EKU: Say We Are Not With Trump!

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Shantel White
Shantel White signed this petition

On Friday, October 5th, Eastern Kentucky University announced that the Trump Campaign would be holding a rally in Alumni Colosseum on Saturday, October 13th, only a week from the date of the event. While upholding our values of free speech is important, the Trump Campaign is notorious for bringing violence and unrest wherever it goes.

The decision to hold the rally has brought many fears to our community. The fact of the matter is: This campaign will shift the campus climate in a way we MUST be ready for. As brave students pointed out in Tuesday night’s Public Forum, the rally has already begun to fuel hate speech and harassment on campus, which will only grow after the event. By allowing Trump to hold his event here, EKU has put many different campus communities at risk of hate crimes fueled by Trump’s rhetoric.

The Trump Campaign will leave our home on Saturday. For the rest of us, we live here. We learn here. Even for students leaving for the weekend, there will be a changed campus to return too. The backlash that minority students will experience is inevitable.

The decision has been made. Now, Benson and the Board of Regents have a choice. EKU needs to release a public statement—NOT just to the Staff, Students, and Alumni, but to the press—that EKU does not condone Trump’s hate speech. That we, as an institution, stand by ALL of our students. A clear, direct message that EKU does not stand with Trump. A message to the public won’t fix this problem, but EKU must, at the very least, reassure it’s students while also sending a clear message that hate speech, violence, and harassment will not be tolerated on EKU’s campus post-rally. Many of us remember the campus we dealt with back in 2016. We refuse to be silenced again.

Benson, speak out on behalf of your students. The fact of the matter is that any move EKU makes now is a political decision, and we encourage you to make the right one. Release a statement condemning the messages that will be promoted on EKU’s campus on Saturday and emphasizing that action will be taken against students for harassment.