By Associate Editor Ana Delgado
In August I received the syllabus for our class: two papers, a midterm, a final, and some pop quizzes. The class is on how politics affect public policy, so our first paper was due pre-election and the second due after. The first was to be written directed at any of the candidates on a policy proposition, the only requirement was that said proposal was in the realm of their platform. The second paper was to be written post-election. The same guidelines in place, but directed at the new President Elect. Until class the Thursday after the election, it was understood (or at least I believed) that the assignment would resume regardless of who won the election.
Some of my peers seemed to desire a “Trump won” exception to the assignment. We spent time in class discussing the possibility of an alternate assignment (at one point, a paper on the “need” to end the electoral college was suggested) or no assignment at all. Students argued that they could not write a proposal directed at Donald Trump, that they would write “in language for a two year old” so he’d understand, and that the assignment would cause too much emotional distress.
The assignment would not have even been contested had Hillary Clinton won the election.
Our campus is very liberal, so for a second I expected our professor to give in. Thank God, she didn’t. She said this was a good exercise, a point with which I agree. This idea that assignments will be cancelled because it is uncomfortable to write them seems dangerously close to throwing a temper tantrum.
When another student perked up saying, “Go through his 100 day plan and find something you agree with him on… There has to be something,” everyone kind of quieted down. Our professor nodded and we moved on. I walked away a little less cynical than usual.