John Carroll University in Ohio is not where one would expect the never-ending debate about an American border wall to come to a head, but a mock version of the real thing is currently rocking campus with supporters both for and against going to extreme measures to have their views heard.
On Monday, two sections of chain link fence representing the border wall proposed by many different politicians, most notably Donald Trump as of late, was erected on the John Carroll University campus in University Heights, Ohio. The installation itself was part of a senior project, and was approved by the university. The idea behind the project was to start a conversation, but it proved to do much more than that.
It began when the wall was adorned with pro-Trump signage by his supporters on campus. These Trump supporters then took their message to the rest of campus, emboldened by the grandiose scale of this installation. “#Trump” and “Trump 2016” began springing up all over campus in chalk, including on a prominent historic statue in the center of the university. One may recall similar temporary signage causing students at Emory University in Atlanta, GA levels of stress that required them to seek counseling and create “safe spaces” on campus.
24 hours after it first appeared at John Carroll University, the mock wall’s controversial nature came to a head.
On Tuesday evening, students promoting social justice, accompanied by an on-campus Latino group, squared off against pro-Trump students in an impromptu debate through the wall. After the incident, some students were concerned about the vitriol turning violent, while others slept overnight at the installation to prevent further vandalism.
John Carroll University released the following statement: “As an academic community, John Carroll University is committed to creating an environment in which individuals and groups have the ability to express different points of view. At the same time, the University requires expression of views to be shared in a respectful manner that does not threaten the safety or well-being of a person or property. We are reviewing concerns raised by individual students regarding the display and will respond as appropriate.”
The wall was originally scheduled to be removed on Thursday morning, but the student who the project is accredited to hopes to have the installation remain longer, promoting more healthy discussion.