Two professors from the University of Colorado Denver are calling for academics around the country to use their classroom as a pulpit to fight back against the Trump administration.
Professors Omar Swartz and Lucy McGuffrey recently published an article imploring academics to amplify their efforts to inject social justice training into their classes, arguing that such tactics may be necessary to combat “the injurious effect on students” that is occurring under the Trump presidency.
“The current climate in which the university finds itself is dominated by laws, policies, and political discourse that dehumanize certain students,” the two humanities professors at UC Denver write.
In their piece, the authors focus their efforts on immigrant students, arguing that universities have never before been faced with such peril from a presidential administration when it comes to students who have immigrated to the United States from a foreign country.
“Since Trump’s election in November 2016,” they write, “institutions of higher education have been struggling to deal with the surge in political, legal, and interpersonal threats towards immigrant students.”
The authors give particular focus to students from Muslim nations, arguing that these students are perhaps the most vulnerable to President Trump’s policies.
“Many of our students are ‘othered’ in today’s America by virtue of their economic class, ethnicity, and sexuality,” the authors write. “However immigrants, and particularly Muslim immigrants are at specific risk from both the policies and discourses of the current administration.”
In response to these perceived threats from the Trump administration, the authors are calling for academics around the country to develop policies that promote both a “moral imagination” among students, as well as policies that ensure students receive adequate social justice training in the classroom, arguing that professors currently “have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart.”
The article, titled “Migrating pedagogy in American universities: cultivating moral imagination and social justice,” was published in the academic journal Communication Education. Other pieces featured in the same issue of the journal include “You’re doing great. Keep doing what you’re doing”: socially supportive communication during first-generation college students’ socialization,” and “From me to we: embracing coperformative witnessing and critical love in the classroom.”
John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) is a graduate of Canisius College and Georgia Southern University. He interned for Red Alert Politics during the summer of 2012 and has continued to contribute regularly.