Banning Trump’s name won’t help

Daily Editorial Board

Students are taking a stand against messages in favor of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, whose name has been appearing in chalk drawings on campuses nationwide. 
 
 
Trump’s name has appeared in chalk at Emory University, the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota, among many other colleges. At Emory, about 40 students protested pro-Trump messages, saying they intimidate certain groups of people. The protesters even urged Emory President James Wagner to punish those who write slogans like “Trump 2016.”
 
 
After meeting with protesters, Wagner chalked his own message on campus — “Emory stands for free expression!” — and said any students who wrote pro-Trump messages will face conduct violation procedures. 
 
 
Free speech proponents, however, have wondered how Trump’s name alone constitutes something offensive, noting that schools which begin to identify it as a form of unsafe speech will face serious dilemmas when the name appears on campaign media. 
 
 
Here at the University of Minnesota, we have seen pro-Trump messages written in chalk outside of Folwell Hall and along University Avenue. Presidential politics aside, banning this form of expression would be impractical and childish. 
 
 
Trump’s name by itself is no more or less offensive than any other presidential candidate’s. Urging schools to ban it stifles free discussion and creates a campus atmosphere unwilling to come to terms with the real political debates of the day.
 
 
Trump could be our next president. We urge any students uncomfortable with that idea to take meaningful action against it not to waste time scrubbing chalk from sidewalks.