A private university in Indiana—a state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump—has joined the growing number of institutions offering anti-Trump courses to their students.
This fall, Butler University students may choose to enroll in a “special topics” course called “Trumpism & U.S. Democracy.” According to the course description, students will be told the “real reason” Trump won the 2016 election, and they will learn “strategies for resistance” to the Trump administration’s agenda.
“Donald J. Trump won the U.S. Presidency despite perpetuating sexism, white supremacy, xenophobia, nationalism, nativism, and imperialism,” the course description reads. “This course explores why and how this happened, how Trump’s rhetoric is contrary to the foundation of the U.S. democracy, and what his win means for the future. The course will also discuss, and potentially engage in, strategies for resistance.”
The Washington Examiner opined on the announcement, asserting that “College is unquestionably a time when students can and should work tirelessly to challenge themselves to think differently, which is best accomplished by being exposed to a wide array of new ideas, including ideas students might vehemently oppose. But, at some point, education stops being educational and starts being propaganda.
“Rather than coerce college students into believing the president is ‘perpetuating sexism, white supremacy, xenophobia, nationalism, nativism, and imperialism,’ universities should present students with all sides of every issue and let them make up their own minds. Propaganda shouldn’t be peddled as a valid academic discipline, and, perhaps most importantly, conservatives should stop tolerating these sorts of views on campus as though they are unavoidable.”
After receiving backlash from media coverage on the course, Butler attempted to explain themselves, releasing a public statement on their website, that reads, in part, “The professor has been very transparent about the goals of the course and has provided additional context that clarifies students in the class will not be required to participate in a particular form of activism. They will be asked to engage with classic and contemporary readings—including a text by President Trump—and evaluate the rise of the President as a political and social phenomenon. Students will potentially attend, as participant observers, campus and community events to witness and analyze ongoing responses to Trump’s presidency and campaign.”
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