Students feel fascism has no place on campus

Caleb Martin

Audience in attendance at ‘A Field Guide to Fascism: Conservative Politics in the Age of Trump’ held March 9 at Clark Student Center Comanche. Photo by Timothy Jones

In the wake of a new president, administration, policies, and executive orders, the nation appears to be divided between supporting or condemning the new president and his administration. MSU is no exclusion from the divide, as students have rallied in opposition of and for President Trump’s policies and executive orders.

There have been a slew of words to describe President Donald Trump. One word has become increasingly associated with the POTUS in the last month: fascist. According to Google Trends, “fascist” has had a parallel increase in Google searches to “Trump” since President Trump’s election on Nov. 8, 2016.

The political ideology of fascism embodies some of the most extreme beliefs of the conservatively right side of the political-ideology spectrum, but over time, according to Nathan Jun, associate professor of philosophy, fascism has “evolved,” and over time, so have the people who believe in ideology. In a poll held by The Wichitan, 38 percent of the voters said they believe fascism is alive and well at MSU. 30 percent of the voters disagreed, and 32 percent didn’t know what fascism is.

Students like Nissa Khan, psychology sophomore, fear students who believe in the fascist ideals are a danger to people on campus who don’t share similar political ideologies. 

“I can’t walk around around campus without seeing someone with a Trump hat or sticker on,” Khan said. “If any of these people were to be carrying a gun, which they are allowed to do according to the conceal carry rule on campus, and they adhere to fascist, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic ideologies they could quite honestly kill or injure people. So yeah, I definitely think students are feeling less safe at MSU.”

Kalli Root, English junior, is disappointed in the current administrations and the “fascist direction” it appears to be headed in.

“I didn’t think any of those things had a place on campus or in American society, but they’re here nonetheless,” Root said. “Of course I’m sure there will always be people who hold fascist or misogynistic or white supremacist ideologies, but the America I believed in was about overcoming those things. The America I believed in champions ideas such as ‘by the people for the people’ and ‘liberty and justice for ALL.’ Fascism is starkly at odds with these principles.”

Safety is a large concern because of fascisms extreme-right political ideologies.

“I feel less safe on campus knowing that there are more than a decent number of Trump supporters here,” Root said. “I don’t necessarily mean to imply that I think everyone who supports Trump is dangerous. In the Cheeto’s own words ‘some, I’m sure, are good people.’ But clearly hate speech and racism and sexual assault isn’t a deal breaker for them if they can support having someone guilty of all of those things in a position of power, and that definitely makes me uncomfortable. I live on campus, so it’s even more disconcerting to know that people with that mentality are so close.”

Jun presented A Field Guide to Fascism: Conservative Politics in the Age of Trump on March 9, proposing the question “to what extent has fascism infiltrated our most powerful and political institutions, chief among them the presidency,” suggesting that President Trump and his administration are mirroring some of the same political ideologies as past fascist governments like Nazi Germany. Jun isn’t suggesting that President Trump wants to commit mass genocide, but that President Trump and his administration share some similarities with the Nazi party such as rampant sexism, control of the mass media, obsession with national security, religion and government intertwine, corporate power protected, labor power suppressed, disdain for intellectuals and the arts, obsession with crime and punishment, rampant cronyism, corruption, and fraudulent elections. 

Some have argued against labeling the president a fascist, stating that he and his administration have only adopted some, not all, of the fascist ideologies. President Trump and his administration have moved to completely dissolve federal programs that support the arts, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The tension between supporting and condemning President Trump and his administration is apparent at MSU, where rallies have been performed to speak against some of the actions taken by President Trump, and when there is a rally, there is almost always an opposition, a few students who outwardly support President Trump and his administration’s movements while students speak out against them.

Nathan Jun during his talk, “A Field Guide to Fascism: Conservative Politics in the Age of Trump” March 9 at Clark Student Center. Photo by Timothy Jones.

Some students are shocked by the opposition and the amount of people on campus taking sides with President Trump.

“I’ve seen several MSU students make really negative posts on social media, criticizing and trying to discredit campus protesters,” Root said. “I’m consistently shocked by the number of people, especially young people, who are not only ok with, but supportive of an administration that blatantly continues to give misinformation and ‘alternative facts’ to the people it claims to serve.”

Those who support fascism are coming out in support of the president.

“Fascism is alive in the United States,” Jun said.

Some students worry that these supporters include students at MSU, who will have a negative impacts on the lives of other students.

The feeling is mutual among several other students, including Khan, who believes that fascist beliefs on campus negatively effect the lives of students and their experience at MSU.

“I think it does have a negative effect on the student’s experience,” Khan said. “As a diverse and international campus, many of these students are most likely not feeling as safe as they would have before this ideology [fascism] started being more widely accepted.”

In a time when communities, including MSU and Wichita Falls, are becoming more diverse, students believe there is no room for oppressive beliefs.

“Fascism doesn’t have a place in society or on campus whatsoever,” Khan said. “It’s unfortunate that this even still has to be discussed in 2017, but again, as a society and a campus that is becoming more diverse there shouldn’t be room for ideologies that dehumanize certain groups of people. There is definitely room for discussion on all topics but not when it comes to the human rights of all people.”