Cleveland State prof. compares Trump's nationalism to xenophobia

Cleveland State University student Sean Fenton received a comment on a final paper criticizing nationalists for being xenophobes.

Fenton was asked to write an argumentative essay on a thesis of his choosing. He chose to write about immigration reform, a popular topic on the 2016 campaign trail and one that presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks about frequently.

Fenton provided the content of portions of his essay to Campus Reform, explaining he was writing about Trump’s immigration policy.In one paragraph, Fenton detailed Trump’s stance on immigration reform and opined in favor of Trump’s policies.

“Donald Trump’s ideas are very nationalistic and put the American people first,” he explained in his essay.

The professor, however, disagreed with the student’s word choice and called nationalism a xenophobic ideal. Xenophobia, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is a fear or hatred of strangers. A nationalist, on the other hand, is a person who advocates political independence for a country.

In a photo provided to Campus Reform by Spencer Schultz, president of the Cleveland State University College Republicans, Fenton’s professor wrote “nationalist is synonymous with xenophobic.”


Fenton took his paper to a Dec. 1 meeting for the College Republicans and showed the comment to Shultz. Schultz snapped a photo of his classmate’s paper and posted the photo to his Twitter account alongside a screenshot of an online thesaurus entry for the word “xenophobic.”

“It’s actually not,” Schultz posted on his Twitter, explaining that “nationalist” is not a synonym of “xenophobic.”

“I think that if the words actually had similar meaning it would be one thing, but he's there to correct his writing and make him a better writer not change his wording and essentially his way of thinking,” Shultz told Campus Reform.

“Maybe he has a different dictionary or thesaurus than the rest of us,” he added.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski