports, and especially college campuses. TCU’s Chancellor Boschini sent out this email, referring to the President’s actions:
During that same week , a group of both students and professors organized an “All Are Welcome Here March.” From faculty meetings, to Facebook, to emails, word spread quickly that week to inform the student body about how they could get involved. The Office of Community Engagement sent out the details of the event the day before:
Beyond the emails being about the event itself, students were not only encouraged to go, but some were told their classes would be delayed, or even cancelled. A majority of those classes were either in the religion or journalism departments. Many students went to class that morning, only to be told that they could go participate in the march or go home, since the professor was cancelling to join in the protest. Here’s a history professor telling her students that there’s a march, and she’s delaying class, so the correlation is between the lines:
It’s one thing for professors to advocate for their students to exercise their freedom to protest. It’s another thing entirely when they cut class time, time students pay over $60,000 a year for, because they prioritize their need to march rather than teach the students who pay to be in their class, not for their opinion. This is not to say that professor’s have no right to the First Amendment, but it was neglected to be mentioned in what tuition covers.
On Thursday, February 2nd, approximately 100 students gathered by the Founder’s Statue with posters and flags.
With the help of police, they marched down University Drive from the center of the academic side of campus, and back to the steps of Sadler Hall, the Office of Finance and Administration.
Traffic was not blocked. Observers were not attacked attack. Other than a bystander yelling out a fact, “Trump IS the president,” to a protester holding a ‘Love Trumps Hate’who responded, “Fuck you!” there was very little hostility. What was observed at TCU was a stark contrast to violent campus demonstrations protesting the same Executive Order.
Once the procession made it to Sadler Hall, a podium was set up for anyone who wanted to talk to the crowd. From various professors and students, to even community leaders not attending TCU, an open forum about democracy, immigration, and love were met cheering. Chancellor Boschini even attended, and when one of the speakers asked everyone to hug their neighbor, he ran up to embrace her.
One student exclaimed from the podium, “We will do this every week until it stops.” So TCU students, you can expect approximately 16 more marches like this. Another student shouted from the steps, “What President Trump did is not normal, it is not American,” though the past six Presidents have signed similar Executive Orders regulating immigration from certain countries. If those past six Presidents’ actions aren’t “American” either, then we’ve got a bigger problem on our hands.
Though this was a portion of the TCU student population, those that disagreed did not attempt to trample this march. The freedom of speech was truly protected, with both police near by and security standing around the crowd, so to allow these students to speak in opposition of the current government policies without fear of being silenced.
Yet some students are more frustrated with how the faculty dismissed teaching lectures to march than the controversy of the Executive Order. One student commented,
“While I may not agree with the reasons behind protesting, I fully support students and professors taking advantage of their First Amendment right and voicing their opinions in an appropriate and respectful manner – ultimately, that’s what makes our country the best. With that being said, we pay thousands of dollars each year to get an education here, but how can that be accomplished when teachers cancel classes? If one wants to protest, skip class and go for it. But not all students agree with the protests and would rather be in the classroom enhancing their education.”
Some came to march, some came to watch, and one simply came to express his frustration with Netflix.