Turmoil Over Trump Banner


Liz Sloane, Staff Writer

If you’ve made your way over to Westside Hall since the school year began, you might have noticed a giant Trump banner glaring down at you from Winchester Hall, which has lead to complaints, both to the school and amongst our peers. When Sociology Professor Dr. Lauren Kempton called to complain, she was told the banner had as much right to stay up as someone hanging a sports jersey in their window. Therefore, the banner remains under the claim that it is free speech. Is that really the case?

Freshman Emily Boehm and her roommates decided to write a response in window marker. Boehm explained, everyone on her floor was so “sick” of looking at the banner every day. On Labor Day weekend, she wrote on her Westside window, “Trump is a racist.” After one to two days of having the statement emboldened on her window, she received an urgent email from her R.A. that a meeting with their room was needed as soon as possible. Boehm and her roommates were told by their R.A. that the message needed to be taken down immediately and that if it happened again, there would be a formal report.

The reasoning behind taking down Boehm’s message was that it didn’t represent the Westside Community, but many could say the same of the Trump banner.

Daniel Percopo, associate director of housing and operations, said, “There are times we may ask a student to remove something from their window if it is deemed offensive. If something is questionable, we have an educational conversation with the student and may recommend moving it from their window to a wall within their room that isn’t viewable to the public.”

This rationale can be applied to a wide variety of messages, and while Boehm’s was deemed offensive, it appears that the banner was not.

A majority of Trump’s messages preach hatred and inequality towards various minorities within the United States. These minorities are represented by students who attend the university. How might these students feel when they see that banner on campus? They could feel other students don’t want them here, or that the university is not inclusive. Even worse, they might even feel unsafe simply existing at the University of New Haven. Although this may not have been the intended message, this is the one that is often received. The reasoning given to Boehm was merely an excuse because under that same logic, the banner would have been removed as well.