Profs propose using classrooms to counter Trump rhetoric

Two University of Colorado-Denver professors have proposed using classrooms to counter the “injurious effect on students” caused by Donald Trump’s election.

Omar Swartz and Lucy McGuffrey argue in an academic article published Tuesday that “given the injurious effect on students” faced in the wake of the Trump election, professors should infuse “social justice” into their classes to help students fight back.

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"These students and their allies look to us for support and assurances,” they write. “The academy can, and should, help our students…contest increased social inequality and exclusionary discourse toward immigrants that is now being amplified by the Trump Administration.”

Citing feminist theorist bell hooks, Swartz and McGuffrey argue that professors “have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart,” and thus, to create an “engaged pedagogy” to enlighten students.

To fight Trump, Schwartz and McGuffrey urge professors to help students develop a “moral imagination” that would ultimately allow students to find commonalities between themselves and immigrants, as opposed to viewing immigrants as “others.”

[RELATED: Prof urges colleagues to promote ‘progressive politics’ in class]

They also call for professors to take a more “creative approach to social justice,” since “knowledge connected to social justice can lead to breaking silence around the marginalization of various identities or status.”

This would allow students to “identify their oppressors, their own privilege and power, and the structures they and/or their oppressors utilize to maintain their disparate power and privilege,” which Swartz and McGuffrey hope will ultimately lead to “collective action” on the part of students.

The article was published in the journal of Communication Education, a peer-reviewed journal that aims to highlight issues surrounding social justice, diversity, and the student-teacher relationship.

Campus Reform reached out to Swartz and McGuffrey for comment, but did not receive a response from either in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen