James Madison University has been caught in a social media firestorm after a troubling on-campus incident involving Donald Trump’s supporters.
Last week a group of James Madison University students gathered together to paint JMU’s Spirit Rock in honor of Jeffrey Matthews Jr., an alumnus of JMU’s Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Matthews tragically passed away last Tuesday.
The students stayed up late into the night on Friday to finish painting the rock in time for a vigil on Saturday. By 7 a.m. the next morning the rock had been repainted in homage to Donald Trump.
— DC Maryland Virginia (@DMVFollowers) April 2, 2016
Fortunately, the students were able to repaint the in time for the Saturday night memorial.
In a statement released that same day, JMU stressed that Spirit Rock is an “outlet for free expression,” therefore students can not reserve Spirit Rock, nor is there any “guarantee as to how long a message can appear on Spirit Rock.”
The statement also noted that the “Trump 2016 message” had been painted over by 1 p.m.
The disrespect & ignorance it takes to re-paint a FRESHLY painted rock that clearly says RIP….JMU, DO BETTER. pic.twitter.com/vCAxrrPZKV
— KyerraShannon (: (@lockandKYE) April 2, 2016
The JMU administration then found a reason to inexplicably pat themselves on the back for apparently teaching their students “to think critically and to value mutual respect,” and to “demand that we treat each other with dignity.” But, in the same paragraph, JMU dismisses the targeted incident as nothing more than an “expression of support for a political candidate.” Apparently at JMU mutual respect and dignity are reserved for Trump supporters, but not for the black student community mourning the death of a fellow JMU student.