The Gustavian Weekly

No matter your political standpoint, assualt should not be defended

By Jessica Hastings-Ereth - Opinion Columnist | October 7, 2016 | Opinion

The Gustavus cafeteria. Hastings-Ereth urges that, even though political opinion might differ, aggression and violence is never the way to go.

The Gustavus cafeteria. Hastings-Ereth urges that, even though political opinion might differ, aggression and violence is never the way to go.

On September 26, a girl was assaulted in the caf while going to watch the presidential debate with her fellow republicans.

This was because she was wearing a hat that had the slogan “Make America great again” written on it.

Allegedly no physical contact was made, however Minnesota Stature 609.224 states that “anyone who commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death” or “intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another” has committed misdemeanor assault in the fifth degree.

Because of this an assault report was filed through Gustavus, and a final decision will be reached soon.

This is heartbreaking to know that one of our students was assaulted for such a thing. Gustavus makes a huge deal about assault, and how it is never okay to assault someone.

Yet, something like this still happens.

A statement from Gustavus read “Gustavus Adolphus College respects the rights of students to engage in the political process and encourages all students—regardless of political affiliation—to contribute to civil dialogue in a thoughtful and respectful manner” yet this girl was not respected at all.

This incident created a wave over social media and many college political websites, both republican and democratic. Throughout my three years here at Gustavus, I have received many e-mails about bias incidents, racial slurs, sexual assaults, and other unfortunate events throughout campus.

Yet, the e-mail sent about this incident was not indicative of what actually happened.

The e-mail that was sent to fellow students described this as a “verbal exchange” when this man charged and threatened two republicans.

I keep going through the scenario in my head and there is no reason why the campus should not be properly notified of this incident.

If this happened to the girl because she was wearing a hat, imagine what could happen to other people wearing other forms of clothing?

I hate thinking that such an “inclusive” and “diverse” college such as Gustavus would tolerate such a thing.

In a recent interview with the female victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, I asked a series of questions regarding the incident, including a run through of what happened.

“Me and [Name Withheld] were cleaning up supplies from window painting. He spilled paint and so we went to get more cleaning supplies, paper towels and such. As we were walking out of the caf I heard someone yell “F**k Donald Trump!” I looked over and saw a man. [Name withheld] said in response “Vote Donald trump!” sarcastically.

That’s when the man came closer and started making threatening remarks.

Like, “I will fight you right now, I will punch your f**king teeth out!” I made no comments but his remarks continued. Neither me or [Name Withheld] said anything aggressive. He charged at us, and some guy had to hold him back, actually hold him back. I was so scared.

This is heartbreaking to know that one of our students was assaulted for such a thing. Gustavus makes a huge deal about assault, and how it is never okay to assault someone.

“ I could see how scared she was because of this situation. I know that many people are taking this very lightly but in reality this is incredibly serious.

“I am scared to leave my rom, I came to Gustavus because I thought it was a safe place. But it’s not a safe place”

Hearing this made my heart sink.

How horrible would it be to feel threatened every time you left your dorm, that is no way to experience college.

In response to what has happened the assailant is pressing charges, he has admitted to the incident but refuses to take any blame.

A source, who wishes to remain anonymous, states “He is a troublemaker”.

I personally do not know the assailant so I cannot justify this statement.

But what he has done has made this girl scared and this will affect the rest of her life at Gustavus.

She is afraid that he will walk away without any punishment because of prior incidents and the action that was taken.

With this happening it makes me wonder if Gustavus is really the safe place it says it is.

You shouldn’t be afraid to express your opinion but if you’re a republican you cant express that because it’s offensive.

It is no secret that the Republican Party is a minority on campus, but that should not be a reason for assault.

This campaign has caused uproar throughout the world, not just Americans whom this campaign directly affects.

There have been attacks, riots, and other forms of aggressive behavior in response to things that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have said.

Throughout history politics has been a very controversial topic, and this election is no exception.

No matter your political views, assault is never okay.

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